Ben Van Der Valk
Ben Van Der Valk has a serious case of gold fever after mining and prospecting for the last ten years; so much so, that Ben recently quit his full-time job as a horse farrier to devote his life to mining gold and chasing adventure. Now with his career on the line, Ben needs to succeed in order to support himself, and his long-term girlfriend MacKenzie, who hopes that they can soon buy a house and start their life together. When Ben goes prospecting, he is always alone except for the company of his two dogs, and he is often gone for weeks at a time, his record being three months out in the bush, hours from civilization. Ben has encountered everything from a devastating storm that demolished his camp and left him exposed, to the harsh Canadian winter, to wild animals including a bear that once invaded his camp and attacked his dog. During tough times, Ben questions why he subjects himself to this life but once he finds a little bit of color, he is instantly reminded of his love for mining and his addiction to the gold. The last time Ben went on a prospecting expedition, extreme weather destroyed his supplies and he had to return home empty handed and inevitably broke. And although he hopes he and his girlfriend are together for the long run, Ben admits the prospecting can take a toll on the relationship, and not succeeding at finding gold could put the relationship in serious jeopardy. Now, Ben is now determined that on his next time out, he will redeem himself and return home with his biggest find yet.