Published: July 29th 2012September 18th 2011
Middle Fork American River
Overlook of the canyon of the Middle Fork of the American River, in Foresthill CA
Today is another day to not do very much.
I’m still recovering from Burning Man, although most of the physical exhaustion has disappeared by this point.
Good thing, because I have some long hikes coming up.
The Christmas Tree Vineyard Lodge
is a great place to relax.
It’s an oversize log cabin personally built by the owner.
They have pictures of the build in the living room.
Eventually, I needed to do laundry and get dinner, so I headed into Foresthill
Both town and lodge are located on a high ridge between the Middle and North Forks of the American River.
At one point, the road passes an overlook with a beautiful view of the Middle Fork canyon with the Sierras stretching beyond.
Foresthill was founded as a mining town
during the gold rush.
That seems impossible, since the town is nowhere near any streams.
Remember from two days ago that much of the western Sierra is covered in gravel from ancient rivers, which also contained gold [see A Miner, Forty Niner, and his Daughter, Clementine
Forresthill sat on a huge deposit of the stuff.
Miners mined it by
Foresthill Main Street
Foresthill originally had an eighty foot wide main street, the widest street in California. It is now two parallel steets
shoveling it into sluices.
The first miners expected Foresthill to be the largest gold deposit in California, and their town to be the largest in the entire state.
Although the town is tiny, it still shows their confidence.
Downtown has an odd layout of two parallel main streets with a thin park roughly a yard wide between them.
Originally, it was one single street, the widest in California.
The first miners laid it out that way to show how grand their town would become.