(This is part one of two on our trip to Gold Country.)

Living in California rocks. Um, hard rocks. Like in hard rock mining?!?

Katie didn’t get much Gold Rush education in fourth grade (I am sure it was too taxing for her poor teacher). So I wanted to pick it up as part of home school. But we decided to do it the fun way – go there, be that!

Our first stop on our four day journey, was the hard rock mine at Sutter’s Creek. We had the best tour guide ever – Charlie a third generation hard rock miner who clearly earned his stripes and looked the part. He took us underground and told us amazing stories about how the miners (including his wife) did their jobs. What incredibly hard work in killer working conditions. The tour is really worth it.

After that, we headed over to Angels Camp, home of the infamous Calaveras Jumping Frog. We stopped at the museum and bought a copy of Samuel Clemens’ (you remember him – aka Mark Twain) short story and then took a bunch of photos of large frog sculptures that were strategically placed around the town.

Our next stop was Moaning Cavern where my butt was officially handed to me. We had to walk down a ton of stairs to see the incredible sights in this cavern. Katie was blown away by the clear pond at the bottom with floating rocks. We were both amazed at the people repelling down from the top. And I nearly needed life support after dragging my booty back up all the stairs (which was facilitated by a lot of positive support from my daughter. That and the fact she made us go up before everyone else so the peer pressure really kept me moving!).

In the cavern, we learned a lot about the local geology and it was the first time Katie had seen those kinds of rock formations. She was blown away by the “organic” look of everything – flowy, lacy and beautiful, the rock had really evolved into works of art.

After I recovered from the cavern, we headed over to Columbia State Park to find our Bed and Breakfast. Check out our next blog to learn more about Columbia!