We went to Sutter Gold Mine, up towards the hills of Amador County and Sutter Creek, here in the foothills of Sierra Nevada. It was quite a field trip for the kids and even hubby was quite impressed.
Being a miner is not a job for most people. Our tour guide was Charlie, about 5'6" or so, with this long gray beard halfway down his chest and long shaggy blond hair. I think he's about sixty but hubby says he could be younger. He looked so much like a typical miner, wizened and wrinkled but he was adorable.
We also found out that aside from being a historical mine, Sutter was still a working and very rich mine. During the tour down the depths, there were these huge streaks of quartz that carry the gold. Our guide pointed to some spots on the ceiling where you can see small nuggets of gold.
He says one way you can tell real gold from fool's gold (pyrites) is that real gold shines while pyrites sparkle when light is shown on them.
I was hoping to see some gold, red and yellow trees but the hillside was covered with evergreens. Darn!