Retired Army veteran Frank Kazee (pictured) has been hearing beeping sounds for over half a century -- but that's a good thing. The expert treasure hunter first discovered an interest for buried objects while working with minesweepers in 1953. Since then, he's traveled the world, meter in hand, in search of precious spoils.
Kazee, who co-founded the Pikes Peak Adventure League, a club dedicated to the metal-detecting hobby, has unearthed countless gems and rarities of all sorts: gold pieces, silver dollars, Roman coins, antique guns, rings, bracelets, watches, pendants, bizarre trinkets and locks.
"If someone has lost something, I will find and return it, free of charge," offers Kazee. "I've located owners as far away as Connecticut from Okinawa, Japan. [The discovered item] always means more to them than to me."
Locally, the ore hunter has tracked six of the 15 diamond rings found at Prospect Lake. Roughly 20 years ago, he discovered 18 1840s-era guns wrapped in animal hide and buried under a prominent rock near Manitou Lake. And a favorite score abroad landed Kazee a Napoleonic-era, single-shot French pistol.
"Wherever people have been, you will find something," he says. "Just follow the trails."
Kazee cites a few simple rules of method and etiquette for newcomers: "Use your imagination, dig everything that beeps, always get permission to search, and leave no holes behind."
-- Story and photo by Matthew Schniper