Saturday, August 6, 2011

All Mine

Today we drove through Calaveras County and into Amador County to Gold Country. I can't tell you how disappointed I was that I hadn't prepared a podcast of The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County by Mark Twain for my kids to listen to while we drove through. How cool would that have been? 

Ugh. I'm still kicking myself.

Despite my missing a sweet teaching moment, we had a great time at the Sutter Gold Mine. I'm including  a link to Sutter Mine even though this is the last week the mine will be open for tours. Evidently, it's being opened back up for gold mining. Which is good because during the tour we saw gold in some of the quartz seams. Exciting!

We all grabbed hard hats and rode a cart down into the mine. And walked around to see some of the different tools used for getting gold. The highlight of the tour--for me, at least--was when the guide asked if anyone knew who invented dynamite. Ethan's hand shot up and he had the answer: Albert Nobel. I was so proud.

After the tour we bought a bag of dirt for $8.50 and the boys got to search for gems. They provided us with a little gem identification card so we'd know what we found. The boys loved this and I think it was the best $8.50 I ever spent.

Jonah got the most gems in his pile of dirt, but the boys ended up splitting their haul, even steven. Everyone was happy.

It was a beautiful day. Hot, but not too hot. Still, I preferred the shade to the full sun for sure. We picnicked, picked some blackberries, and bought a few things at the gift shop. (All items with "Sutter Gold Mine" are 50% off due to the mine tours closing.) It was a great day.


Debbie said...

So, what kind of gems did they find?

Afton said...

They found aventurine, quartz, peridot, ruby, raspberry quarts, topaz, rose quartz, crystals, obsidian, sapphire, moon stone, amethyst, emerald, fluorite, sodalite, calcite, citrine, pyrite and garnet. They were all rough, but it was pretty exciting to see all those pretty rocks when all the dirt was washed away.