Thursday, July 13, 2006

Malakoff Diggins

Our camping trip recently was to Malakoff Diggins State Park, 20 miles north of Nevada City. Here is a "mini Yosemite Valley," carved out by miners enthusiastically directing pressurized water at the hillsides to make the gold run off. Since this flooded farms down the valley and was ecologically reprehensible, an 1884 court case ended the diggins. By 1940, the boomtown had shut down and in 1966 became a state park.
Malakoff Diggins has a really sweet little ghost town with about six buildings you can tour. It puts Goldfield to shame!
I was pretty much in ecstasy the whole time. Plus the campground itself (3,000 acres!) is really lovely. We had tentsite no. 27, which is closest to the diggins overlook. We had a great evening walk down to Blair Lake where we saw turtles, fish that swam in tight, fast, perfect circles, weird bugs, and best of all, really BIG frogs.
Here's Alan panning for gold. Gold flakes are terribly small, it turns out, more like gold molecules. We were told that the launderers would shake out the miners' clothes to collect up the gold dust.


75 Pounds Lost said...

Howdy--have you ever stayed in the Malakoff cabins? We're thinking about doing that in the fall, and I can't figure out if they have wood burning stoves or not.

Now that I see there are bears there, I'm not so sure I *want* to go, after all. Ack.


Erika M said...

Didn't stay in the cabins but saw them. They're right in the midst of the historical row. Don't worry about the bears: you should GO! Have fun.