Last summer I was visiting friends in Chico and we decided to go for a short hike. We drove out to Table Mountain a little south east of Chico past Butte College. Though I had gone to Chico State I had never been to Table Mountain; busy doing other things I s’pose. Once we turned off of Durham-Pentz highway onto Cherokee Rd. I became a little kid. There was so much to see; I kept whipping my head around, “Whoa! What’s that?!…What the….? Holy…!”
Apparently I was enamored with the scenery my friend who I’ve known since 6th grade said, “Geeze, it’s like having a dog in the car; you’re so excited.”
Couldn’t help it.
One of the things nestled in a little hollow was a camping trailer motel! Shortly after that was a covered bridge, and around one corner was a former mining town called Cherokee.
I remember thinking, “Cherokee? WTF? There weren’t any Cherokee in California…” Apparently gold was discovered here by Spanish explorers in 1818. In 1849 some Cherokee from Oklahoma came out and started mining here, and were followed a year later by some Welsh miners who named the settlement for the Cherokee in the area. What’s more Thomas Edison owned one of the mines in the area, and the hydraulic mining method used in the mines was significant enough to pique the curiosity of Rutherford B. Hayes, William Tecumseh Sherman, and John Bidwell. All that remains of the settlement, that I could see on our brief stop, are a closed store, a rail car (what former mining town would be compete without a caboose?), and a crumbling bank.
I was reminded of the hundreds of times I’ve passed historical markers and thought, “Gee, I wonder what that is?” That thought is the impetus behind my desire to adventure around California. Growing up in this amazing place I often take for granted it’s wonders. “Meh, I’ll go there sometime, it’s not going anywhere,” was the mantra that kept me from Alcatraz until 5 years ago. I’ve put off this adventure too long, and missed too many awesome things like this…
and our final destination that day…Table Mountain: