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For our trip to Malakoff Diggins, one of the largest and most environmentally devastated hydraulic mining sites in California from the 19th century, we stayed in two wooden cabins in the picturesque mining town of North Bloomfield. The troop was split into two crews, one per cabin. After panning for gold in nearby Humbug Creek (humbug, because there's not much gold remaining), we cooked, played cards, and bedded down in warm, dry circumstances, and kept the cabins toasty by feeding the bellies of their cast-iron stoves. The rains came at night, but no matter. The dinner in one cabin included chile over piping hot corn bread from the Dutch Oven. It was one of the best meals the troop has ever cooked up (in the memories of some adults who were present).

The next morning, Sunday, we broke camp and visited the Diggins themselves, in awe of the barren moonscape carved out of the western Sierra by the giant water hoses of the past. Next, we drove on down to Nevada City and toured the famous Enterprise Mine, one of California's oldest and biggest - now a museum. Though a long drive, the troop had a good outing.

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