Not everyone has a Jan Stewart in their life. Lucky me that my neighbor is a gold aficionado and loves to take people out digging for gold. My crew had a taste of panning at Columbia Park and decided they'd like to try the real thing.
We toured an old hard rock mine. Then we dug dirt from an old dry creek bed and hauled it to Murphys Creek were we washed the dirt for nuggets.
We got small nuggets but tossed the many gold flakes since we didn't figure to sell our gold anyway. It was fun. Even so, my guests learned what the old timer's learned long ago. Finding gold, digging and panning, is hard work. No one regretted the experience, even if the temperature reached 97.
Earlier in the day, we visited Big Trees State Park. A phenomenal, not to be missed, experience for anybody who visits Calaveras County.
This tree is the Old Bachelor, one of my favorites.
Marie and Bernice stood in the root hollow of this fallen giant. You hear about them, you see pictures of them, but to actually stand beside the giants is an awesome experience. To be a sightseer in Calaveras County is as valuable as our gold.