‘….the high today will be 80 degrees…’.
That’s when I made the decision. I would venture into the water somewhere to metal detect. I couldn’t pass on one last chance to do it because a cold front comes through north central Ohio Friday night that will drop temps by 20 degrees.
But where to go? I didn’t want to have to drive 20 miles to my favorite river spot, mainly because my grandson would be coming in the afternoon; I needed something relatively close to home. Then it hit me.
Charles Mill Lake Park. Five minutes down the road. I hadn’t been there since early March, before the beach area opened for the season; I’d had to walk 400 yards to get to it because the access drive was still chained off at the time. The good part of that trip was that I didn’t have to pay the $5 fee to metal detect in the park.
I stowed my gear in the covered bed of my truck, grabbed a couple water bottles and checked my gear bag to make sure I had fresh batteries, then donned an old pair of jeans shorts and a sleeveless T-shirt.
I was ready.
Arriving at the park office, I chatted with the secretary until the park manager Steve Rice arrived and produced the permit form I needed to fill out. Five minutes and five dollars later I headed to the beach parking area, both sides of the lane sparsely lined with a few campers and numerous winterized pontoon boats; very few people were about.
I dropped the tailgate of my truck, donning my above-the-ankle dive boots. If you ever decide to start detecting in water I strongly urge investing in a pair; if you’re like me, you’ll soon discover that your old pair of tennis shoes will fill with sand and pebbles as you tread the bottom of lakes and streams, interrupting your hunt every hour as you empty your shoes.
Since I only intended to hunt in thigh-deep water or less, I didn’t bother with switching out my AT Pro’s stock headphones in favor of the waterproof ones. Gearing up, I grabbed my sand scoop, extra batteries and a bottle of water. I donned the waist bag I always wear and walked down the hill to the beach.
Dismayed, I saw that some moron had decided to lunch on the beach and not bother picking up his trash. Food wrappers and a crushed waxy cup from Arby’s lay in a shallow hole that had been scooped out of the sand….the nearest trash container a mere tweny yards away.
I spent the next four hours both in the water and on the dry sand, collecting nearly $4 in clad along with some rusty screws and nails I found in the lake. The one good find was a ring that could possibly be silver, a little basket-weave number I scooped at mid-shin depth.
An hour before I quit, one of the park maintenance guys drove up to the area in a cart; he was emptying trash cans and did pick up the Arby’s junk along the way. Just before he left I looked up to where I’d left my water and batteries at the base of a concrete picnic table.
They were gone!
As the man hopped back onto the motorized utility ATV, black garbage bags filling its bed, I stopped him, asking about my items. He explained that he assumed someone had left them behind, emptied the water bottle and threw it away. He did keep the batteries, which he returned, and apologized; no harm, no foul. I had extra water in the truck, parked 40 yards away, so all was well.
I arrived home an hour and a half later, put the clad change in my coin tumbler and started it rolling. The ring I examined more closely under a high-intensity light and magnifier, delighted to see the inside stamped ‘.925’, meaning it was silver.
It was a good day after all! For me, any water hunt including a non-junk ring recovery is a success; I’d gotten some exercise and sun in the process, turning my hairless head as well as my arms a little browner.
As the temps drop and the snow soon flies, I’ll have all winter to think about this one last water detecting venture….
…and dream of the first to come in 2017.