Winter Treasure Hunting in Petersburg Township, NY, page 12

Metal Detecting at Hunt Site of Former Homestead on Dill Creek

As we arrived at the site, the weather temporarily changed to our favor: Tim and I were met with sunshine! The sun's warmth felt really good against the mountain chill.

At Metal Detecting Location

A few years back, we once attempted to metal detect at this location of a former homestead but could not do much as the place was overgrown with tall grass. Now, the site was easy to detect as most grass had been flattened by snow during the winter, and the remaining thin snow layer did not seem to be a problem.

This time I could not be happier because I was armed with a real metal detector - Minelab Explorer II, which Tim kindly provided me with. He also supplied me with a Sunray Electronic Probe - a simple and effective pinpointer if you do not forget switching it off every time after you are done with target recovery.

Tim's Minelab Explorer II with Sunray Electronic Probe
Tim's Minelab Explorer II with Sunray Electronic Probe

I used to use the Minelab Explorers for nine years, and even though I had used the E-Trac for the past three years in Europe, I still remembered my effective search program settings for Explorers. It is like "you never forget how you fell off a bicycle"... oops, no, I mean "you never forget how to ride a bike no matter how long you have not ridden it". So it did not take me long to adjust the program settings, but I had to spend some time setting the Discrimination pattern for detecting coins and buttons. Tim simply turned on his E-Trac and began swinging the coil on another side of an opening.

Metal Detecting Site

As it always happens to me when I have metal detecting company during the hunt, I was just about to start 'extreme' metal detecting when Tim called me over to see what a good signal he received would turn out to be. While approaching Tim, I took my camera out and switched it on because I already knew what I was going to take pictures of.

No, not a cool coin or relic find. If you have not guessed it yet, do you remember the pictures you saw on page 5 of this story? Yes, they showed Rodney's painful experience of trying to dig down to a target through frozen soil... When Tim attempted to stick a shovel blade into the ground, the shovel just bounced off as if it hit a stone... "What a nice and warm February day in the mountains! So much fresh air mixed with the aroma of pine needles! ..." - said a voice in my head (not really).

Trying To Dig Frozen Ground at Target Spot
Beginning of A Long Laborious Project of Target Recovery

Hard To Dig A Hole with a Small, Light Shovel
Hard To Dig A Hole with a Small, Light Shovel

At this moment, Tim most likely thought, "How did I fall for Sergei's crazy idea again?"

Struggling with Icy Surface

And I was thinking about "separation of church and state" (just kidding). I was actually thinking about possible presence of the "soft" ground patches on this hunt site. Theoretically such spots would be less saturated with moisture during the summer, and, therefore, less frozen during the winter. Or they could be of different soil content including soil mixed with refuse from the 19th century domestic activities.