Pikes Peak or Bust
The cry of the 59'ers resonated across the country when gold was discovered in the Kansas Territory in 1859, ten years following the California Gold Rush of 1849.
George A. Jackson's discovery along Chicago Creek is today Idaho Springs and Green Russell's found his pot of gold near the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, near Denver Colorado.
Today, Cache Creek, little more than a bump in the road, was once one of the largest placer gold mining operations in the state. Located west of the town of Granite Colorado, in Northern Chaffee County, Cache Creek operated from 1860 to 1911. It became the first settlement of note in the upper Arkansas Valley. Three hundred people settled along the creek that first year. The following year, the population of gold hungry miners increased to over 3000!
Have not been able to located actual pictures of Cache Creek at this time. This is an excellent example how placer mining was conducted on Cache Creek.
Small independent placer mining first took place along Cache Creek from 1860 to 1863. Significant increases in production took place in 1884 with the introduction of “booming” and again in 1889 when hydraulic placer mining was introduced. The water was diverted from Lake Creek to Cache Creek by a 16 mile long Cache Creek Ditch. Nearly $3,000,000 in gold is reported to have been produced from the placers. These operations continued until 1911 when the entire operation was shut down in one of Colorado’s first environmental lawsuits.
I wonder if the miners who spent most of their time with bent backs and standing in ice cold water looking for those elusive nuggets ever took the time to stop and appreciate the natural beauty that surrounded them.
The Earth Is Pure Muck!
Since major mining operations ended, a slow and natural recovery of the Cache Creek area began. The Bureau of Land Management recently acquired the land that includes Cache Creek.
This acquisition was made primarily for wildlife habitat and open space but it is also recognized for its significant mining history. The Cache Creek Area has been of interest to the small scale placer mining community because placer gold was left behind when major operations were shut down in 1911.
And Mucks A Good Thing
The country is rugged but not so rugged we could not carry our pans, sluice, metal detector, back packs etc in a short bit until we found the creek and set up operations.
The Best Things in Life Are Dirty!
My operations consisted more of rock hunting and fish watching than gold panning. Also getting myself lost at least a couple of times, not realizing I was only a few yards away. Note to self, this usually happens and I need to figure out something else when I decide to wander off so I really don't get lost!