Photographing the natural beauty Southern California offers is such a joy. But besides its beaches, mountains, and deserts, it's also home to an amazing array of wildlife and plants. I'm very blessed to have peacocks/peafowl visiting my yard every day!

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Saturday, June 5, 2010

Mining for gold in the canyons above Azusa

Of all the things I missed most about Southern California when I was living in Dallas, the mountains were at the top of the list (just slightly behind the ocean). Growing up in Pasadena and Arcadia, I was used to the San Gabriel Mountains looming in the near distance, snow-capped in winter and brownish-green the rest of the year. I have fond memories of heading up Santa Anita Ave to enjoy the mountains with their cooler air and gorgeous scenery.

I also have fond memories of the area above Azusa which, when I was a child, was undeveloped except for the odd store and a dairy farm. The latter had cows contentedly wandering free in the pastures--unlike many of today's horrendously cruel factory farm-type dairy businesses--and its own little store where we'd stop for ice cream. That area has changed dramatically since then, with hundreds of houses constructed all the way up to the very foothills of the mountains. Quite a culture shock for me, having not been there for many years!

But start driving up N Azusa Ave, which becomes N San Gabriel Canyon Rd, and once past the cookie-cutter housing developments you're on your way into the mountains. I'm happy to report that those haven't changed! You lose yourself in the beauty and tranquility, really forgetting that a megalopolis lies below.

My favorite route to follow is San Gabriel Canyon Rd to E Fork Rd, taking a right where they meet. You immediately go over a tall bridge and then you're on to a winding, narrow, two-lane mountain road. Keep going until almost where E Fork Rd ends--when you pass a large picnic area on your right, you're near the end--and pull over on the left. Once out of your vehicle you'll see some amazing scenery--just walk toward the edge of the dirt area you're on and look down! There's a steep hillside right below you, and if you make your way down the hill you'll end up at a beautiful creek. I've seen it in various stages of depth, ranging from really deep--enough for diving--to quite shallow, depending on rainfall and melting snow.

Once down there you're likely to see people mining for gold. Some of them have heavy duty equipment to help in their hunt for gold while others rely on a simple pan. You can't help but be reminded of California's history, i.e., its famous gold rush. I've never tried panning for gold myself but it looks fascinating.

This is a photograph taken in that exact spot. The miner was an interesting guy with tales to tell of his experiences mining for gold. free image download -- goldmining, mining for gold, Azusa, Glendora, San Gabriel Mountains, canyon, E Fork Rd, stream photograph, click for larger version

(Click on the photo for a larger version, 3008x2014, which you're free to download.)



  1. Sounds interesting

  2. Can anyone go up to the river n start lookn for gold

  3. Amazing photograph you shared with us. Thanks for sharing your experiences mining for gold.

  4. Interesting. I talked to a Homeless man who has experience panning for gold back in these canyons? I'll take his word for it. Snakes scare me. I'm not a California native.