Either You’ve Got It or You Don’t.

  • April 6, 2015

11133688_1621589338076847_2185984590632730025_nOn Saturday, I had the privilege of introducing a friend and her teenage daughter to the hobby of metal detecting. Their passion was so refreshing. Not many people get excited for digging iron, but these two special ladies were over the moon when they dug up a square nail at eight inches–with screwdrivers nonetheless. In my experience, digging eight inches with a screwdriver to recover an iron something-or-other is commitment.

Allow me to back up… this escapade was prompted when Liz requested a retreat from a personal hardship. And in my experience, there is no better distraction from an emotionally-draining turmoil than repeatedly stabbing the dirt with a digging implement–so I offered to whisk her and her children away to the state park for some detecting therapy and playtime.

She and her daughter secured their detecting permits earlier in the week because this park requires that any metal detecting hobbyist acquire a permit from the park office before breaking ground. (In case you weren’t aware of this exception to the rule, some state parks DO allow metal detecting. You should always check with your local state park office before you swing your detector on state land.)

Screenshot_2015-04-06-11-22-34_resizedWhen Saturday rolled around, we set off with three children and a spunky teenager in tow. Liz brought her detector–a 1970’s Smart Tracker XR8–but quickly discovered that she preferred the AT Pro. Molly, her daughter, took to my Ace 250.

Our mission was to recover civil war bullets. Given the history of the area, our goal was not too far-fetched:

On July 4th, those New York State National Guard regiments serving under General Joseph Knipe in Pennsylvania were issued marching orders. They were to move to Carlisle, and from there march directly into South Mountain via Mount Holly. That afternoon, a serve thunderstorm hit the entire area… The men were trying to get to Pine Grove Furnace and block the northern gaps of South Mountain preventing the retreating Confederate army from using that area.

Before we started off on our adventure, my partner in detecting–Roman–was kind enough to supply a scribbled map of areas that previously produced bullets. Those were the areas we planned to focus our attention.

W11136740_1621589568076824_6914290977535012461_ne detected the first location for a good two hours while the four-year-olds chased one another around the picnic tables and dumped our snack supply all over the grass–I admit, mine was the instigator in all of this. My littlest one–we call her Sweet Sis–teetered after the boys while eating handfuls of dirt. (Seen on her mouth in the picture below.)

11010574_1621589774743470_6900963553762245266_nAll in all, Liz and Molly were able to dig a few deep signals and recover some iron. Liz found the nail pictured at the top of the post.

Eventually, we decided to take a break and devour the remaining snacks before heading onto the next location marked on the map. While the kids were distracted with their fruit snacks, I took the opportunity to test the nearby beach with my AT Pro. When I say beach… I’m referring to the small strip of sand dumped along the edge of a pond-sized lake.

I’m sure many of you are aware that this was the first weekend of trout season. On Saturday, the parking lot was littered with pickup trucks–I’m almost positive that half of them had male anatomy hanging from the trailer hitch and some sort of hunting decal on the back window. I can safely say that there was no shortage of rednecks in the park that day.

dsc02945And every single one of said rednecks watched as I swung my detector over my shoulder and sauntered down to the little strip of beach. Given the funny looks I received, I thought maybe I’d smeared some mud on my face while digging up fragments of iron. I knew these looks. These weren’t the, “Oh, look at that pretty girl walking by.” These were the, “Oh, look at that pretty girl walking by with the metal detector. She must be weird.”

Now, I’ll admit… before I started metal detecting, I would watch these guys on the beach and wonder the appeal. What is so great about recovering $5.67 in change and some tin foil? I thought they were weird! Now people think I’m weird. Where does that stereotype come from? Why am I being stereotyped?

As I passed by two fishermen, I heard them commenting on my chosen hobby. I pretended to ignore them. I don’t make fun of their hobby. Seriously, who eats trout when you can eat sea bass?

After spending a total of five minutes on the beach, I turned back to the picnic area–fearful of leaving my poor friend to occupy my hellions for too long.

I passed back by these two ignorant fishermen, one of them dared to ask if I found any jewelry with that thing. I kindly informed them that finding jewelry wasn’t really my thing–I was more interested in recovering historical relics. Then I gave him a short–unsolicited–history lesson about the state park. He gave me that much dreaded weird look–clearly this guy owned one of the trucks with the anatomy hanging off the hitch because he needed to compensate for a whole lot.

All kidding aside, this encounter proved my theory that not everyone is cut out for metal detecting. The more I bury myself into the hobby–the more I realize that certain people lack that passion. This hobby takes a special person, someone eager to discover treasure by screwdriver or backhoe–whether the treasure is historical or modern.

The fishermen may not have been candidates for my metal detecting adventure. Liz and Molly on the other hand, they truly possessed the passion and eagerness required for this hobby. It was such a privileged to introduce them to metal detecting and ignite their spark for the hobby. And regardless of the pint-sized distractions flinging dirt and stumbling over fallen limbs, we had such a blast searching for civil war relics. In the end, we may not have uncovered any bullets but fun was had by all. I see that as a success.

If you know someone who shows potential for picking up a detector and never putting it down, I encourage you to be the one to facilitate that obsession! There is nothing more rewarding. I love metal detecting.

Happy Hunting, Everyone!11096472_1621589381410176_6316175346851792938_n