On Saturday, October 5, twenty-three adventurers, led by local Yuba River historian and author Hank Meals, accompanied Caleb Dardick, SYRCL’s Executive Director, and Miriam Limov, SYRCL’s River People Manager, on an educational and stunning 6-mile round trip hike to the Mountain Mine in the majestic Sierra Buttes. The crew was blessed with beautiful blue skies, blissful warm breezes, and dramatic vistas of the Yuba River watershed. With a majority of the hike above tree line, the scenery was terrific and the fall foliage was just beginning to display magnificent colors.
New SYRCL member and volunteer River Ambassador Janette Carpenter summed up the day: “We had a grand day on the hike with Hank Meals and fellow SYRCL members. As new residents to Nevada County, it was wonderful to learn about hiking trails that are in our ‘own backyard.’ We enjoyed hearing stories from Hank Meals about the mining history, and geology that are part of our home. He helped make a beautiful hike on a glorious day, even more special. (Miriam’s pumpkin, chocolate chip cookies were an extra, special treat, too).”
Laurie Oberholtzer, Executive Director of the Sierra County Land Trust, met the group at the trailhead to share information about the land trust’s mission and the terrain that we would be hiking through. The land trust primary goal is to purchase land to preserve the Sierra Buttes/Lakes Basin of Sierra County, with its craggy buttes and numerous alpine lakes.
With wit, wisdom and laughter, Hank Meals, shared many stories of the miners that once roamed these lands. The Mountain Mine was located on a jagged southeast-facing hillside above the North Yuba less than a mile east of the Sierra Buttes Lookout (8,500’). Once an underground gold mine, the Mountain Mine operated in the late 1800′s and stopped producing in 1905. Avalanches and landslides have eliminated the surface structures, but the setting remains spectacular.
Volcano Lake, with its reflection of the Sierra Buttes, was the site of the relaxing lunch where the participants enjoyed a fun raffle, some of Miriam’s pumpkin cookies and heard from Caleb Dardick about SYRCL’s latest advocacy and programs.
Excursions are just one of the engaging and community-oriented programs of SYRCL, and we hope you get involved in whatever aspect of our work that interests you. Janette Carpenter reflects on how she was inspired to become a SYRCL member and volunteer. “I learned about SYRCL two years ago when I was asked to sign a petition to help keep the South Yuba River State Park open. Even though we were new here at that time, I already loved the Yuba. I got involved with SYRCL right away since, clearly, they also had a love and passion for protecting the watershed for all of us. I was proud to be a River Ambassador this summer and look forward to volunteering again next year.”
The Mountain Mine excursion was an outstanding success, bringing SYRCL members out into the Yuba River watershed to learn about the colorful history of the region, experience the beauty of the north Yuba region and form new friendships. The new year will bring many more opportunities to get outside with new and old friends. Come join us, as the Yuba watershed is stellar in all its seasons!