Two men with metal detectors search for history


SPOKANE, Wash. -It was a  sunny Tuesday morning on Riverside Avenue in downtown Spokane. That's where Ward Westfall and his friend Bob were on the hunt, searching for treasure.

“I found two sets of keys, can slaw, bottle caps, just bits of metal, and here are all the pennies,” Westfall said.

Ward and Bob are members of the Northwest Metal Detectors Club. Since retiring from the post office in Portland, Oregon, Ward has made searching for hidden treasure his full-time hobby. But he has been doing this for over 30 years.

"I got my first detector when I was a junior in high school 1973," said Ward thinking back to when he first started this hobby.

The detectors -- that can range in price from $40 to thousands of dollars -- send a magnetic field into the ground. The sounds and tones that come back vary according to what might be buried there. 

"I have subcategories where it can be a nickel, a zinc penny, a dime or a quarter or a half dollar," said Ward.

Ward and Bob travel all over the Inland Northwest to search for buried treasure. They travel with a trusty pinpointer and a small garden shovel to find where x marks the spot. Both Bob and Ward have metal detecting permits from Spokane County.

They say that this hobby is addictive because you never know what you're going to find only inches under your feet. The coolest thing Ward has found this week?

"I found an 1889 Indian head penny at Coeur d'Alene Park. Unfortunately, I scratched it because it was quite deep, about 8 inches deep," added Ward.

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