Day Trip to Empire Mine State Historic Park

Last week we took a day trip to the Empire Mine State Historic Park.  It’s up north and east of Sacramento, a 2 1/2 hour drive from our house, so we started out pretty early.  Unfortunately, we got lost a few times on the way (Thanks Map Quest!) so it took us longer than that.  The Park opens at 10:00 am and the tours start at 11:00.  We got there at 11:30, so we spent some time in the museum which was great.  They have a scale model of the mine with a recorded narrative which was really interesting.  Then we took the first tour which was the Mine Yard which featured lots of old mine equipment.  Here is the Ore Stamper which crushed the ore.  When the mine was active, there were 80 of these running full-time.  The mine was so loud that they could hear it all the way in the town.

Gold Ore Stamper

Gold Ore Stamper

We even got to go a little way down into the mine, but it was just too dark to take pictures.  The mine is flooded now, and if they ever wanted to start it up again, they would have to pump all of the water out first – which would take many months and be very expensive.

As soon as the mine tour was over, we ran over and joined the Cottage and Grounds tour.  We saw the owners club house and cottage, but once again, it was just too dark to get good pictures.  Here is a stuffed moose in the ballroom which was smaller than our living room, they sure didn’t have very many people dancing in there!  Each tour took an hour, and in spite of not being able to get any pictures, we really enjoyed them.

Stuffed Moose in the Ballroom

Stuffed Moose in the Ballroom

In addition to the area where the buildings and tours are (and where you pay $7 apiece to get in) there are 845 acres of trails that you can hike for free.  We thought that this would be the best part (and it was!), so Al and I took off on a 2 mile hike through the woods.  We came across the abandoned Orleans mine, here I am with some old, rusted equipment.

Standing next to old, rusted mine equipment at the abandoned Orleans Mine

Standing next to old, rusted mine equipment at the abandoned Orleans Mine

And just a few yard along, we came across the abandoned Assay Office.

What's left of the Assay Office at the Abandoned Orleans Mine

What’s left of the Assay Office at the Abandoned Orleans Mine

The hike was on gravel paths and was almost totally shaded, and all the ground beside the trail was covered with wild peas.

Beautiful Flowering Wild Peas

Beautiful Flowering Wild Peas

Near the end of the hike, we came across the abandoned Pennsylvania mine.  Al took a short rest in the abandoned building.

Al resting at the abandoned Pensylvania Mine

Al resting at the abandoned Pennsylvania Mine

 

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About sunflowerswank

After working all of my life, I retired in June, 2011. I try to use my extra time to rest, exercise, paint my fingernails, play with my 9 cats, spend time with my husband, Al, and cook healthy and lower fat recipies for us to eat. I try to use as many fruits and vegetables in my menus as I can cram in, sometimes to the complaints of the hubs - LOL! I am also making over some of my old favorites to be heathier with more vegetables in them, and less fat.
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2 Responses to Day Trip to Empire Mine State Historic Park

  1. Al Dubuc says:

    Great day trip! …and the dinner afterwards in Grass Valley, Calamari Steak and Pinot Grigio fortified us for the 2 1/2 hour ride home!! We are going back next year, definitely!

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