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Our Adventures Up In Gold Country California - April 13th 2019


Our Adventures Up In Gold Country California - April 13th 2019

Every year I try to make my way into gold country in a sense its magical and I always feel like a boy when I explore the sierra foothills. With all the small little historic towns, grassy meadows, caves and other fun things to do it sort of lures you on in. Which is why I continue to work with this region of California a couple times a year.

I use to live in gold country as a matter in fact some of the locations we adventured at were places I either passed through or did not know even existed. As an urban explorer and paranormal investigator every time I think I seen it all or found everything I realize their is always more. In this case we would work with the semi ghost town of Sheep Ranch, Mercer Caverns, Buena Vista Cemetery and the semi ghost town of Douglas Flat. In between a few other bonus sites will be bringing our viewers in the future.

With Easter just a week away I wanted to put together a wholesome project and yes the rabbit ears stayed on nearly the entire day. My family probably is not as enthused as I am to wear them but then again twenty years we been doing this so it is tradition and I like the culture we bring to the public. Some locations we went are haunted others not so much but the nice thing about The Paranormal & Ghost Society is we bring our viewers a wide range of diversity.

We would be working with locations just outside of Angels Camp which is one of my more favorite towns the lower sierra foothills. These small towns have mining history but today they rely on tourism and there historical sites of interest. But its a beautiful area and even if its cold, snowing and no flowers are going here you can bank on Angels Camp having an entirely different climate then to our own.

I was looking forward to this trip we did have other locations on the menu but we simply ran out of daylight and time. I always put together fun projects but we also work hard to visit and explore these places. While it might be fun some amount of work does go into paranormal investigating and exploring these locations.

We would start off our morning trying to cross the pass. Anytime you want to visit the Sierra Foothills from Nevada you have to cross the High Sierras which is about 80 miles of relentless mountains, dangerous curves, snow etc. We had gotten some snow in the passes recently so the pass I needed to cross was closed and I had to take another one which put on an extra hour perhaps 40 more miles of driving. You just never know with these mountains they still in April are getting snow flurries.

I nearly drove into Jackson a town I use to live then made a turn off down a rural road which took me nearly twenty miles through the foothills. I did not want to take the back way into Sheep Ranch because its very time consuming. Gold Country has allot of twisted, windy and treacherous roads along steep dropoffs so it would take us a bit of time to get up to this once known abandoned town. But the ride was nice we seen a few turkeys, deer and everything right now is just so green!

Sheep Ranch California

What drew me to this place was a news article other then that I would have never even known the place existed. Their are many little towns in the foothills of the Sierras on the Cali side just like this. Where they once were booming towns with active mines and today they fall quite short of their former glory. But still Sheep Ranch has many goodies to see if you like wild western heritage.

Our first stop would be downtown at a three way stop. This is the heart or was of the town at the time. Today most of the old sites like homes are long gone but if you stand at the intersection there is a plaque which gives you a basic run down of the town. Behind the plaque is this brick structure maybe a vault of some kind or milk house and behind that is this old big wooden barn.

I wanted to go here because this is one of the very few open sheep ranges in California but when I arrived I was disappointed because I did not see any. Well on someone's front lawn was a few sheep but they were fenced in not roaming free. I have seen photos of sheep on the road up here but if they were around they were not in downtown Sheep Ranch for sure!

Not far from the plaque is the old general store its just a wood structure with a boardwalk residing on a stone foundation or rather porch in the front. There is an old coca cola sign out front and gas pump as well. At one time the store did provide gas and food for the locals today though its locked up and preserved. You can peer into the windows still see the old wood floors, furniture and quite a few relics of the past preserved from the stores original hey day. Honestly, the store could pose as a museum considering how well preserved it is.

Between the barn and the store on a hill side is also a small foundation. Maybe it is what is left of the mill that once use to reside here. The mill would process the ore taken out of the local mines. Nearly any town in the west that had a mine generally had a mill to crush and process the ore.

Across from the general store is Cooper Corral which is this two to three story wood structure with a corral to the left of it. I am not sure if this is some kind of business or the owners bought the place and now live there. A hundred feet down the road are a few old miner cabins fully restored people now live in them and if you look out back there is an old outhouse. Such wooden structures are original to the town so they are important to have a gander at.

Their was this lady running down the street behind me barefoot in her nightgown. At first I was like hey everyone check out the zombie joking lol. That is how she looked like she was walking like she was in an episode of the Walking Dead lol. Just down the road from that many of the locals were hanging out on one of the porches of a residence. The town has around 32 folks id say half of them were on that porch just staring at me as I drove by slowly kind of creepy if you ask me.

If you ask me I always feel as if I do not belong when I visit these small towns but at the same time if it were not for guys like me exploring these places nobody would know about these places and historic gems. This is a beautiful little town grass everywhere, large trees, flowers growing near the roads etc. I was working my way down Main Street which dead ends at the old Pioneer Hotel and Saloon.

The town boasted a school, two hotels, fifteen saloons, two churches, gold mine, stores and post office. Today only the Pioneer still stands. I was going to go have a beer here then I seen posted everywhere that this is private property. I was a bit disappointed I love visited and drinking ale as these old establishments. Maybe you have to have reservations in order to visit here hard telling. I walked around the hotel but I did not go inside just because of the signs. But a few years ago people were going to drink here so perhaps it changed owners or purpose.

Their is a plaque with a pickaxe and gold pan above it which talks about the Sheep Ranch Mine. Next to the hotel is a private road going up into the woods up this hill so that probably was where the mine was at the time. Id love to check it out but did not want to deal with any crazies since today the old mine road is on private property. The gold mine was the bread winner of the town today more or less Sheepranch is more of farming community.Near a fence by this road is an old ore cart wagon wheel so just another symbol of this mining community.

The hotel was gorgeous it has wrap around porches upstairs and downstairs. I read there is a saloon inside and I did seen photos of the parlor with the fireplace. But its possible someone now lives here and made it into more of a home then anything. I could be wrong there was five vehicles parked inside the gated area so maybe some guest were staying here. These little towns thrive on tourism without it most towns would be completely abandoned up in gold country.

Across from the old hotel is an old white wooden cabin its hard to know what this was but I believe it may have belonged to a miner at the time. Miners lived simple lives often in small one to two bedroom wooden cabins. They would work hard in the mines 12 hours a day and often come home to there cabin to bunk down for the night. Life was difficult yet simple when it came to living. Perhaps the super intendment lived here at one time.

Near the cabin and hotel is also an old wooden carport or garage made to hold four vehicles. There are no doors on the front of it its all fairly wide open. Their was a couple old vintage vehicles inside that I checked out. If they were restored I could see them in a classic cars show but instead they are just rusting away falling apart left to the elements. To the right of the garage is a road which apparently may go to a private residence since a mailbox is nearby. I would love to see if the mine still exist here but more then likely this sits on a private residence today.

There is this road that also loops around downtown which takes you past some old wood cabins and homes. Most of the homes have a corral or two so if you drive down it you will see horses grazing. But again not many sheep as the town is known for. Their are quite a few old outbuildings and barns along the way closer to be original to the early days of the town. Supposedly their is a school house which today is a private residence. I spent sometime looking for it not sure I even found it but they said it was a red structure and there is a red house on the edge of town. Years ago it was abandoned not so much today though.

I also found this old wooden homestead no windows or doors but its a fairly decent sized home. Its on private property but still a really creepy house all abandoned and falling apart. I mean honestly if your willing to hike or drive around your going to find some old original remnants of the town. I have a feeling more is meant to be seen but many of the residents have turned this ghost town site into a residential area so on these small farms are remnants of what was.

There is this road also on the back side of town which traverses some bigger older farms that I took. I found a few more miner cabins but I also found this really old structure. I am not even sure if it was a ranch house, mill, an old business or hotel. But its this very long wooden building with a bunch of old rusty and historical artifacts all over the porch. The porch also had wagon wheels, trunks, old wooden chairs and other things hanging on up. Next to that was a barn, old iron stove and tiller from back in the day.

Next door to this structure was another property it kind of was set up like an old junk yard. Lots of vehicles, parties and even some shack. But at the entrance to the property their was all sorts of old artifacts I guess this person collected or preserved. When I say artifacts I mean cogs, mining relics, rusty machinery, wagon wheels, mine cart parts, farming tools etc. Their had to be over 30 pieces of rusty relics sitting at the driveway to this property out front by the road. I mean when you think about it not much remains of the old town but scattered relics and a few wood structures. Its what gives the town character more or less!

This road seems to have some old structures, barns, relics of the past and if you pay attention original corrals which probably at one time were designed to sustain livestock for the miners. Many of the miners had sheep you could utilize the wool but others had cattle for beef and milk as well as chickens for the eggs etc. More or less what I learned from this exploration is Sheep Ranch was equally a farming and mining community. But an old one very few know about because it resides deep in the sierra foothills with nothing in between so its sort of off on its own.

The town is not very big maybe five or six roads you can take and if you go slow you will see things that are historic perhaps preserved thanks to local residents. I read somewhere the Butte fire nearly burned it down a few years ago it came about a quarter mile away from burning down this entire semi ghost town and honestly most structures here are very old and made with very dry wood so yeah fire is this places worst enemy at least that is what I believe.

Although it is very lush here one of the old historic ranches had an orchard lots of greenery and foliage throughout Sheep Ranch its really a white picket fence type of town to live in. Lots of meadows, flowers growing, big trees, rolling hills, historic homes, horses in corrals etc love this place. Some residents waved to me asked if I was lost maybe they are not use to explorers but the truth is this is an old place discovered shortly after the gold rush and I did this project to educate others because not many folks know about the more remote hidden gold rush towns which still today do exist but remain a bit forgotten by the outside world!

I also found an old water tower or reservoir that was on in some field, stone wall and downtown there is an old brick building which I guess is the community center? Its hard to know because 35 people live here and I could count over twenty residents just hanging out on Main Street talking, planting flowers etc I do pay attention to the places we go because I want to experience these locations like I belong here and to me ghost towning is a second home as a researcher. I do not have to spend all day exploring some old town but I want people to learn about the history to these locations and to expand their horizons.

The last location in Sheep Ranch id spend time at was the old cemetery which is a bit more rural with a few smaller farms surrounding it. Its so green here the grass was a bit tall and there are many old trees. The entire cemetery is heavily shaded I love it! But their are many open areas where no graves are found and I read their are dozens of unknown or unmarked graves here. Most of the people buried here were early miners and ranchers who came to this town to make lives for themselves.

The cemetery was not anything fancy these were not wealthy people quite a few flat stones and a couple basic gravestones. I seen a few newer burials to so its still in use but many of the stones are cracked, broken or just worn down from the elements here. There was a few stones hidden in some ivy towards the very back of the cemetery. One gravesite had a bunch of old trinkets, mining tools, ore, minerals and had a rock as a memorial. More then likely he was probably a miner buried here.

My son went across the road in the woods to take a leak he came running back saying dad I heard something big walking around and snapping twigs. So I grabbed my gear hiked up to this pond and creek did not find any tracks. Actually I heard nothing but then I climbed this steep hill to some water tank above the pond and that is when I heard a crashing sound followed by grunt. I listened carefully and it turned out there was a cow in the woods not sure how it got there or why it was there. But this is an open range for sheep so why not cattle too or even horses? But you could hear the cow moving around making noises and the forest was so thick I could not even find the dang thing but he was near that pond right below the hill. Still we had to investigate you never know the lower sierras are dense like a jungle and bigfoot is found up here lots of caves for a creature like this to reside in and come out for food or water.

I did find out by the pond an old wooden structure thought that was a cool find again exploring really pays off. I have a feeling the woods around here probably conceal quite a bit but again most of the town is private property. Years ago the entire town almost became abandoned but people are moving up here buying up these old sites and fixing them up. The cemetery does need work like I say grass is tall, many of the slabs are cracked or broke. I seen one gravestone laying up against a tree and another one broke. Maybe a tree limb caused it during wind storm then again many old gold rush cemeteries like this one often face human threats.

One of the walls to a family plot had a children's hand prints in it. You tend to see quite a few kids buried in places like this that is because epidemics would sweep through town killing the elderly and young. It had to be hard to live in a place like this if your child got sick chances are that was the end because they did not have cures for such sicknesses back in the day so yes you will see children buried up here some only a few years old. A few plots are lined with big rocks one metal enclosure has no grave in it.

Overall the cemetery was a nice finish to exploring this semi ghost town. Its nothing fancy but the old wood post around it are very old. It does not even have a sign and if you study the post near the gate there is dozens of holes filled with acorns that squirrels have stowed away for the winter. The flag needs to be replaced at the entrance to its torn to shreds. But other then that what a quaint beautiful place with ivy, trees, purple flowers and graves of some the towns founding fathers who came here to make better lives for themselves.

I love Sheep Ranch its hard to believe I past by this place so many times and never even knew about it till recently. Then again its a really remote place no grocery stores, gas stations or even businesses nearby. Its a little town in the forest of the lower sierras with the creek winding through the woods, cemetery up the hill, downtown full of old houses etc. I know their is much more to see whether we can ever see or get to it is another story. But many of the old structures here are haunting and if those walls could talk!

I also seen a house with a hundred hub caps hanging off the fence not sure if someone collects them or if those are from abandoned vehicles but a black dog begin to chase my vehicle that was guarding its driveway. You tend to see quite a few beat up old vehicles out on small farms and beat up shacks. I remember seeing a property with a stream liner and a cement mixer with what appears to be some old relics of the past surrounding it. It kind of seems to me like some people left the property as it was back in the day at least that is what I get and some of the miner cabins have never changed they still look the same with a frying pan hanging up on a wall or a lantern on the porch its pretty awesome.

But we would eventually have to move on wish I had more time here but I seen quite a bit and we would move onto Mercer Caverns which would be really awesome considering how warm it was getting we could cool down a bit in the underground.

Mercer Caverns

Honestly I have spent a decade wanting to visit these caverns. Their are a few cave systems in the area then I slowly been knocking off. Over a year ago we did Black Chasm Caverns this time Mercer but their is also Moaning Caverns and the Cave City complex known as Mammoth Caverns. Most of these cave systems connect to one another but they remain largely unexplored and the laws prohibit any further excavating to protect the formations therefore these caverns are at a stand still even Mercer.

I read about Mercer years ago was not sure when id get to visit here. I mean I use to live near Mercer but I never really thought about hiring a guide to take me through it. This is a weird cavern because really its just a sixteen story chasm that keeps going down down down. Their are not many tunnels or even giant rooms more or less but as you go down into the caverns you have ledges that drop off into different rooms below.

Every time I go to a place like this I always get a magnet for my fridge lately I got quite the collection of magnets from sites like these I ventured into. I always been fascinated with caves they are good places to investigate the paranormal. In this case when Mercer was discovered they found a male, female and bodies of two children. Natives that were hundreds of years old and it appears they were sealed or entombed here so it is an ancient site. Although not as many bodies were found here as with Moaning Cavern where countless natives fell to their deaths.

Mercer is a beautiful place up in the foothills of the sierras, woods and nature surrounding this place. When you pull up your greeted with a big sign also near it is some old foundation. I mean they been giving people tours in the 1800's here so the place has been around for awhile visited by thousands per year.

They have a nice visitors center, a plaque outside with a painting of the caverns nearby. Their is an area that kids can mine for gems or gold pan if you have little ones. My son rather step into the river and gold pan so its not for him but for kids its perfect. Their is a few old wood buildings on site maybe the residence of the original founder of the cave. Behind that house is a set of stone stairs that go up to this wall and then they end not sure what that is about.

In the courtyard they have this terminal where you can sit in the shade on a bench. I guess that is for bigger tours. Honestly, I do not understand how they can give big tours the stairs are very steep and narrow. If you fell down any of the steps here you could break your neck even die. I do not want to scare anyone but I coach and play basketball have my own team. So I spent the day before practicing really hard for five hours so my knee was so weak and hurting boy did I not realize what I got myself into. Especially when the guide told me its 208 steps to the bottom and 232 to the top as you go out this cave a different way then you came in.

Before I descended my son and I found this Bigfoot for governor souvenir which I almost bought lol. I was filming a documentary and the guide came up to me to correct me on something I said. I enjoy talking to the guides because they have info on the cave you wont find online period! So he would take me to the bottom of the cave system along with a couple other folks it was a very small group of us. As a matter in fact I got to lead the entire cave expedition to the bottom while the guide stayed behind me weird huh? Talk about a rough journey was not sure I could even do this because my knee was so swollen.

I accidentally got into trouble because every time you take a set of stairs down you enter a cavern. Well there was this small area with concrete and I leaned against the wall with my arm to let everyone else stand in the area. Just word of advice try not to touch anything lol but it happens. I often need support when standing because of my medical conditions. Those stairs will kill you trust me so you do have to be in okay shape.

Sometimes you will take about 15 stairs down and you have to squeeze or duck under some of the caverns opening and ceilings. But each cavern you go into has cave bacon, soda straws and some pretty nice formations. None of the formations really stand out I mean Black Chasm has many larger more beautiful ones but still the cavern is very intriguing because it just keeps going down room to room. You may take a couple sets of stairs then walk along a platform then go down another set into another room but the entire time on the tour you are descending!

When you reach the very bottom there is a big platform and if you look there is this hole that goes down into another room/cavern below. I asked the guide about it and he told me that if you go down into the next room there is a crevice but its to narrow for anyone to fit. But they know for a fact that the cavern continues to descend. So its possible that the caverns continue to go down for hundreds of more feet and who knows they may even branch out underground connecting to various cave systems. He told me that he believes that Moaning Cavern and Mercer do at some point meet underground. There is hundreds of miles of caves in this region and probably many other exits where these bigfoot like creatures may utilize.

He told me near this cave in the canyon nearby is a tomb with hundreds of mummies and skeletons wrapped up in cloth. Because I did want to touch on the fact that there were bodies discovered in Mercer hundreds of years old. He told me there is a narrow by cave which probably again connects with Mercer that was used to entomb hundreds of natives and it is a secret burial site. I would love to see or find it maybe get past the remains and see if that cave system crosses into any of the other systems in this area.

These caves are some of the finest systems in the world but they are barely explored even 120 years later they have never enlarged that crevice to explore it further due to laws. Its to bad they cant bore a hole where the crevice is so they can continue to explore other caverns below because its obvious that the crevice leads into another room. Its quite possible this cave can go for hundreds of more feet all the way up to hundreds of miles all under California.

It was 232 steps back up to the top the path splits so you come out a different way which confused me when I was done with the exploration and I came out across from where I first went in. You would never even know it because down here it starts to look the same more steps, more formations and more darkness below as above when you look on up.

I have always had a fascination with caves we know so very little about them because most of the caves we explored still remain unexplored like with Mercer. They tried to go deeper but the crevice at the bottom is very narrow but it does keep going down into another cavern and there are probably even more ledges, drop offs etc etc. I cannot understand why in the name of science that the crevice cant just be enlarged a foot bigger carefully so that they can further explore this place. Their could be dozens of other entrances in foothills where these bigfoot like creatures live nobody would know its some unforgiving wilderness and their are places in these hills nobody has ever been too trust me its very remote.

Based on the fact that many of the formations were very similar to Black Chasm and other caves in the area I have to assume that its quite possible that all of them are connected and in reality this is all just one giant cave system spanning tens of miles under the foothills of the sierras. That is my theory based on doing some exploring and research here. It is factual that this cave does come out on some cliffs nearby in a canyon near Murphy's more then likely its part of the same system. Which means there probably are many other entrances that have not been discovered in the region.

This was not an easy trek believe me with serious knee issues, ankle problems etc the stairs up and down are challenging. There are rocks that hang real low and you have to move past them or under them while trying to go up and down the stairs. Its not easy to do when your tall like me and one must even wonder if the cavern is haunted. I mean unlike Moaning not as many skeletons been found here but that does not mean there are not ghost here. I am sure this is a really creepy place when your alone and its founder in the 1800's fell becoming paralyzed inside because he bounced off one ledge to the next.

The guide flew down the stairs I seen him grab both railings and slide 20' like it was nothing. Not sure this is a good place to horseplay but it is a good place to check out a cavern which descends downward rather then outward which makes it a very unique cave system to visit. I been to many caves but this place reminded me more of a mine shaft with its ledges, levels and massive caverns going down every so many feet. Basically you have holes at the top of each chamber where the stairwell locks into so you can descend.

The cave also stays around 58 degrees inside I believe so it was nice being down in there. Once we came out it was really warm out. Id rather be in the cave not much into hot days and to much bright sun. We did not stay long here but we did get a couple magnets which goes towards the cave site and to keep the place running. Just down the road from this place is Buena Vista Cemetery and the old Murphy's Grammar School which would be next on our list of explorations.

Buena Vista Cemetery aka Murphy's Historic Cemetery

This is a pretty little cemetery lots of little trails, woods and nature here. On any given day you may see deer or even turkeys running around. But it was the afternoon so wildlife is less prevalent this time of day but no less for me to take a friendly stroll in a cemetery like this is a blessing. I do not put pressure or expectations on my paranormal work. I will visit these locations take a few readings, photos and EVP's if I get something I get something but you cant force it either.

When you pull up to the cemetery there are these giant stone pillars and wrought iron gate. It appears to be the only entrance but you take this roads which ascends to nearly the top of the hill. To your left you will also pass a small Order Of Oddfellows Cemetery which has been integrated into Buena Vista.

Once you get to the top of the hill it levels off this is a nice place woodsy hills off in the distance. Hundreds of old stones some dating back to the 1850's when the cemetery begin. Some of the graves were moved here from some abandoned cemetery where some epidemic occurred up here. You have to understand that many of the people buried in Murphy's were ranchers and miners. They came here during the gold rush spent time up here and lived out their lives. Most found here died young and somewhat tragically in a sense.

There is quite a few graves that are tiered as I noticed their are walls and lots of concrete slabs with memorials built on top of them. The Oddfellows Cemetery is not as elaborate as I thought. Most of the fraternal groups invested plenty of money in their grave sites. It just seems like most of the graves found here lack the Oddfellows symbol kind of like the Masons have their own symbol as well.

Most of the graves are granite and marble hell as a matter in fact they are very simple. While there may be a gate and stone wall where you enter towards the right side of the cemetery it begins to blend with all the other graves of Buena Vista so its a big strange while the fence does not come around all the way. Then to the left of the cemetery if you walk down a hill you will find a bunch of newer gravestones.

The oldest gravesites here date back to around the 1870's the cemetery is very shaded and its real serene back here. Their is quite a few smaller angel statues here as a matter in fact one grave said southern planters on it and had a rebel flag on the front of it. I also found out that many of the historic graves are mixed in with newer interments so its a bit strange because most cemeteries in this region separate the two.

Their was a few wrought iron enclosures but not many the cemetery is in good shape but I seen a few vandalized stones to. Their is towards the back a giant wooden cross as well about 15 feet height. Plenty of walls and strange graves also. You can spend hours just walking around here its a decent sized cemetery. I also did some bird watching here and seen plenty of flowers. Up here in the foothills it might be like Spring but where I came from a couple hours away we still were dealing with winter weather.

From what I did research on the cemetery recently went through renovations to make it nicer. I mean it was probably overgrown prior to this because the cemetery is full of trees, shrubs, grass, hills etc. Its a really nice park like setting of a place. These old gold rush town cemeteries are gems when it comes to beauty.Most of them are very historic, full of nature and remote. I really enjoyed some downtime here especially after descending down into the depths of Mercer Caverns nearby.

Next door to the cemetery is the old Murphy's Grammar Schoolhouse and trust me its a beaut. It was built in 1860 and is the second oldest building in California. That is what the plaque says however its not accurate although it may be the second oldest schoolhouse or grammar school in Cali their are many older structures like the ones built up in Coloma where gold was discovered so I do remain skeptical of the history of this location.

This school house has a bell at the entrance above the door, big long windows and its in really great shape. I did look inside their is two rooms plus a kitchen inside. The front classroom is the largest and the inside has been completely restored. The flooring is all shiny hard wood and their is a chalk board hanging up on the wall. Their is a flag pole with two plaques outside also and next to it is the road that goes into the cemetery. Their is an old photo of the school house also available hanging up.

I did get to walk around the school looking in the windows but the second classroom I forgot to photograph it I get sidetracked taking readings sometimes. Their is a fence with picnic benches blocking the other side of the school house which is probably why I did not get to look in the other classroom. I guess I could have hopped the gate I mean I tend to do that most of the time anyhow but I was so excited just seeing this place. Most of the wild western churches and schools are long gone especially from the gold rush era.

We would end up going to our last location it had to be the last it was getting late. Sadly I had a few more places to visit but these explorations take time especially to get what we came for so we moved onto Douglas Flat California.

Douglas Flat California

We would make our way to a place called Coyote Creek to the semi ghost town of Douglas Flat. To be honest with you I wish I did not go here after the crap I had to deal with but its a solid historical town if your looking for early wild western heritage. The town sprang up along the creek I was not able to find it spent an hour driving around so definitely have to go back in a month or two or maybe this Fall just so I can see the creek if its not to low.

The town begin around 1851 as a gold mining camp prior to that the Miwoks had a village in this valley actually near the creek and some local springs. But the camp had a church, post office, school, distilleries, flour mill, black smith, general stores and around ten saloons. All sorts of emigrants came here and the Indians were forced off the land. Because the creek flows through the area the land is fertile so once the mining stopped it transitioned into small town ranching which still transpires today up here.

Its not uncommon to see horses grazing, fruit trees and well remnants of the town which is very very minimal btw. I mean the Italian Store still stands and a few older homes along with the school. But so very little remains because the town is growing but being consumed by modernization. But I have an addiction to visiting these old mining towns in the west even if the mining is long gone you can still find gems like wagon wheels, foundations, structures and other relics of the past.

 The first site I stopped at was a pile of cattle skulls on top of an old mining cog very weird and it greeted us when I rolled onto Main Street which is the old part of town. Their was a few small bars and older homes on the street but quite a few newer homes too. You can see that this old town was being erased from history.

Their is an old school house its down a private road I went to it anyhow yeah I trespassed I had to see it. The school house is the oldest school house in Calaveras County. Nobody uses it really anymore sometimes it is used as a community center for small town events but it sits pretty much vacant down a dirt road where the oldest part of town today remains.

Their are three things in this town to check out historically which is the school, old Italian store aka Galiardo's building and of course the Milfiori house. The house and the small farm reside behind the Italian Store then adjacent to that is the school all within a short walking distance. Today the Milfiori house is a vacation rental if I would have known that id explored the property more in depth because you can access it from the back side not the locked gate in the front but I was not sure.

The locals are a big nosy with there little yappety dogs barking so I did not hang around this area for to long. Just long enough to look in the windows of this little wooden school house. There was an old organ, wood furniture, podium, picture of George Washington, a bed yes a bed not sure why a mattress was inside, chairs, tables and bulletin boards with cork on them. There is a new addition in the back which may be a back office or something who knows but you cant see inside of it.

If you walk around the school on the one side is an outhouse and a few old wooden cabins. They are original to the town and of course the Milfiori Barn is also back here and its creepy. I did not go in then again I did not see the front end of the cabins.. But you can see a series of old structures from the back side all may be part of the old farm or old town such as the blacksmith or a miners cabin. If you rent the restored Malfiori Home the barn resides behind it and to the right a bunch of old wooden structures. You just rent the home take the walkway up and its all right there. But also in the back of the school you can access it also and I walked up to some downed fence snagged a photo of the barn but if I go back ill try to explore it a little more and get better photos.

Near the entrance or walkway to get to the Milfiori Home there is a stone wall and on it is the historic plaque for an old stone building known as Italian Store built by the Galiardo's. It was a post office, social gathering hall, tavern and even a wells Fargo office.Its easy to envision armed guards guarding the gold in the safe while putting his shotgun through a hole through a gun port in the rear. The Galiardo's built there farmhouse behind the store its just that today its no longer called that rather the locals call it the Milfiori Farm. They had quite the operation they ran the store, farm and their house was one of the finest in Douglas Flat.

You can see the stone structure but the windows and doors are covered in thick iron plating. I heard an earthquake damaged it and they had to reinforce it so nobody is getting in that building. But one can see cracks in the walls and it should have them this is one of the oldest surviving structures in Calaveras County. This is a really fantastic historical site because it came to be in 1851 and still today it stands. It is what Douglas Flat is known for because when it was a bank most folks in the area knew you did not mess with shotgun window especially if you were a bad man looking to rob the place.

Id like to revisit and just get better photos I mean I did come back a second time here not sure why I guess that I just really liked Main Street and also wanted to learn more plus I had to make sure I knew what was what here. I would leave for a bit to see if I could find the flats not sure how I missed them but instead I found a few old cabins, bars and even some old mining machinery. I also found a small lake nearby and seen a few active farms to.

A cop went past me on the highway so I pulled out after him and the dude pulls over waits for me to pass then he rides my ass for a few miles. I ended up going to a little general store and gas station because he was literally doing this on purpose. Well he follows me into the gas station pulls across from me and is standing there outside when a second cop car shows up. So I ended up going inside and making me a coffee which usually takes me awhile because I add a bunch of stuff to it like creme, sugar, energy shots etc.

Tammy tells me that the cop pulled behind my truck and was just staring. Then apparently they got another call and took on off. I have no idea if they were looking for someone or it was mistaken identity or they were some small town cops bullying me or if somebody called when I was out front on that dirt road photographing the towns old school house. Its kind of hard not to see the school house it was on Ripley's Believe It or Not and was one of the first schools to be built on gold bearing gravel. During recess I guess the teachers would step out and gold pan so real history in Douglas Flat and so it surprises me that cops or locals are not going to be aware of ghost town enthusiast like myself.

I went back towards Angels Camp and avoided any further issue when I went back down Main Street actually its a rural Main Street so its off the main road or highway. We did see that same cop but he did not notice me. They were stalking me and intruding on my rights if you have no reason to pull me over you do not chase me then follow me into a gas station then pull up behind me blocking me in etc. Its straight up harassment man so I knew right then and there these are some truly bored hick cops. This is one reason I am glad I no longer live out this way because people get burglarized, meth is everywhere and the cops would rather chase me. Do not get me wrong not saying everyone is like that just saying that they were stalking me, driving around trying to find me, riding my tail, following me in for coffee and getting other cops involved with it too.

I decided to head out to Angels Camp which Mark Twain is real famous up in these parts for because he lived up in this region for awhile. Then again where has he not lived? lol! Angels Camp was once part of an older semi ghost town I was going to explore known as Altaville its a bustling little town. They have three to four cemeteries, churches, downtown is all historic and even a lake with a gold rush town underwater. I love Angels Camp which is fairly close to Douglas Flat its just south of about 6 miles or so. Angels Camp was a gold mining town it also is home to ranches, many businesses etc its one of the larger towns in the sierra foothills besides Jackson and Placerville to the north of it.

I almost rented a house near here back in 2008 hell I spent weeks just offroading, exploring and checking out this area. But despite how often I visited here I have come to realize I missed so much like cemeteries, historic sites and other structures which were part of this original gold rush town. Unfortunately time was running on out because we had to take a different way to get up here in the morning it ran out our clock we lost over an hour which would have been enough time to check out the semi ghost town of Carson Hill or remnants of old Altaville like the cemeteries, foundry and a few other sites.

I mean it was already almost dark out and we were just beat to the bone. We worked hard all day exploring, climbing around etc. Nobody ever knows the hard work we do at PGS and if they do know its because by the end of the day they can go to our youtube or our paranormal site and see these journeys as well as experience them. But some people never look at our work so they have no clue to how hard we work on these trips just so we can put these places on our site one day.

I still had three places left to check out maybe save them for another time. This is a part of gold country we need to work with more. There is so much history in these hills such as semi ghost towns, mills, mines, caves, cemeteries and many other historic sites so were not done yet. Will be working with this area again but its kind of far so its not something I can do all the time. Hell it took me three hours almost to get home so its not close plus I have to cross the mighty sierras because first its hilly then it becomes mountains its a journey for sure. But I have dozens of other locations near Angels Camp ill be bringing in the future so we can come back.

We decided to call it a day we went to Rodz Grille its just this diner that has a bunch of old classic cars its pretty cool. Actually there is a couple vintage cars you can check out.  I guess it was okay service was not that great and the food is rather pricey. For what I paid to eat here I could have eaten at a fancy restaurant in Angels Camp but I like diners because you find some good eats at them sometimes. But I wanted hot coffee and to sit for awhile I was really worn out. My family does side stuff but I take on the driving and adventure aspect so by the end of the day I can barely even stand.

I ordered some breaded hot wings along with some onion rings. My main course was bacon, eggs, red potatoes, sausage, ham and sourdough toast. The food was so id give it a three out of five it needs some work stuff was cold, waitress was not filling any coffee and the entire place had nobody hardly eating there so no excuse. Service should have been better because this was my dinner and a hot meal before I had to cross back into Nevada and that is a hell of a drive especially at night with deer on the roads, black ice on the roads etc. So if it is my last meal it better be grand ya know what I mean?

My son told me we should do the cemetery after dinner but I want day photos of it. Their is a unique series of cemeteries on the outskirts of town that I wanted to see. But they are better to visit during the day because they have some really unique statues, monuments and historic grave sites. I do value his drive to want to keep exploring though but I was beat. My pain levels are very high so eventually I get done in for even if its just lounging around my house I live with lots of medical problems which are never going away. Exploring gives me that piece of mind that solitude and I enjoy doing it I really do!

But by the end of the day we visited some great places Sheep Ranch, Mercer Caverns, Buena Vista Cemetery and Douglas Flat. A nice mix of wild western heritage sites, adventure, strange mysteries and exploring. I cant wait to go back out this way I will return to Douglas Flat! I need to find the meadow the Miwoks camped in and the gold mining transpired perhaps even check out more of the Milfiori Farm. But ill tell you those old wild western school houses are like nothing I have ever seen since I been out west. This was real little house on the prairie stuff cant beat it love gold country and we had gotten our first taste of spring so many birds, flowers and nature all mixed in with these great locations. Peace,
Lord Rick
PGS Founder


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