A pretty drive on a gray Sunday -- near Washington, CA 11/3/13

The road sign for Washington is on Hwy 20, maybe 15 miles east of Nevada City on the way to Truckee. We've wanted to see what's in the Town of Washington, what it looks like, since we first saw the sign last year.  Today was the day, or as Pooh sez to Piglet Let's go on an Explore!  From Hwy 20, a winding six-mile descent took us more than 1,000' down to the town along the South Yuba River.  The Prius liked the descent part .

What we discovered was that Washington is an old mining town, settled during the California Gold Rush in 1849, that produced a large amount of placer gold.  Hard rock mines were established soon afterword and were very productive. Washington is the only settlement in the vicinity to have survived to this day.  Maybe so, but other than a few characters standing in the one-lane-each-way road drinking tall beers in the morning sunlight, with unrestrained BIG dogs roaming freely, we didn't see anything in the block-long town to warrant getting out of our car.  Instead, we continued on a dinky gravel road following the river for approx three miles.  Near the town we could see signs of long-ago hydraulic mining on the river by way of massive piles of roadside boulders.  Nowadays, the 65-mile river, which originates at Donner Pass at the crest of the Sierra, rolls placidly on.... 

A very picturesque river.

 Clear, cool water!

Imagine this river during spring rains and snow melt! 

Photo taken from a one-lane wooden bridge.  We had to turn around - very carefully! - after crossing the bridge as the road became impassable, and we were only a quarter of a mile from river access (and parking) at Golden Quartz.  Otherwise, no parking in this area.  Nuts.  We thought this spot looked like a great swimming hole during hot summer months (bet it is, too).  During floods, water must shoot thru this narrow slot like gangbusters!  Every site we've been to on the South Yuba River has been beautiful.  We consider ourselves very fortunate to live so close to the splendor of these mountains and rivers.

But, our Prius preferred going downhill...!

1 comment:

  1. Those are gorgeous pics of the river. I don't think I would have gotten out of the car in Washington either.


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