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JOHN A. SUTTER AND THE CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH
SUTTER GOLD MINE
MAY 13 - 20, 2007
The Sutter Gold Mine is a modern hard rock mine located on historic Highway 49 just north of Sutter Creek.
Although originally developed for gold extraction in
the late 1980s, the mine is now open exclusively for one-hour underground tours deep into the heart of the Motherlode.
The Sutter Gold Mine offers a comprehensive look into the gold mining process and its historical progression from gold panning and hydraulic mining to hard rock techniques. Besides that, it's just plain fun to go underground and see what's usually only seen by miners: the inside of the Earth.
The 1-hour Walk Tour is a great lesson on gold mining from the earliest days to the present time. This real mine experience begins with gearing up in hard-hats and tagging in, then stepping aboard the Boss Buggy Shuttle for a historic journey deep underground. Learn about Gold Country geology and mining technology as you traverse beneath thousands of tons of native rock, viewing mining equipment from the smallest drills to the massive 15-yard haul truck. See beautiful crystals and learn how to distinguish between real gold deposits and pyrite ("Fools Gold") in the quartz of the Comet Vein.
Above ground, visitors may pan for gold or do some gemstone mining. Everyone is guaranteed to find some real gemstones!
Top: Gemstones I found at the Sutter Gold Mine. I'm planning on using the smaller gems for a kaleidoscope.
Above: This piece of Gold-in-Quartz stone landed in my hand while digging through muddy waters and piles of gravel. I'll have a jeweler turn it into a pendant for my mom.
Almost everyone I met and talked to in Jackson, Sutter Creek and at the Sutter Gold Mine had come to Amador County because they too had seen the TV Show "Best Places to find Cash and Treasures" with Becky Worley on the Travel / Discovery Channel.
Looks like the show sparked a new California Gold Rush!
We're standing in an actual earthquake crack
Using wood in mines caused a huge problem. It would get moldy and deteriorate within a short period of time. Mold of course, caused serious health problems.
Like her family, Chris has been a gold miner since more than 30 years and she tells us some hilarious stories her grandpa had told her.
Back then security at mine entrances wasn't as strict as it is now. But once everyone in town would suddenly drive a new car, mine owners got suspicious and realized that they were being "robbed" by their own workers.
Miners got very creative when it came to smuggling gold out of the mine.
Chris herself discovered this particular gold quartz vein - She's hoping to someday receive the permission to explore it further.
We're 450 feet underground and our tour guide Chris tries to illuminate the long tunnel in front of us that was used by miners. She also explains what tools and procedures miners use to extract gold from gold mines.
- Sandwiches would not serve as lunch but rather as "gold traps". Miners would press the open sandwich containing a thick layer of butter into the gold, then simply close the sandwich and take it back home.
- Men with long beards would smear syrup on the inside of their beard and then press it into the gold, which then would stick to the syrup.
- Even mules were fed with gold and miners then simply had to wait for the mule to "do its business".
- Some fearless men would make little bags from soft deer leather, fill them with gold, tie a thread around them, swallow them and attach the end of the thread to a tooth so they could later easily pull them back up.
Soon miners were not allowed to bring lunch boxes into the mine anymore and everyone had to take a shower when exiting the mine. Today miners are being screened with metal detectors in addition to the showers.