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Field Trips

2011 SDAG Field Trip: Nov. 4-6, 2011
Picacho State Recreation Area and the Cargo Muchachos

Plans for this year's field trip and accompanying guidebook are progressing well. We'll be staying at the group sites (very cozy) at the Picacho State Recreation Area November 4 through 6, 2011. You may have heard that Sacramento has scheduled Picacho SRA for closure next summer. So far, it doesn't appear that this will affect us, so all systems are go.
  • Gold mining within the Chocolate and Cargo Muchacho Mountains has a long and stored history, yet remains relatively unknown when compared to the other California gold camps of the Sierra Nevadas or the Mojave Desert.
  • Mexican miners were among the first to learn of the 1849 gold rush in Northern California. They were adept at locating gold deposits in places whereAnglos were not. American miners were antagonistic toward the Mexicans, and drove them out. By the mid-1850ís many resettled in southeastern California and western Arizona and discovered most of the major placer deposits of the area.
  • Mexican miners traveled and worked in family groups. Among the methods used in placer deposits was the blanket method. Simply throw sand up in a blanket and let the wind blow the lighter materials away. Gold nuggets remain, while finer gold is captured in the hairs of the blanket.
  • While Anglos preferred to develop and mechanize deposits, Mexican minersand their families lived in what could be called subsistence mining, just recovering enough to make a living. When gold petered out, they moved on. This is one of the reasons so little is known of the earlymining days of the area.
These tidbits are essentially from one fascinating paper that will be published the guidebook. However, I need support (sponsor donations) to acquire the rights to publish archival mine photos that will further enhance the paper. Please contact your VP Todd Wirths at 858-337-0098 or for any suggestions, comments, etc. More to come, thanks!
Ruins of the Picacho Mine's Lower Stamp Mill and Colorado River
Field Trip 2011
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