Saturday, April 4, 2009

Cash and Treasures, Alaskan Gold

This one of the last episodes that did not contain the words "Kirsten Gum" in the title. For the life of me, I don't get this change, but if it does increase viewership, fine. It's all about marketing and branding these days, and if Kirsten can transform herself into a brand, more power to her and the show.

The best thing about this episode is ALASKA, which is the true treasure. Gorgeous, craggy, incredibly remote, we're lucky to get this view of the place. Most places in the interior, you have to take puddle jumper type planes, which are an experience in themselves. You have to be brave.

First we have a primer on how pan for gold, dispensed by a crusty ole miner named "Peck". Peck has an eerie resemblance to my first husband (you think I'm kidding, but I am not). If it weren't an invasion of privacy that would incur supreme wrath if it were discovered, I would post their pictures side by side. But I'm wiser than that. Some episodes later, after the rebranding of the series, Kirsten will again pan for gold, but will inexplicably have forgotten anything she ever knew.

After trying out panning, it's off to try out suction dredging with a couple of recreational miners. She has a little better luck here, and her total approaches fifty bucks or so. And after spending the afternoon in the cold water of the creek (no tank tops in this episode, boys, so sorry), she's got wet feet and a little more paydirt.

We then gear up with state of the art metal detection equipment, it's off to Moore Creek Mine, where you can dig your gold right out of the ground, after you have detected the presence of metal. This involves not one, but two flights in the aforementioned puddle jumpers. You are not going to drive here.

This mining land has been turned and prepared, a la farming fields. As they say, she quickly learns that all that beeps the detector is not gold. She comes up completely empty when it comes to nuggets. In one of the best scenes of the show, she and two other miners show off their impressive takes of rusty nails, rusty sardine can keys, and the like. Pretty funny.

Two days later, Kirsten is still gold nugget free. As they are waiting for the charter puddle jumper to pick them up, the crew gets a chance to try their luck. Almost immediately they find gold, two beautiful nuggets. And do they get to keep them? We shall soon see.

One complaint I have had with the earlier shows is that they always 'sell' what they find, with the quite ridiculous statement that they 'have to pay for the trip'. Come on, Travel Channel. The three hundred or so that those nuggets were worth will not make the slightest dent in what it cost to make this episode. Let the crew keep their finds!

At least in the newly branded version of the show, it looks like that silliness has been suspended.

This looks like it would be an incredibly fun vacation, as long as you didn't bank on finding enough gold to pay for the trip. I'd love to do it someday, better start saving now!

No comments: