Take a Hike with Mike

I decided to take a little hike up the
mountain today. This is right up behind my place and I thought I’d bring you
along with me. So let’s go see what we can find. I’ve been hiking this country as far
back as I can remember. This used to be my my trail that I would take off on and climb those
hills up there. It’s pretty steep! When I was a kid me and my dog, Pal, would take
off up here and we’d be gone half the day. This whole mountain is made out of
Serpentine and it has this really pretty colored green rock that’s actually
pretty good for carving into sculptures and things. And so I get it sometimes and
I’ll make different animals or arrowheads or something out of it. I
really like the characters it has. Sometimes it’ll have little veins
running through it and you can see that this Serpentine
rock is met by a gravel layer and this is a river rock. So right here where the
old ancient river used to flow over the top of the Serpentine which would be
bedrock; there would be gold here in this layer right along the edge of this where
it hits the bedrock. So gold was discovered here in the 1800s and people
came from all over the country young fellas came to gold mine here and so all
that mountain up there, this country in here, was gold mining country.
I didn’t bring Pearl with me today because there’s too much of a chance of
her running into a rattlesnake. I have to really watch my step where I’m going
because this country’s got a lot of rattlesnakes in it. And so what I used to
do when I was a kid was the first thing I do is look for a good walking stick to
take with me and then I would chop the brush in front of me with the stick to
make sure that I could hear a rattlesnake if he was in there. So that’s
what I’m gonna do right now I’m gonna look for some kind of a walking stick.
The other advantage of the walking stick is that it keeps your balance on these
really steep hillsides. Another reason I decided not to bring
Pearl with me this time is because there’s a lot of Mountain Lions living
up here and I don’t want anything to attract the Mountain Lions. That should
be fancy enough for me. This is just a game trail here. The only thing uses it
nowadays is deer. This is where an old man has to be kind of careful not to
slip and break a leg or something. And that’s where that walking stick
really comes in handy. It’s like a extra leg. But if I’m in a hurry,
I’ll grab two walking sticks one in each hand and go up the mountain like a
mountain goat. It really, really does help. But I just love the views up here. A couple of years ago I cut that limb
off and made a really nice walking stick out of it. You can see where someone a
long long time ago had cut the tree. Maybe it was the gold miners back in the
1860s. I don’t know who it was but they cut that tree maybe use it for firewood
or something. But there’s some interesting history in this country. I got to get up there to a game trail and then carefully walk the game trail around. I don’t want to
misstep on this slide here, or I might twist my ankle or something. listen for rattlesnakes. This little bush it’s called mountain
mahogany, and I’ve made a stick or two out of it. But it is the hardest wood in the
world the carve. I like this kind of a forest. It’s got a very old feel to it.
like they’re ancient old trees that have had a tough time surviving the winters
but it managed to hang on through the years. Some of them are hundreds of years
old and higher up and some of them a thousand years old or more. looks like some Pack-Rat must live in
there. See if I can get you up there a little bit farther. Could be Bats in
there too – I don’t know. This hill seems a lot steeper to me than
it used to. the knees are getting kinda sore. Place the stick first,
and take a step. giving yourself a brace. You know
that’s probably why I started making walking sticks. I spend so much time use
them as a kid, and all my life really. That’s my little town down there. Where I grew up. And where I still live. These houses up here, are
all new since I was a kid. This that I’m walking in right here is an
old ditch. It was made by the Chinese back in the eighteen hundreds to bring
water from way up the canyon along this route, and they would come up to a rock
like that and then build a wooden flume to carry the water and round the rock.
It’s a really neat thing to see something that took so much work
to do. The reason they brought the water is so
that they can wash gold out of the places where there was no
River to wash it. They brought the river to them. Pretty ingenious. They were hard-working people. Here’s where the ditch had to end. They
had to build the wooden ditch around that rock because they didn’t want
to have to dig that whole rock out. The ditch will continue on the other side of that rock. I want to keep hiking as long as my body
is able to do it. I don’t want to ever get to the place to where I can’t hike
but I know that that day is coming, so for now and in the meantime, I’m gonna
keep on hiking. Interesting place. It looks to me like somebody dug here for
gold. I can’t think what else they would be digging here for. I’m a little bit
winded. I’m not in as good a shape as I’d like to be. But that’s a pretty steep
hill too. Got to stop once in a while to look at these interesting places, not
only cuz they’re interesting, but because I need a break from climbing up the hill.
I like these old snags like this. Looks like that old thing could tell a
hundred interesting stories. Got a lot of character, just like an old timer. See how the junipers get these berries
on them. When they’re ripe they’re not really that bad, they kind of sweet but
they got a lot of sap in them and they’ll make your mouth all sticky but
they taste good and actually might make a good tea. You hear that that weed? I hate coming across these when I’m hiking.
It sounds just like a rattlesnake rattling. They always make me jump. And
that mountain over there it’s where most of the gold was found. And there’s still
people that prospect that and find gold. There’s little caves here and they’re
going back in on bedrock or on hard rock that has quartz veins and they’ll follow
those quartz veins inside the mountain and once in a while, they’ll hit a pocket of gold. some of them got quite a bit of gold. But
back then, back in town, the merchants would charge the young
fellows an awful lot of money for anything they needed, so I don’t really
think any of them struck a rich. Here’s a piece of quartz that’s a gold bearing
rock. And that’s what the old-timers used to dig in on, to find the veins of gold.
We’ll probably see a lot more quartz on the way down. I’m going to start heading back off the
mountain. That’s where my trusty old stick comes in pretty handy. Well, we made
it back down to the old Chinese ditch that’s it right ahead there, so, might
have a little easier walking from here on. You can see where the old Chinese
workers stacked rocks in here, and they had to go across kind of a canyon back
over there, and so from there they had to make a wooden trough to carry the
water to the gold mining operation. So I’m looking on the ground here, and this
is part of an old board that they used to make that trough, and I’ll bet
you we’re going to be able to find some square nails and maybe something
else that they left behind. There’s some more old pieces of board leftover.
down there on the ground is an old square nail. But I think they’re just all
over the place here. Took a lot of nails to make up and make the big water trough
to go across the canyon. There’s a really good one there, I mean that just that’s
pretty straight. That’s in good shape. I think is neat. I always like square nails.
Another piece of quartz here. I always look at them because one of
these days I’m gonna pick up one, and it’s gonna be loaded with gold. I don’t
see any in that Though . I was coming around this ditch and looking down here
at this rock and there’s a snakeskin. Not sure what kind of snake it is, and I
don’t know if he’s underneath that rock, but I’m not gonna fool around
and find out either. That’s why you need a stick! I’m always looking at stuff while I’m
out here. I spent my whole life just enjoying the beauty of what God’s made
and, and trying to tuck it away in my memory to maybe one day paint a picture
of it or, nowadays to carve it, and so I try to pay really close attention to the
way things are, so that I can try to do it justice for when I carve it or paint it. Boy, that’s a big old puff ball. Big old
mushroom. I never seen one bigger than that. That’s big All dried out. That’s why they call them puff balls. See
that dust coming out of them the spores. Man that the biggest one I ever seen.
I’ve just about made it back down to the flatland again. Down in the canyon. So, I had
a good little time up there looking at some of the places I used to hike when I
was a kid. I hope you all enjoyed coming along with me. Thanks for watching I’ll
see you on the next one. it’s good to see you too!

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