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I received a long distance call from a lady living in Seattle, Washington, asking me if I could help find her engagement ring that she lost while walking along the Anchorage Cook Inlet Coastal Trail. This was a little more unusual than the calls I normally get for looking for lost items. This time she said she was standing along the fence and felt it slide off and saw it bounce on the ground and disappear. She stated, “I jumped over the fence and searched the ground on other side of the fence and climbed down the embankment next to the Alaska Railroad Tracks and couldn’t find it.” She went on to say that she marked the location with a piece of surveyor’s tape that she found on a nearby survey stake. After that, I asked her to describe the ring, which she did and emailed me a photo of her engagement ring.
After receiving her email, I drove into Anchorage and found the site where she had jumped over the fence on to the Alaska Railroad Right Away. Here in Alaska being on the railroad track right away can get you a ticket and a fine, plus it is a breach of DOT Security. I thought about jumping over the fence, but being retired from Alaska’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division, I called Dan (last name withheld) with the Alaska Railroad Security Police, explained the situation and forwarded the emails to him explaining the incident. After submitting the request and agreeing to the date and time, it had to be between the times passenger and freight trains are coming and going into the yard. I just happened to luck out the weather was sunny and warm. I hadn’t been over the fence 5 minutes when someone passing by stopped and asked me what I was doing. They called Security and found out that I was okay. I had a number of people watching me and asking me questions.
Prior to going to the site, I had set up a White’s MXT with a Eclipse Double DD Shooter Coil and tested it on some rings I had found in Hawaii while water hunting and also figuring that there would be other debris which could be masked using a larger coil. After checking both sides of the fence and finding a few coins, I climbed down the wall and started working the area. I found everything from cigarette packs, nuts and bolts from the wall and soda pop cans that had floated down the small drainage. Rather than trust the readout, I isolated and removed all the targets as not to miss the ring. After about 30 minutes, I got a sharp and loud hit, looking at the meter I knew it was the Platinum ring; it gave plus 18-Nickle/Ring. Reaching down into the mud and water I found the ring in 6 inches of mud. When I pulled it out and washed it off in the stream my heart went to about 150 beats per minute, as I raised up the ring to show folks standing on the trail, they started clapping and asking the usual questions about my metal detector and about other items I had found. After climbing up the bank and getting on my cell to let Alaska Railroad knows that I was off the site, I called Tracy and asked her jokingly, was it silver with a couple of diamonds. She said no it’s Platinum with 13 diamonds. I then told her it must be her ring I found. All I could hear on her end was a loud squeal and then happiness in her voice saying thank you, thank you.
Getting it back to her was no problem she was on duty and flying into Anchorage on Alaska Airline’s redeye flight and going out the next day. We made arrangements to meet her later in the morning at the Captain Cook Hotel. After introducing ourselves (Cathy and I) we presented her engagement ring. She asked what she owed us and I said nothing - the smile on her face said it all.
Eagle River, AK