There’s gold in them there hills

Sunday, September 24, 2017 –

My son picked up our two Grandboys yesterday and brought them up for the weekend.  We all went over to contractor Jay’s house for a BBQ, celebrating Jim’s 71st birthday.  You may recall Jim works with Jay.

img_14711.jpgQuite a few people showed up in the evening and brought many a good dish to share. Jay did the cooking, and all the food was great.

The temperature dropped as the day faded prompting Jay to light a great fire in the rim of a tractor he located this past summer.

It was a good time with great friends, food, and family. We got home a little before 10:00 pm.

Jay had us take some leftovers for tomorrow’s adventure.

We made reservations for all of us to go to Roaring Camp for a guided tour down the canyon today to the Mokelumne River where the north and south fork join in Pine Grove. The tour starts at 10:00 am, and ends at 4:00 pm.

Roaring Camp was a gold mining company and was purchased by this family in 1937.  It consists of thousands of acres, and a working gold mining operation today.  Gold mining continues here year round by the family.

They drove about fifteen of us down the canyon to river. It is a three-mile ride, and very windy.  It took this family three-years to build this dirt road.  The road is very steep, and we had to stop to cool the brakes part way down.

There are a number of interesting sites to see on the way down to the river, including a Spanish settlement from the 1600’s.  In the 1850’s during the gold rush this canyon had a community of 800 miners.  This terrain is so rough it’s a wonder anyone survived here. There remains free range cattle, horses, and sheep today.

We arrived after about a 40 minute drive of the three-miles.  We had a walking tour of the premises.  They have 20 cabins and 8 tent sites here to rent.   There’s fishing, swimming, a miniature golf course, a restaurant, and full bar.  It is quite beautiful!

The open pit you see above is dug with heavy excavating equipment, but the 49er’s had to dig these holes twenty to thirty feet deep with a pick and shovel – by hand.  The holes are required to remove the dirt down to the bedrock as that’s where gold is found.

Patty had packed a lunch for all of us.  Tri-Tip and ham sandwiches, and of course chips. We had a picnic lunch and then it was time to find the gold.  The guides taught us how to find gold using a number of methods, including panning. The camp provides all the equipment for this adventure. Kurt, Madix and Patty found a little gold, and put it in a vial of water.   I worked it fairly well, but found no gold. Mason didn’t work it much and therefore got nothing.  He wanted to swim in the river.  The water was really cold!

It was a fun-filled day, and a great place for a family outing for $40 a person.  We got home about 4:30 pm. Kurt and the boys left for the Valley, as work and school looms the next day.











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