Gold runs in their veins: A modern family of prospectors
It is an awkward moment, and it happens all the time. Jessica Bjorkman will meet a stranger, a new face in town, and if they start talking, and if the conversation winds around to the inevitable career question — ‘‘So, what do you do for a living?’’ — she will sigh, just a little. See, it is complicated.
Ms. Bjorkman is not a wild-eyed old man with a grizzled beard yodeling around the great north woods on the back of a donkey. And she does not live in the Yukon. And she has not memorized all the words to Robert Service poem, the Cremation of Sam McGee.
So when she tells someone, “I am a prospector,” that someone will invariably shoot her a curious look.
“Most everybody is surprised,” Ms. Bjorkman says. “I say we go out looking for rocks that have potential. We are the step before a mine, basically, we are the ones out there, on the ground, looking for something promising.”
She is looking for the same thing that the old guy on the donkey was looking for in the Klondike, circa 1898: Gold.
The 31-year-old is not alone in her passion for pursuing a lucky strike. She inherited the gold bug from her father, Karl, as did her five younger siblings, all of whom, save for the baby, Karla, who is still in high school, are prospectors and employees of Bjorkman Prospecting, an all-in-the-family northwestern Ontario enterprise that is as rare as the precious metal they seek. Jessica’s mother, Nikki, keeps the books.
They are a family that moils for gold.
Photo: Independance Pass on the way to Aspen, Colorado: Dad (Karl), Mom (Nikki), Karla, Katarina, Jessica, Bjorn in 2009. (Courtesy Jessica Bjorkman)