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August 24, 1862: North Fork Cottonwood Creek

August 24, 2012

Ono 04

Barn, vicinity of Camp 94; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Camp 94

All the way from Shasta here is a placer region—a high table-land, furrowed into innumerable canyons and gulches. The soil is often a hundred feet thick—a very compact, red, cement gravel. In this is the gold, especially in the gulches or ravines. Here in an early day miners “pitched in”—many made their “pile” and left, others died. Little mining towns sprang up, but as the richest placers were worked out they became deserted and now look dilapidated enough….

The scenery here is as unlike as can be anything that we have passed through before. It is a dry, hilly country, with high mountains along the north, the soil very dry and covered with scattered trees and bushes. There are gardens, etc., in the valleys, but generally the land is barren from drought. The whole region is scarred by miners, who have skimmed over the surface and left the region more desolate than before.

Many are mining here still, and many years will elapse before all the placers here will be exhausted. Water is supplied during the summer by ditches, dug for miles in length, by which the mountain streams are carried over the lower hills and the water used for washing the dirt. When these ditches cross gullies, the water is carried in a wooden trough, or, as we in the East would say, a “race,” but here they are universally called “flumes.” We passed one of these flumes yesterday that ran across the valley for a distance of over five thousand feet, most of the way over fifty feet high and in places over ninety feet—it was a magnificent work, known as the Eagle Creek Ditch.

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