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Middle Fork Trail Hike and Oxbow Powerhouse

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The North Fork of The Middle Fork trail is a short little hike right off Mosquito Ridge Road. It is so named because it parallels the North Fork of the Middle Fork of the American River. Because the Placer County Water Agency maintains a dam up-stream this part of the river should have flowing water virtually […]

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Brief history of engineered transportation tunnels

Tower Subway under the Thames River, interior of completed tunnel, 1887.

Tunnel Engineering – A Museum Treatment by Robert M. Vogel is a brief history of engineered transportation tunnels published in 1964. The booklet was part of series that accompanied scaled model displays illustrating the advances in tunneling primarily in the 19th century. The short thirty-six page bulletin focuses on how modern engineering design evolved as […]

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American River images before Folsom Lake

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Even before Folsom Lake Dam was built and the reservoir filled, the north fork of the American River was supplying water to communities, farms and ranches in south Placer and northeast Sacramento counties. I recently found aerial photography from 1952 showing a free flowing north and south fork of the American River. Finally, I can […]

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Birdsall Dam, Knickerbocker waterfalls hike at Auburn State Park

Bolts, rods, and plates of the Birdsall foundation have broken loose after a century in place.

Even in the midst of losing my water, grabbing onto poison oak bushes to maintain my balance, and enduring intermittent leg cramps, stumbling down to see the foundation of the historic Birdsall dam and Knickerbocker waterfalls still wasn’t the worst hike I’d taken. My mistake was thinking that I was smarter and stronger than the […]

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National watch and clock museum, time well spent

30 hour spring powered fuse shelf clock, National Association of Watch and Clock Collectors Museum.

Set in the heart of Pennsylvania’s early American clock making region, the National Association Watch and Clock Collectors museum in Columbia, Pennsylvania is worth a visit. Their collection spans from some of the earliest European and Asian clocks and watches to modern-day wrist watches and mystery clocks. They even have a wonderful display of the […]

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1865 map of California and the U.S. unfolded

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It was a political junket that inspired the 1865 map of the western United States and territories. In the summer of 1865 Samuel Bowles, editor of the Springfield Republican in Massachusetts, traveled across the territories of the United States to California with Speaker of the House of Representatives Schuyler Colfax. Specifically included on the map are the […]

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Searching for George Reppert’s grave site at Folsom Lake

Put a cross on it and it looks like a burial mound to me.

From the shoreline of Granite Bay Beach Park at Folsom Lake you can probably see where Mr. Reppert was buried in 1849 in an unmarked grave far away from home and family. The death and burial of this gold rush miner comes to us from a fellow traveler and miner who wrote about his experiences in the […]

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Granite Bay Golf Club uses recycled and spring water for irrigation

Matt Dillon discuss weed control in the Linda Creek pond with a contractor.

When it comes to water conservation in the face of our current 2014 drought situation, golf courses, with the numerous acres under irrigation, come under intense scrutiny. This is why I wanted to talk with my fellow San Juan Water District Drought Committee member Matt Dillon who is the Golf Course Superintendent at Granite Bay […]

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Anderson Island Bridge and Zantgraf Mine hike

Measuring suspension cable on Anderson Island by hand.

The east side of the north fork of the American River is challenging to hike because of the lack of accessibility and rugged terrain along the Folsom Lake. After I discovered the abutment for a bridge on the west side of the river, I had to get to Anderson Island on the other side. Not only was I able to find the suspension bridge cables, I found the ruins of Zantgraf mine which is fairly well preserved.

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Riding and Hiking the North Fork Ditch at Folsom Lake

Biking on, over and around the North Fork Ditch, Folsom Lake, American River

The low water levels of Folsom Lake in this drought year of 2014 offer unprecedented opportunities for hiking and biking around usually water-logged historical sites. The fully exposed North Fork Ditch offers a relatively flat trail for mountain biking from Beeks Bight up to Horseshoe Bar. At certain locations, you’ll need to park the bike […]