Malakoff Diggins is one of those leftovers from the Gold era of Northern California. This was the site where a certain kind of mining was developed. What they did was take water and blast it at the mountain sides using high pressure. This would cause the mountain to break up and the dirt would come down in a slurry, where it then went down a slide that collected the gold. The result of this was environmental destruction but also amazing white-washed bare rock outcroppings.
We went up to Malakoff Diggins and enjoyed a picnic lunch in the North Bloomfield town (once called Humbug) that is now a State Park. First we stopped at a local market, which is well known for supplying organic and natural goods.
North Bloomfield experienced it’s heyday from the late 1860’s to 1884, with nearly 1,500 inhabitants and more than 100 buildings serving as a supply base for the township. These buildings included 5 hotels, 8 saloons, 2 livery stables, 2 dry goods stores, 2 breweries, 3 boot makers, 3 fraternal organizations, a school, a barbershop, a drug store, a butcher, a baker, a dairy, and 2 churches.
First we went into the barn and admired the wagons.
We enjoyed walking on the trail around the lake.
There was a small waterfall.
Overall it was a great experience to share with my father. Actually, I forgot to mention that as we were driving into the park a large brown bear crossed our path in front of the car. That was certainly a thrilling moment.
Blair Lake was originally a small hydraulic mine back in the 1800s. Gold yield from the gravel was low so owners dammed the drain end to form a reservoir. The lake has been dredged several times and the water is tested annually. Mercury and other heavy metals are within normal and safe levels.