Discovery Channel has mastered chronicling the most dangerous and often unusual occupations and developing long-running, captivating stories around the adventure and the individuals who are masters at it. From crab fishing (Deadliest Catch) to gold mining (Gold Rush) to living in the bush (Alaskan Bush People), TV fans have followed these stories and have cheered for their success. Tonight (Tuesday, June 6 at 10/9c) we are introduced to a new group of guys — extreme prospectors Boyce Goff, Ben van der Valk and John Belchik — in the new series Devil’s Canyon.
These men travel by backpack (packing only what they can carry) into a remote region of Devil’s Canyon, British Columbia, an area where other people aren’t willing to go (and big mining companies can’t get to), to pan for gold in what’s known as the largest creek-side gold deposit the world has ever seen.
Camera crews follow them into the woods where they are left alone with GoPros and other camera equipment to document their six-week journey. So who are these guys and why are they doing this? In the first episode, we meet Boyce Goff and Ben van der Valk.
Goff, now age 44, has made thousands of dollars mining for gold all over North America but is looking to make “one big find.” He’s a hospital security guard with an “amazing family,” but he wants to set them up for life. “Everything out here is designed to beat you down. If the weather doesn’t get you the animals will,” Boyce says in the first episode. “And if the animals don’t get you, the canyon will.” He’s looking to prospect at least roughly $5,000 in gold (of course, he really wants to strike it rich) but could be challenged by the harsh environment, mind games (was that a black bear?) and anxiety over missing his family.
van der Valk, now age 34, is a horse farrier by trade, who has spent over 1,000 days in the wild surviving storms, wild animals and lack of food all in the pursuit of gold. Gold mining is his passion and his sole source of income. His expedition into Devil’s Canyon has been a goal he’s set since he began mining 10 years ago. He’s also looking to improve his financial situation for himself and his girlfriend. He comes to the canyon with little food believing he will live off the land so some of his challenges will undoubtedly be centered around finding a sustainable protein source.
While the first episode didn’t feature John Belchick, age 68, we do get glimpses of the wilderness-loving adventurer in preview cuts for future episodes.
Devil’s Canyon airs on Discovery Channel Tuesdays at 10/9c.