I’ve discovered I’m more of a fair weather detectorist. I haven’t wanted to go out much with my new metal detector in the cold but thankfully it’s warmed up recently. I ventured out to one of my favorite places this time of year…the Fontana Lake bed. It’s almost dry this time a year because the water has been let out of the dam, just the river runs through the very bottom channel of the lake. An old road and a few bridges become visible:
I like how quiet it is down there and I usually only run into one or two fisherman. They all like to ask if I’ve found anything good…like rings or coins. I usually get an odd look when I show them something I find extra exciting like a vintage gerber baby food cap or a marble. I found both of those things on the morning I went last week:
I also found pottery, old pennies, an arrowhead, coal from the old railroad among other things. I could stay out there for hours and time gets away from me. My phone went off with only thirty minutes until school pickup and I realized I still had to walk a mile back and make it to school. In the middle of nowhere I found a huge metal pipe in the ground….just a few inches under. My first thought, because I’ve watched the Detectorists series, was that it was probably a bomb. Whatever it was I quickly abandoned it. I also found this perfect stone heart:
For every neat little object I come across on the lake bed there are at least a dozen beer cans I’ve dug up first. I do plan to survey the new farmhouse soon. I started to the other day but I get kind of lazy and don’t even try to dig if my metal detector says the object is more than 6″ below the surface. I only carry a small garden shovel with me and 2 to 4 inches is my method right now. Then I can go back later to the same places and look for deeper stuff when if I ever become more serious.
Someone recently asked why I scavenge and keep little trinkets and trash. I think I like to find things that most people would never even notice or care about and find a way to put a story to them:
Like the slag left behind from the railroad bed that used to run along the lake…most people think it’s just rock. I don’t know how many people even know that the railroad used to run along the lake. I learned from a fisherman who said he was a rock hound and I asked him to identify a bunch of rocks I’d found. I think slag rocks look just like a meteorites…and I’m always hoping one will be. The fisherman said he found a meteorite years ago so there’s enough hope for while.
Or like the marble. Simply finding a tiny glass marble on a 17-mile-long lake bed is pretty amazing I think. I was digging up a beer can and there it was about four inches under the dirt.
I could go on and on about every object I found. So did I find anything good? Yes. A lot….but most people probably wouldn’t be impressed. I’m not really looking for treasure….just odd objects. Maybe I’m more of a trash collector in a way. Here’s what I found last fall while on a walk when the water level had just been reduced:
If you click the photo it will open up a new window with a larger version. Have you ever seen such an odd collection of things found on a lakebed? I think that’s what fascinates me the most. Rubber ducky + camera lens + piece of picture frame + boot heel + so many other random objects just sends my imagination into overdrive. And then I think of all the billions or trillions of objects under lake beds and fields and wonder how so many things get lost and discarded. If I could have any superpower it would be to instantly see the path an object has taken over it’s life…I get goosebumps just thinking about it.