MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

March 10, 2013

Treasure hunter takes advantage of state’s drought

— NORMAN – Calvin Gifford has been roaming the shores of Lake Thunderbird for years seeking treasures. He’s collected more than 7,000 old lures, but with lake levels at the lowest he’s ever seen, new treasures are being revealed.

“This is the lowest it’s ever been,” Gifford said, gesturing to the extended stretch of sandy clay leading to the lake. “I go beachcombing out here. I’ve found jewelry, coins and old fishing lures. I’ve found a few arrow heads.”

Gifford tromps the beach with his two dogs, six-month old male pups from the same litter. They wear harnesses he fashioned out of soft rope. He wears a cargo pants a heavy windbreaker and a sports long beard.

“You can see where the weeds have grown,” he said. “Several years ago people were swimming where we’re standing.”

Gifford has walked these beaches for decades, enjoying the hunt for treasure.

“I’m getting a lot of exercise for an old man,” he said.

Once upon a time, he brought along a metal detector which helped him find even more treasure, but he said a lake official told him metal detectors weren’t allowed since the lake is technically a federal project and there could be Indian artifacts located there.

That doesn’t stop him from beach combing. Hunting for treasure is particularly rich after storms rearrange the beach and shift the sands.

“You can come down and look around,” Gifford said. “The whole terrain has shifted after a storm. I grid it and go back and forth.”

Lake Thunderbird is a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Project. The dam was completed in 1965.

“I remember when they were putting the lake in and building it,” he said. “They had a contest for naming it. This is a pretty lake, there a lot of scenery out here. It’s about as low as I’ve ever seen it.”

The swimming areas are particularly rich in treasures as people drop coins or lose rings and other jewelry in the water while swimming.

“I’ve found some nice women’s gold metal rings,” Gifford said. “Since you can’t use metal detectors, they’re just laying there until the weather reveals them.”

He said the difference between old copper pennies and the new zinc pennies are very obvious. Silver coins and jewelry tarnishes but shines right up. Gold is always good, he said.

Once he found a gold chain and sold it for $850.

“Gold prices are high,” he said. “I like finding things.”

Gifford said he lives alone with his dogs and when he’s not walking the beaches of Lake Thunderbird, he’s reading.

“I come out here because it’s peaceful,” he said. “It’s serene. It’s life.”

Joy Hampton writes for The Norman Transcript.

1
Text Only
Oklahoma News
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
Poll

Should a federal judge have the power to strike down Oklahoma's ban on gay marriage?

Yes
No
     View Results
Featured Ads
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks