More fun, Out and About, in NorCal -- Thurs, 9/5/13

Today would be my sister and BiL's last full day with us, so a plan was made to go check out Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, northeast of us.  Nannie and I made cashew-nut-butter and jelly sandwiches and we packed up small bags of chips, sandwiches, and drinks, and took off.  One of the last requests I heard was that we not get back too late (like after 5 pm) because they had to get things ready to leave for home in the morning.  No problem!  I wasn't driving so, I'm not exactly sure how we got there, but we ended up at Bridgeport (Nyes Crossing), southeast of us and site of Covered Bridge State Park.  This might be considered serendipity!

The sign that Nannie's standing next to reads, in part "Built in 1862... this bridge was part of the Virginia Turnpike Company toll road which served the northern mines and the busy Nevada Comstock Lode... it is the longest single-span, wooden covered bridge in the United States."  The entrance is gated and locked because the bridge is unstable and engineers haven't figured out how to stabilize it yet.  We all wished we could walk across it, but, alas, not today.

 The gift shop was open (I bought a tee shirt w/ hummingbirds on it), and my silly sister is pretending this stuffed Kodiak grizzly bear is tearing off her arm!  Photo op!

 One of the best parts of this state park is the clear South Yuba River -- oh, so refreshing to wade in on a hot summer day.  Didn't take me and Nannie a minute to shed shoes 'n sox!  We made a pact that if one of us fell in face first (hard to walk on wet rocks), the other would also "tump over!"  Probably would've felt good to get completely soaked, but it didn't happen.

The other good part of this park is being able to pan for gold, which my brother-in-law is doing.  He bought a gold miner's pan in the gift shop and commenced looking... for a nugget or two...!  The jury is still out on whether those are REAL gold flakes in the little vial he also bought.  All of us enjoyed inspecting the multitude of rocks at river's edge.

We messed around by the river for a long time.  These big ol' trees provided perfect shade for our picnic.  After examining more rocks and panning for more gold and more river wading, we left for Malakoff Diggins.

* * * * *

Jimmy and Nannie in historic North Bloomfield, standing beside a water monitor - the means of the hydraulic mining at Malakoff Diggins.

By 1850 there was little gold left in streams. Miners began to discover gold in old riverbeds and on mountainsides high above the streams. In 1851, three miners headed northeast of what is now Nevada City for a less crowded area to prospect. One miner went back to town with a pocket full of gold nuggets for supplies and was followed back by many prospectors. These followers, however, did not find any gold and declared the area "Humbug", thus the stream was so named "Humbug Creek". Around 1852, settlers began to arrive in the area and the town of "Humbug" sprang up  Now known as North Bloomfield.

Jimmy is all but hidden in the manzanita.

While beautiful in its own way, the Malakoff mine pit is a testimony to the destruction and avarice that was part of the California gold rush, and to one of the nation's first environmental protection measures.

Nannie set up a timed photo of the four of us perched on boulders leftover from the hydraulic mining..

 Nannie and Bubba at Hiller Tunnel, one of Malakoff's marvels.  Someday, me and Jimmy will remember to bring a flashlight with us to explore further inside this dark tunnel.  Maybe....

We kept on going, the four of us, heedless of time, having fun.  So much to see, hills to climb.  Pictures to take.  Finally, I looked at my watch.  Hmmmm, it was 5 pm.  And we were 45 minutes +/- from home.  Before we left this morning, we'd decided to eat pizza in a local restaurant, as it would be easy after a day Out and About.  It was around 6 pm by the time we pulled in the pizza parking lot, and I guess we got home around 7ish.  Well, we didn't make the 5 pm margin, but no one seemed to mind.  We had a great day, and they're not driving east too far tomorrow, so an early start isn't required. 

My sister and I donned our bathing suits and made straight for our hot tub on the back deck, to soothe those aching muscles and tendons!  Just the ticket to end a wonderful day! 


  1. oh oh oh....I loved reading about the diggins, but what really caught my breath were your great photos of IONE FORMATION! That white stuff is really really old and makes for some crazy soils. Had to map it in Tuolumne and Calaveras Counties...didn't know it was up there too. oh goodie, I am in "formation" mode since I have been in John Day Country for days now.

  2. A long day out&about, but what a fine time! The hot tub really saved the day at the end.....


We love hearing from you -- please leave us a note! (Comment moderation is turned on, and your comments, including anonymous comments, will be visible after they have been reviewed and published.)