So, some of you probably have kids, and you prospect. So here’s what its like for a kid to go on a gold hunting trip. I’ve been hunting gold since I was… Oh, three? Two? And now I’m going on 16. Yeah, I’ve found nuggets myself too!
At Five Years Old:
Everything is something you can climb, and cactus are a big scary looming green monster. And when you can’t see the truck, it’s magically disappeared, even though it’s still there. Here, I mean, obviously kids don’t really (or at least probably haven’t grasped) the concept of worth. So that pretty green rock? They’ll think it’s the world! That really, really cool shiny grey rock? It’s worth a ton to them! Everything is exciting, quartz (which can be pretty and if really, really pretty I’m sure can sell for a nice price) is like crystals! What gold prospectors typically look for (ore, and other such things) really isn’t always too exciting. So when you find gold, you have to get them excited about it too! Otherwise, it’s a strange, hard to break yellow rock.
At Eight Years Old:
By now they get a good understand of what is mostly harmless (that cute lizard that is sitting on that rock) and what is dangerous (that rattling snake in that bush). And they’ve probably at least grasped the concept of worth (So that chocolate bar is worth two, and I have three etc) and if you took them out before five years, they get that gold is something that is very cool, and valuable. Try as they might, the big Minelab is still a bit too heavy, and that Gold Bug was probably pretty expensive. So panning is always a great way for them to see color of their own (even with help from someone, its exciting). By now they know what targets are probably wire (double warble), and what is maybe iron, and what might be that good eight ouncer you’ve been wanting.
At Ten Years Old:
Gold is definitely exciting, and so is chasing that big lizard that just came out from under that rock! What’s that? That? See that weird bird, what kind is it? It’s all about adventure (at least for me anyways). Wire is a no brainer on the sound (or at least most of the time) and gold is on their mind, but that big lizard is more tempting.
At 13 Years Old:
Hiking is boring work, and you’d much rather be playing on the computer, or having a sleepover with your best friend, but when the gold comes out, game on! The Gold Bug is still heavy, but usable for short periods of time, and cracking open rocks while vacuuming is fun!
At 15 Years Old:
I’ll admit, a lot of times I’d rather be typing a story on my computer. But recently, I’ve found myself yearning for hiking in the desert and stretching out my legs and getting dust everywhere possible. Gold is super exciting, a gold bug is easier to carry, but right now, kids are just figuring out who they are, what the heck they are (puberty= absolutely no fun whatsoever), and what the heck they want to do with their life! They probably whine and complain more about it being hot (I know I can’t stand the heat like I use to be able to) and getting hungry every hour is pretty normal. You’re scared of a big cat pouncing on you while you hide behind a bush relieving yourself, and pretty much every cliff has a mountain lion ready to jump onto you and kill you (I’ve gotten over this, but sometimes you can just feel their eyes on the back of your neck.) My dad and his friends always carry guns and I now have a hunting license so…lookout predators!
Basically, just get your kids out there as soon as possible! The desert can be awesome fun! Learning to build fires, learning about rocks, minerals and the native wildlife! Catching that really fast lizard! And most importantly (and my personal favorite), telling stories around the campfire.
I hope this opened any of your eyes to what exactly a kid is thinking, or really, what the trip means to a kid. Obviously, kids vary, but this was my personal experience, I’ve hiked through the desert more miles then people must drive to and from work in a year lol.
Yours truly, Amanda