In the last installment, we were exploring the mining enterprise of Bickel Camp in California’s El Paso Mountains. Old Walt Bickel was not alone for his quest for mineral wealth, as the mountains are dotted with old mine workings including the infamous Burro Schmidt’s Tunnel, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Throughout the years the mountains have been mined for Placer gold, silver, pumice, pumicite, bentonitic clay, coal, lode gold, copper, and molybdenum.
In this installment, I would like to share an interesting experience we encountered during one of our overnight stays in the El Paso Mountains.
Like many other RVers, I carry a metal detector with me and enjoy searching for lost items (where permissible) during our stays at older campgrounds and ghostly sites.
Metal detecting provides good exercise via walking, stopping to recover targets, and swinging the search coil back and forth. Plus there is the anticipation of never knowing what the next recovered find will be, as it could be junk or treasure!
However, I never expected to be on the other end of the equation. On a recent boondocking stay in the El Paso Mountains, we heard the whump–whump–whump sound of an approaching low flying helicopter. As it cleared the ridge of the valley where we were camped, it became apparent it was hovering directly over our RV!
Exiting the travel trailer, I witnessed the helicopter slowly moving overhead with a large hoop hanging below it. I quickly surmised he was “metal detecting” the well-mineralized mountains for undiscovered ore bodies and found our truck and travel trailer instead!
By the time I grabbed my camera to shoot the accompanying photos, the pilot had moved on, I guess the pilot decided I wasn’t the treasure they were looking for.
Being “detected” in the boondocks, just another adventure in RVing!