…is an extension of my childhood. I grew up camping in the middle of nowhere with a rock-hounding dad and this summer I get to go out and shoot a TV show on archaeological dig sites.In the middle of nowhere.My mom took that photo above of my sister and I. I’m not sure where it is, but a safe bet is a California desert. A few years later and this photo would feature us holding our very own water spray bottles and pick axes. My mom painted our initials and pretty flowers on both so we wouldn’t get our rock-hounding tools mixed up in our family of six.
Every family has the Best Friend Family, and ours were The Byrams. We had four kids in our family and the Byrams had four kids in theirs. We all magically lined up in age with Jeff and I being the youngest and therefore the ones that were coerced into kissing while the parents were away trying to find a vein of Cat’s-eye quartz in yonder hills.
We went to abandoned mines (like the Boron mines above) and the dads dug toilets for the lot of us during wind storms in the Mojave.
For us kids it was a fantasy world where rusted box springs and gutted jalopies became our alternative home for the week. We’d always leave the desert covered in layers of dust and sand, and with a pocket full of ragged crystals and handmade obsidian arrow heads Mr. Byram would chip for us. He always left some scattered at our makeshift campsite for the next adventurers.
And this summer, I get to be one of those adventurers again.
And I have no doubt I’ll find some rogue arrow heads some father made for his kids, circa 1975.