FACTOID: Rosie the Ribeter, a California Bullfrog, set the jumping record of 21' 5 ¾” in 1986 at the Calaveras Fair annual frog jumping contest.
The quickest way to drive from Yosemite National Park to Reno is east through the park and then turn north passing by Lake Tahoe. The road through the park was closed due to snow and the drive that would have normally taken about 4 hours took us about 6 hours.
We did drive up California highway 49 that goes through the `gold' country. We went through the towns of Angels Camp, Sutter Creek, Jackson, Plymouth and Drytown. All these little towns were once flourishing gold mine towns with 100s of working gold mines. Sutter Creek is of course the most famous due to the mill of John Sutter where the first gold was found. This gold was found in the creek in 1849 and started the gold rush that looked for `placer' gold, that is, the gold located in the sand deposits of rivers. The gold strike that made all the money was from gold located in quartz veins deep under the ground that were first discovered in 1851. These mines sometimes went 6000 feet deep into the ground. All mining was pretty much stopped by the 1940s due to the expense of getting the gold out of the ground and the environmental damage being done to the land. It is estimated that 95 percent of the gold in Calaveras and Amador counties remains under the ground.
Photo: Our first stop was in Angels Camp made famous in 1867 in a Mark Twain short story about the Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.
Photo: Each year they have a frog-jumping contest and the winning frogs have their name set in the sidewalk - sort of like Hollywood Blvd sidewalk stars in California. This was the winner from 2007 and with a jump of 21' 4 ¼” missed the record of 21' 5 ¾” set in 1986 by only 1 ½”.
Photo: The main street of Angels Camp has lots of underwear hanging from clotheslines. The annual fair was coming in a few weeks and we assumed that this was just part of that and they do not leave this up all year.
Photo: Another view of the main street in Angels Camp.
We drove out of Angels Camp and decided to go on a gold mine tour. Just north of the town of Sutter Creek was the Sutter Creek Gold Mine that is presently only open for tours. The tour takes about one hour and you have to put on a hardhat and take a vehicle into a mine shaft that goes about 1200 feet below the surface. The temperature is a constant 64 degrees inside. The King and Queen were the only people on the tour. The guide told us that the mine had just been sold and they were going to shut the tour down at the end of the summer and start mining for gold again. They had just uncovered a huge quartz vein that we saw on the tour. It started out about 2 - 3 inches wide and eventually was about 20 feet wide. They do not know at this point how deep it is and how much wider it gets.
Photo: The King and Queen outfitted with the latest in hardhats.
Photo: The Queen with our guide who was an actual miner who worked in other parts of the country during the winter.
Our next stop on the way to San Francisco was Lake Tahoe where we spent two nights. Located along the border of California and Nevada it is the second deepest lake in the United States at 1645 feet. The water is incredibly clear and it is completely surrounded by mountains.
Photo: On the way to Lake Tahoe from Reno you climb over Mt. Rose at almost 10,000 feet. There was still snow on the ground. Here our car is parked next to a pole that is used to tell where the road is when the snow gets deep.
Photo: The bathrooms were closed due to snow in the way of the doors.
Photo: There were some hiking paths and we tried to hike up to the top of Mt. Rose.
Photo: A view on the hiking trail.
Photo: We did not get too far as the snow became deeper and covered more of the trail.
Photo: On our way around the lake we stopped at Jason's Beachside Grill in King's Beach, CA.
Photo: On the beach we found some huge pinecones.
Photo: We stayed at the Firelite Lodge in Tahoe Vista, CA. The rooms were very nice - a lot nicer than the reviews on Trip Advisor.
Photo: Some views of the lake as we drive around.
Photo: This is a picture of Emerald Bay that is quoted as the most photographed place in the United States. Fannette Island is the only island on the lake.
Photo: This is a photo of Eagle Falls - the water goes down to Emerald Bay.
Photo: The Queen at the parking lot at Emerald Bay.
Photo: The Queen on the trail to Cascade Falls.
Photo: Still on the train to Cascade Falls.
Photo: River shots.
Photo: Cascade Lake.
Photo: A chipmunk eats our apple at the top of Cascade Falls.
Photo: Cascade Lake and Falls.
Photo: Another chipmunk eats our nuts.
Photo: The King on the hike past Cascade Falls.
Photo: Not just chipmunks visited us but birds also.
Photo: The Alpine Meadows hike was also on trails with lots of snow. This part had a tree that had fallen across the trail.
Photo: The Queen made an pinecone structure on the rock.
Photo: More snow.
Photo: and more scenery.
Photo: We did go over to Squaw Valley also to see the area and ski lifts. The lifts had just closed the last weekend.