James Richmond's
California Story

Mining at Kanaka Creek Part 1

That was not my only experience in the Sierras. My first mining experience began in the Sierras. I had worked at ranching until I had saved five hundred dollars. I then made up my mind to invest in a claim and go mining.

I bought in at Allegheny town and worked one year, good hard work and at the end of the year found myself three hundred dollars in debt for provisions. I decided I would pull up stakes and start for Kanakak Creek. Many are the Memories clustered around old Kanakak Creek. In summer a tiny, purring stream, in winter a rushing, roaring giant. Often rising twenty feet in an hour. Then is the time for the gold miner to get out of the way, no gold digging in the creek beds then. I then started for the head of the creek, crevice hunting. I poked that old crevice spoon in many a rocky nook and cranny along that creek. Sometimes I found a few flakes of gold and sometimes nothing, but always peeping and squinting into hidden places. I was getting to feel discouraged thinking of that debt behind me. A miner always pays his grub debt. If he went broke he tried a new field and when he made a new find he always went back and paid up.

As I said I was getting quite discouraged. I sat down on a big boulder to rest. I began idly picking away at a small crevice. I saw a faint gleam of gold. Kept picking away, a little more show of gold running back as far as the eye could see. It was so firmly embedded in the rock, that neither spoon nor hammer could make an impression. I gazed at it with heartfelt delight. I would go back, get blasting material and see what that would do, never doubting but what my fortune was made.

With a light heart I trudged back some forty miles, procuring my supply, located my claim and then made my way back. I found all as I had left it. My Golden vein still glittering in the sun undisturbed.

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I at last became excited and went to work in earnest. My excitement lasted just eight hours and in that time I had taken out just eight hundred dollars. I did not stop to eat or drink, or sleep until I saw the bottom of that pocket. One of Dame Nature’s gold lines. When I had finished I concluded I had all I wanted to carry. I would go back and pay my debts and then make a fresh start.

USGS Map Kanaka Creek

Kanaka Creek, the famous Blue Lead, and Forest City