Sunday, March 9, 2014

El Dorado Emeralds

When I was a kid and a young adult, I did a lot of hiking and backpacking.  I loved hiking; backpacking not so much.  I wasn't really into the whole "climb every mountain" with 40 lbs on your back, no showers and freeze dried food experience.  Hiking would easily take the prize as my favorite thing to do on a date.  Brett and I were very compatible on that front.  But we have gotten older; his knees and my feet don't handle hiking so for the past ten years or so we have limited out forays into the mountains to horseback.

But, now we live in El Dorado county in the pine studded Sierra Nevada mountains with trails everywhere.  And I don't have a trail horse.  My trusty steed, Winston, is at reform school.  After being tossed onto the trail and riding out some bucking tantrums I'm not particularly anxious to take him out into the wilderness again.  I invested in a good pair of hiking shoes and some sole inserts for added cushion and support.  I'm ready to venture out.

Yesterday, our neighbor Patty took me on a trail up off of the Georgetown Divide.  We started by a stream, rushing over rocks and swelling the banks after the recent rain.

We followed it for awhile, until it ended at some pools lined with mossy rock.

We retraced our steps to where the trail led up the mountain, past soap weed (the root, a bulb, was used by Native Americans to counteract the effects of poison oak).

I scrambled over loose rocks and boulders, until we reached the top.  The trail made a gentle descent on the other side, under spruce and pine, until we again reached the stream.  The water was too high to cross; the stepping stone rocks were submerged and my boots are not waterproof.

On the way back to the car, Patty told me about the rocks in the area.  They are green and were mined around the turn of the century for jewelry -- sold to Tiffany's even.  The stone has a formal name, of course, but its common name is El Dorado emerald.

I knew about the gold in these mountains; I had no idea we also had "emeralds."


  1. Oh I so would have enjoyed this hike and to find El Dorado emerald is the greatest prize:) Awesome shots. Hug B

  2. What a gorgeous hike. Glad you got out to take advantage. :D

  3. What a fun hike. At first I thought you were on horseback. Silly me.


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