Sunday, September 4, 2011

Gold country!

Today we headed up into the Sierras. I always enjoy this drive as the scenery changes dramatically over the course of two hours. I also love the sense of history that you get while driving through gold rush country. The abandoned buildings and mine shafts always make me start day dreaming about "the good ole' days"... not that they were really that good...

Most of the first hour consists of driving west through Sacramento Valley ranch lands. It's pretty desolate with just the scattered general store and clump of buildings. 

We had to stop at one point and I took this photo of an outhouse. I love random outhouses.


 Here the flat ranch lands are giving way to small rolling hills. In the fore ground there are rock fences. These are all over the place, being built by cheap Chinese labor after the Chinese were taxed out of gold mining.

Then the large steep rolling hills appear with oak trees scattered all over them. This is the beginning of gold country. As a side note, my mom says that this countryside is very similar to Spain...

Since we had Paynes with us, and because we can't ever pass up an opportunity to play tourists, we stopped at a town called Sutter's Creek. Sutter's creek is named after the same man who founded Sutter's fort where gold was first found.

As we pulled into Sutter's Creek, I noticed a relative of Herbert hanging out in the field.

This is downtown Sutter's Creek.Beautiful old buildings, from the 1850-1860's.

I've always loved this little bed and breakfast.

 Here I am storing up my energy for the next hour of the drive.

We don't have any pictures from the rest of the drive, but mostly the oak trees turn into pines and things get steeper. There will be more pictures of the forest tomorrow!

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