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June 1, 1863: Columbia

June 1, 2013

Columbia 08

Columbia; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

Ditch 01

PG&E ditch near Columbia; by Tom Hilton, on Flickr

[Today] I stayed all day at the quiet little place of Columbia, a very pretty mining town, entirely unlike anything in the East. It grew up at a rich placer region. Ditches sixty miles long bring water to wash the gold and irrigate the gardens. The gold has been mostly washed out, many miners have left, so many houses are empty of inhabitants. Many of the houses are embowered with climbing roses, now in full bloom, and the place is lovely. The underlying rock is limestone, which is worn very rough—knobs, poles, pinnacles, thirty feet high—once all filled in with soil, making a level flat. Here were rich placers, and much of the soil has been removed, leaving these ragged rocks bare. The effect is very peculiar.

Here our plans were formed for a trip across the mountains to Aurora, via Yosemite. Hoffmann is sent to Clayton for more animals, and in the meantime Professor Whitney and I will visit certain silver mines three days’ ride distant.

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