A Drained Lake and Decent Weather

Last Saturday was a good day, as is any day we can get out with detector in hand during February here in Ohio; it was fifty degrees and partly cloudy, I had nothing planned ( the ‘honey-do’ list was empty! ) and my wife was going out to look at wedding dresses with our daughter-in-law to be up near Cleveland. That being the case, off I went in my 2004 GMC Canyon in search of a spot to hunt.

I keep a list on my computer of locations I’ve obtained permission for, parks within a three-county area and other likely spots that could yield history. I hadn’t yet decided where I was headed as the garage door raised itself but, by the time rubber met road, I knew where I was going: a state park. After all, I had the $5 permit fee in my pocket and knew the park would be pretty much deserted, plus I hadn’t talked to the chief ranger in over a year, a fellow copper originally from the Pittsburgh area who took on the park’s law enforcement role in retirement. It would be a good day.

The twenty-minute drive through rolling farm ladscape, still brown and gray with bare treelimbs arching skyward in the intermittent patches of woods, hinted the least bit at the coming of spring. The air, crisp and clean, faintly smelled of wood smoke here and there as sunshine tried its best to burst through dirty-bottomed clouds. As I pulled into the large lot of the park’s commissary, jam-packed with sleeping pontoon boats, I saw that both park patrol vehicles were parked near the building…hopefully, someone was in.

Alas, all the doors were locked and there was no stirring from inside as I knocked a couple of times; looks like I’d be saving that Lincoln paper for another day.

I drove down to the beach area and was stunned at the water level: huge expanses of bottom were exposed, including the entire swimming area. Now, I know that there’ve been detectorists scanning the sandy bottom since the lake level was dropped, but there was no way they could have covered all this ground, not even with an army of treasure hunters. The exposed lake bottom extended at least 200 yards beyond the swimming area and was a quarter-mile wide, if not more.

After parking, I droppped the tail gate and geared up, making sure I had spare batteries for my AT Pro and waterproof pro-pointer. I’d brought both my sand scoop and the T-handled shovel I dig with, not knowing if the sand/clay would still be frozen in spots. Luckily, it wasn’t, and I ended up using the shovel as a guidepost every time I walked the breadth of the swimming area, moving it ten feet farther towards where the deep end of the swim area would have been had the lake been at summer levels. As it was, I started scanning in what would have been thigh-deep water and covered the area out to the boundary.

I won’t bore you with the details of each and every find; I ended up recovering 6 ear rings, a ring and a necklace along with a handful of clad change. Most of the items I classified as bling immediately, but held out hope on two of the ear rings; I’d decided to wait until I got back to Ram Field Ranch to clean and take a really close look at them.

I spent four hours at the park, seeing only a few people taking advantage of the weather to enjoy leisurely strolls along the water’s edge; I was approached by one person, a teen girl curious as to what I’d found, and told her of the possible treasure of the two ear rings. “That looks like a lot of fun”, she’d said, and I told her how addicting our hobby can be, adding that my wife was happy I didn’t spend my days in the recliner watching TV. The gal laughed at that, obviously picturing this gray-bearded sixty-year-old doing just that, and wished me luck as she strolled away.

It didn’t work.

The two hopefuls turned out to be junkers, too, but I really didn’t care; I’d been outside getting some exercise, imagining each promising signal being something semi-valuable. I was tired and hungry when I got home, my lower back questioning my intelligence as it complained of all the bending it had been subjected to, but it soon was quelled by medication and a hot bath. I hadn’t had any success this day….

…but I DID notice that both marinas were void of water, too, as I left the park….which means I’ll be back very soon…

…as long as the weatherguessers cooperate.



Author: timteamohio

Retired cop embarking on new adventures, seeking to recover the history beneath us.

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