Sunday, January 25, 2015

BLACK DIAMOND MINES REGIONAL PRESERVE

The first people to inhabit this area were the Miwoks.  Sadly, later their way of life was changed by the arrival of Spanish, Mexican, and American Settlers.  From the 1850s to the early 1900s, coal mining towns sprung up.  Nearly 4 million tons of coal were mined.  You can still see the mine shafts and actually take an amazing tour of one of the mines (except for December and January).  In the 1920s, underground sand mining began which supplied sand to the Hazel-Atlas Glass Company in Oakland and the Columbia Steel Works in Pittsburg. 
This is truly an amazing place with a true feeling of the past. 
This is an old mine shaft.  This mine went down 750 feet. The whole thing with the dead branches and the caved in shaft reminded us of a Steven King novel.
 Rose Hill Cemetery still remains  and is well maintained by the park.  To walk thru, you can see how many children died during that time and how many mother's died young.  Truly hard times for everyone during that period.
We did not expect to climb so many hills but we made it!  7.5 miles and my legs truly felt it!
The views were awe inspiring and the chaparral was so beautiful!  I hope to go back in February for a guided tour when the chaparral are bearing their berries.  They were flowering on this hike.
 
  The hike lead us thru all kinds of different terrain.  Both shale and sandstone exist here along with the feeling that the souls of  all the people that lived and worked the mines are still here.
We didn't see any critters this time but I did see bobcat tracks and scat so they were up there somewhere.  We were treated to some rock art or a message of some kind.  Not sure
  
This was a wonderful hike.  Just took dried apricots with us this time but they were a very welcomed treat when we stopped to rest.  So much more of this park to explore but we truly felt we had achieved something after this hike because we finally tackled the steep hills and did not break down and give up.  Onward to the next hike next weekend at Alum Rock in San Jose.
 
 

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