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Tuesday, March 31 2020

Although “social distancing” has become part of everyone’s new normal, gold prospectors and metal detectorists have traditionally covid-19separated themselves from the masses. Sometimes it’s because we want to keep our secret spot a secret. Sometimes it’s because spouses and friends don’t share our same passion. Sometimes we just need some alone time with Mother Nature to decompress from the modern world. It has been this way for generations, and most likely will continue.  When you think about it, metal detecting is the most solitary form of prospecting, even if you are out with a group of friends. A detectorist knows that distance from others is a vital part of detecting. Detectors hear each other, and there is nothing worse than missing a target because of interference from another detector. As a detectorist, we know this and keep our distance for everyone’s success. It is something that we do without thought. A treasure hunter’s appreciation for being outdoors truly allows us to live in the moment when there is color in the pan or while digging a nugget. That being said, we are also not your stereotypical loner aimlessly wandering with only a faithful dog by our sides. Today’s prospectors are socially skilled and adept at working together, or alone, to get the gold. Most are willing to share our lifestyle with anyone that asks.

Our biggest challenges out in the field, which get easier over time with experience and using new equipment and technology, are learning to read the ground and waterways, and then recovering the gold when we find it. However, this year we face a different challenge with COVID-19, the novel 2019 coronavirus. COVID is more infectious than the flu and the chances of spreading the virus is much greater than spreading the flu. How does this impact us in our quest for the yellow metal? Should we give up one of our favorite pastimes, hobby, or small business? Although each person needs to make their own informed decision, most would say NO. Undeterred, we should continue to head out into the woods or desert (wear snake protection!) where we are many times safer than in the social situations that surround us daily.

Depending on our age and general health, some of us might already face a higher than average risk of having a serious medical issue no matter what we are doing or where we are doing it. Many people already deal with high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, cancer, and more. Not that we can compare these more common maladies to the COVID-19 Pandemic, but the point is that many are already used to taking precautions and living with risks. Folks with existing health conditions have been taking the necessary self-care steps for years, especially when out in the field and far away from a city. How do you protect yourself and others and help flatten the curve until the pandemic is no more? If you want to continue to prospect on a claim, sluice on a waterway, swing a detector, and enjoy the great outdoors this spring and summer, consider these easy tips before you head out:   

  • Fix your own food and drink.  Since you do not have control of how others prepare and serve food (and most eateries are closed anyway), take control of  what you eat and drink. When is the last time you enjoyed a home-made PB&J or tuna sandwich? Pack your own, and take along packaged jerky and chips and candy. Wipe down  packages with a sanitizing wipe. Bring your own bottled water, coffee in a thermos, or something stronger for enjoying around a campfire if you’re spending the night.
  • Carry sanitizing wipes and or hand sanitizer.  In case you can’t find any in the stores right now, make your own reusable wipes with microfiber cloths, aloe vera gel, 91% alcohol, a couple of drops of soap and vinegar.  Use your sanitizer after contact with anyone or anything, including pump handles, keypads, money, credit cards, etc. There is nothing wrong with not shaking  hands when you meet someone. And if you do shake, sanitize. It’s not rude to protect yourself.
  • Wash your hands often and completely.  You’ve heard it a million times since childhood, and the advice has never been more prudent than right now.
  • Do not touch your face. This is one of the easiest ways to transmit outside germs and pathogens into your body, so become aware of how often you touch your face and try hard to change this habit.
  • Don’t fret.  Go through the season knowing you’ve done the very best to protect yourself and others. Enjoy your trip knowing you have everything you need— food, water, piece of mind, and distance—and enjoy the hunt for the gold. Say to yourself “I’m here and nothing else matters right now. I am where I belong.”

Of course, commonsense also tells us that if you feel symptomatic or think you may have been exposed, immediately follow the current COVID-19 health care guidelines. Otherwise, hopefully digging in the dirt will provide you with a level of normality that we would not otherwise have if we stayed at home listening to the news 24/7.  Start planning your next prospecting trip and take advantage of the greatest social distancing project out there! One that has been around since the time man first found gold centuries ago. And what’s better is that social distancing by prospectors is not driven by fear, but by the excitement of getting out there and hunting for gold! Good luck and be safe!

Posted by: Denise AT 12:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
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