My dad has been a geologist for forty years. He has gone on explorations for various companies, looking for industrial minerals. This also meant that he had to spend a lot of time away from home. During the summer when my sister and I weren’t in school, a way to see our father was to go with him on expeditions. Our vacations were very different from other students who spent their summers at sports camps or at Disneyland. Nonetheless, our vacations amounted to some very unique life experiences.
Digging in the dirt, climbing mountains, living at rock quarries, or working at drill camps are all hard in the dead heat of summer. However, the sights I saw during these times were unlike any other. We went to locations most people have never even heard of, let alone have seen. I caught fish from rivers that few people, other than fellow geologists, would have had the opportunity to do. I saw pristine and beautiful nature. Beaver dams being built, moose searching for their mates, and squirrels playing in the trees were just a few of my childhood’s scenes. I also got to live in nature quite different from a camping ground because we were really isolated and one with nature.
Since geology isn’t always easy work, my family and I had our own share of adventures. I still remember an evening spent fending off a stubborn porcupine in order to protect our campsite and food. Unbeknownst to me at the time, porcupines can actually climb trees. Traveling by helicopter to reach different fault lines and the skillful landings will be imprinted in my memory forever. Climbing mountains by using only goat trails as guidance was definitely adventurous to say the least.
Although I complained about lugging buckets of soil, putting flagging tape to various trees, and sorting through rocks that all looked the same, I learned a lot of valuable skills over the years. I still know plenty about nature, animals, and survival, making me the perfect camping companion! I can relay real-life experiences to my sixth grade students when we discuss ecology and mineral types in science class. I’ve also learned how rewarding hard work pays off as well as a passion for science and discovery that few people have. I could have become a writer or an English teacher. But my appreciation for the sciences, that I otherwise might not have developed, directed me towards my future career.
Though I, myself, am not a geologist, I have learned many things over the years from my father’s geological career. I gained knowledge about rocks and minerals, hard work, and survival skills in addition to a few muscles as well as an appreciation for nature.