We were going to have most of Saturday to amuse ourselves while the workers were at work so a couple of them offered to take us to a spot where the soil samples had showed gold. They showed us how to use their detector, gave us a GPS with directions to get back to the road, then left...
It was still early, before 7am and COLD. So cold. Hubby had first go while I had breakfast. I had added hot water to some oats in a thermal mug when we had coffee back at camp and it was still nice and warm an hour later.
With the sun up and a full belly it was soon my turn. The machine sounds like a mozzie buzzing around and you walk for ages moving it over the ground and you get tired and your arms are sore, your back hurts but then you get a real loud BZZZZ as you go over a spot. Gold! Come dig it up for me Dear. But no such luck, it was just a tiny tiny piece of metal.. Start walking and moving the detector again and 40minutes later ...another loud BZZZ...another piece of something not gold. Three hours later we decide to head out but with plans to stop and have a play in a spot on the way.
The spot we tried on the way out was covered in stones, most of it quartz so even if we didn't find gold I could collect some pretty stones. No gold but the detector went off as it went over a tiny bullet head. It makes you wonder how these things get out there where no-one has lived and not many people know about.
And the way out is...that way.
We need to head South towards the power lines and turn left when we reach the gravel road. There are trees and stumps all over the place and Hubby had to twist and turn so as to not put a stake through a tyre and eventually thought he'd just check the GPS to make sure we were still going the right way. I didn't have it. He didn't have it. It wasn't in the car. A call to D to ask if he had it and it turns out that he did, we didn't, and though we knew what direction we needed to go we had no way of knowing what direction we were actually going. He said one way, I thought another. The sun has gone and it was cloudy so he couldn't tell that way...It started to rain...Really, we were lost. Out in the middle of nowhere and apart from 3 scraggly looking station cows there was no living soul for miles.
Rang D again and they said they would be on the way back soon and they would find us but might lose reception and the UHF only had a range of 3km. They were at least 6km away before we left where we first started so it would be awhile. We parked up, had something to eat, looked around a bit, stood on the roof of the car looking for the powerlines...Had a call from D, they were back on the road where we were supposed to be heading so they hadn't found us...We lit a fire but they couldn't see the smoke...Eventually D rang back and there was talk of mountains, we could see 2 ranges but didn't know if they were east or south or west so that wasn't much help. Clouds! They talked of the clouds, shape and colour and eventually both parties fixed on the same cloud and D says that was blowing South so we followed the clouds. Came to a deep ditch that no-one could tell us about so they still didn't know where we were...We got out and walked around looking for a way over and found an old road. Got onto that, went through the ditch and not long after came onto the road we needed but about 3km away from where we went in. Called D and told him we were at the gate and five minutes later they were with us.
So we had a real adventure. And it turns out that Hubby was, more or less, heading in the right direction all along and if I had of shutup and left him to it we might have been out a lot sooner.
We had been told of people coming up and staying on the station and prospecting and finding small amounts. And some quite large nuggets too but D had been talking about a couple of people that were in the area prospecting as a hobby and took us to see them.
From the talking I had a mental picture in my head of an elderly couple digging a smallish hole and looking for gold.
The reality of these 2 people was a lot different. Their hole was HUGE and they were using machinery to dig and break up the rocks before going over it with a metal detector. One guy was retired and the other owned a business in Perth and this was their hobby. They came up every couple of weeks, stayed for a couple of weeks and dug and looked. And found. Went home for a bit then came back again and so on. They have been doing this, on this site, for a couple of years.
Below is a picture of their rockbreaker and the dozer. It all looked like a lot of hard work but they were finding gold. And a lot of it if the stories were true.
We didn't find any gold but we had fun looking and it was all a great experience. We will do it again if we get up that way as the gold is there and people are finding it on this station and in the areas around the place.
Thanks D for giving me the opportunity to try this.