So I went gold mining this weekend...
That's right, I said gold mining - as in prospecting, panning for gold.
My boyfriend is retired now and this is the hobby he has picked up to keep himself busy, and he is really loving it. So being the supportive girlfriend I am, I said I would go with him (and take the kids) to a weekend outing he was planning to attend in Marion, NC. Twelve hours in the car later, we are in NC and I learn that the typical 49er does still exist and is not a figment of the past. These gents come complete with a million interesting stories, full ZZ Top type beards and usually some knee high rubber boots. Not a single one I met was anything but wonderful kind and more than willing to shre his knowledge and techniques with you, or let you see the things they had found over the years.
Their faces light up like children when taking about their mining adventures, friends made and lost, or any other mining topic you show a true interest in. They are true gems and just a wealth of information for anyone, interested in gold propecting or not.
I had a great time learning, meeting a bunch of new people, and watching my daughters enjoy learning to pan and trying not to talk with a southern accent on the way home.
Here is a picture of "The Nugget Man" as he is referred to in mining circles. (Check out the nugget he is holding - the thing weighs 2 pounds... think about that for a second at today's gold prices)
Just an absolutely fabulous and informative weekend.