When I tell people that I like to go metal detecting, I sometimes get some strange looks. While the hobby is becoming more popular due to the advent of television shows and newcomers, I’m not sure that its appeal has fully made it all the way out here to the desert in Tucson. I’m sure that isn’t true – I haven’t had the opportunity to talk to other detectorists in my area, but I know there are several metal detecting clubs and groups available locally. So far though, metal detecting has become a fun hobby that I enjoy with my family.

There are lots of reasons that I love metal detecting, and none of them have anything to do with the items I’ve found (although it’s always exciting to find something!). One of the biggest reasons I love it is I get to really see the beauty of the desert landscape. I have lived in the southwest my whole life and that makes it easy for me to take the picturesque views for granted. When I’m outside detecting though, I am able to enjoy looking at the jagged mountains, the desert vegetation, and all the lizards and bunnies that run around. It even helps me appreciate the appeal of all the cacti that fill the area. Of course, summer is almost here, so it’s going to be too hot to get out there for a while. But I know that detectorists in other parts of the country have weather challenges too, with snow and icy conditions in the winter.  

Another great thing about metal detecting is that it gives me time to spend with my family. My husband, my 12-year-old stepson, and I get to be outside doing something together. In this, the age of screens everywhere, it’s refreshing to have an activity in which we have conversations that don’t include emojis. Metal detecting is a great hobby to do as a family.

I’m lucky because my husband was a history major and has a lot of knowledge about what went on in our city’s past. So, he always gives us insight about who might’ve been in the area and the things they might’ve done. Whenever metal detecting comes up in conversation with friends and acquaintances, one of the first things they ask about is whether I have found anything valuable. My answer is we haven't found the mother lode yet, but we have found enough to keep us searching for that next great find. Our opinion is, it's not always that it hasn’t been about what we find, it’s more about the thrill of the hunt and spending time together. It’s exciting to anticipate the possibilities of what we might find. That always leads to conversations about the history of the area that we are hunting.

I know that lots of people get into the hobby because they hope to find valuable treasure. And I certainly would be excited if we found something of value. But for me, it comes down to the other benefits of metal detecting. It’s the excitement of searching, spending time with my boys, and getting out and enjoying nature that do it for me.