An Outing to Remember
by Dick Oakes

The president of the club said, "A great day for a great outing and as is said, a great time was had by all." The vice-president said, "The annual metal detecting/coin hunt outing was a hoot!" The dowsing coordinator said, "Everyone had a great time!" Another member said, "The metal detecting/coin hunt outing was a blast!" And I say, "I couldn't have said it better!"

Whew doggies . . . take a look at the prizes awarded! You'll note that every one of them was donated by a club member. Now that's dedication folks--the kind of dedication that has made the Gold Prospectors of the Rockies (GPR), as the president is quick to say, the #1 club along the Front Range. The entire GPR membership thanks you donors for heeding the outing coordinator's call for prizes (especially me, having come up with the #1 prize, the 1.1 gram gold nugget donated by a GPR member and supporter extraordinaire!).

What you don't see in the list of donations and winners is the huge number of silver dimes awarded, one for each painted penny found, that were purchased for the club for this hunt. Lots of pennies--lots of dimes; it was a Silver Jubilee!

From the get-go, I knew it was going to be a fun outing when the vice-president showed up with the container full of hot coffee to go along with the four dozen still-warm Krispy Kremes that I had picked up that morning. Yummmmy! Then it was off to the hunting grounds where everyone policed the area and picked up all the trash we could find, which we donated to the garbage bags back at the "judges' table." After that, while detecting participants were down at the creek learning to pan for gold, the hunt coordinators and helpers planted the day's "treasure."

Finally, having learned all about how streams carry and deposit gold and various panning methods, back up the creek bank the detectorists swarmed to surround the hunting grounds with raised detectors and high anticipation. With the piercing call of the whistle, coils hit the ground swinging and the hunt was on. The hunting was conducted in intense silence, except for the occasional immortal yell of Archimedes, "Eureka! I have found it!"

For the most part, in true GPR treasure hunters' tradition, we picked up our trash as we went, filled our holes before we moved on, and took pride in knowing we had not only competed fairly and in accordance with the club's treasure hunting ethics, but had left the area sprouting far less metal trash than when we had arrived.

When the "clear the field" whistle sounded, detectorists headed for the garbage bags to stash their trash and then to the judges' table where the loot was counted and the judge recorded the items found and handed out the prizes.

Then it was the judges' turn to sweep the field for left-over treasure that had not yet been found, while the neophyte dowsing group got together and another member ran the detector pinpointing sideshow booth. While none of the dowser trainees found their targets, another member came closest to scientifically ponpointing a penny on the back of a slice of cardboard using a metal detector and won the coveted vial of gold donated by the panning demonstrator.

It wasn't over yet, however, as the champion speed panners stepped up to the tub. Speed panning is their game and famous is their name. These two nationally known competitors showed their stuff to the plodders among the group then turned the pans over to us. It was fun and informative, too.

As the shadows and the queue for the Port-A-Potty enclosure were lengthening, everyone not lined up began pitching in to haul tables, chairs, bins, and all the rest of the day's necessary equipment under the highway and up to the parking lot. Then, with everything stowed in the club trailer and members' vehicles, the group parted company; some headed downhill for home and others uphill to the Red Dolly Casino for a four-dollar prime rib dinner and a shot at the slots.

This was the best time I've ever had at one of our GPR outings. I know others, too, will be saying the same thing when the club gets back together. Thanks to everyone who helped make the day an outing to remember.

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© 2004 Gold Prospectors of the Rockies