20120927

Malakoff Diggins redux -- Saturday, 9/22/12


Humbug, you say?  Yes, you're partially correct. Remember this is historic gold country!  The town of Humbug, settled in 1852, became known as North Bloomfield in 1858.  Located 10 miles northeast of Nevada City, California (as the crow flies), it was originally named Humbug after the creek of the same name.  North Bloomfield is a well preserved mining town, now a state park, and it was home to hydraulic gold miners and their families from Malakoff Diggins The world's largest hydraulic gold mine.

 A section of the restored Smith-Knotwell "Drugstore" - circa 1880 - on North Bloomfield Road.

 Rus and Jimmy posing at the wood stove in the drugstore. (hurry up, take the picture, already!)

 Ready for lunch from the goodies we bought earlier in the day @ the Grower's Market.  Brother Rus, Jimmy, and sis-in-law, Anne.

After a Ranger's tour of historic North Bloomfield, we tried our hands at gold panning in Humbug Creek.

 Rus appears to be standing on the log (but isn't).  Notice the empty gold pan....

Jimmy picks a site further downstream to pan.  The water level is obviously very low (end of a very dry summer).

Jimmy is showing how much gold he found in, ahem, Humbug Creek: Zero. Humbug!  This is how the creek got its name in the first place!

Exploring further:  The North Bloomfield School - built at a cost of $3000 in 1872-73.  It served the community until it closed in 1941.  We walked around it; couldn't get in.

The school and St Columncille's Catholic Church are across the street from LeDu's Diggins.  As strange as it seemed to us, the church was formerly a Union Guard Hall and used in 1860 to train men for the Civil War under Capt. Frank Coffey of nearby French Corral.  Strange because you don't think of the West Coast as being involved in the War Between the States. 

Anne and Rus on Malakoff Diggins loop trail.

Jimmy (holding a non-gold-bearing rock!) and Rus (standing on a non-gold-bearing rock!).  

Okay, so we didn't find any precious metal, but we did spot an unusual bee "hive" in this ground hole the size of a basketball.  The bees seemed to be rebuilding their paper-like nest after something (perhaps a bear) exposed it - the ground all around the hole had been disturbed.  Bees were all around the area....

And then there's this foot-long guy.  He seemed to resent me almost driving over it, and when I got out of the car to examine it, including touching its tail, it reared up and gave me the evil eye.  Go ahead, it seemed to say - Make My Day!

Although we all thought  today felt pretty durned hot, we enjoyed being outside exploring this historic area.  It was Another Great Adventure!

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