It's Spring Break. The Boy is in Terre Haute with my folks, the Spouse is working, and the Girlchild is 12 and sullen. Today, we tried something anyway, she and I. We went panning for gold. Yes, you can pan for gold in Indiana. I'd heard about this from another scout leader, and have been wanting try it. No gold pans; we took plates. We drove south to a state forest, got permits at the office and set out. While we waited for our permits, a woman who was also waiting started talking to us. She pointed out a road where her family usually had success. "There's lots of black sand in that creek," she said, "The black sand has the gold. They both sink to the bottom of your pan. The gold there is flour gold -- little, tiny pieces." I thanked her. We got our permits and drove to the road. We saw the woman and her husband parking. They waved. We kept going. I didn't want to use the same spot. I don't know how gold panners are, but knowing how secretive people can be about their favorite fishing or morel hunting spots, I decided not to intrude. Speaking of morels, I kept my eyes open for those, too.
We parked, and walked/fell down a steep grade to a small creek. Emily quickly got bored. I panned for and hour and a half, maybe two hours. Nothing. I never even saw any of this black sand the lady was talking about. I got tired of listening to my daughter complain, and my knees had had enough crouching, so we packed up. Then came the ascent. Aching knees and aching lungs. We went home, no flour gold, and no morels, either.