Susan Marlow began writing stories when she was about ten years old. She started out writing outer space stories, Star Trek stories, and then moved on to writing stories about the past. Susan is the author of the Circle C Adventures and Circle C Beginnings series, stories that take place in the late 1800s on a California ranch near the Sierra foothills.
The best part about writing historical adventure stories is tramping around the actual sites. Susan has a gold pan but it has not seen much action. Panning for gold is a lot of work! She even has trouble panning for gold in the museum troughs, where the staff "salts" the troughs with gold. Nope, Susan just can't seem to find it. She admires the miners who were able to squat for hours and days on end in an icy river far from home. Susan doesn't have the patience or endurance to imitate those folks.
She does, however, enjoy visiting old gold camps and seeing what life was like for those brave souls. Click this link to see a map of California's Highway 49 sites: Gold Country. If you would like to see how a gold pan is used, click on this video: Panning for Gold. Looks easy, doesn't it? It is not!
Near Columbia, California, Susan saw a great example of a coyote hole. No, these are not dens for coyotes. Miners dug holes all over the hills, looking for gold. They called the holes "coyote holes." They still pock-mark the hills in gold country.
Miners also got desperate and shot water at high pressure to wash the topsoil away, all the way down to the bedrock. This was called "hydralics" and made a mess of the environment. They hoped to find gold in the topsoil. Some did; most didn't.
A "coyote" hole, like Jem and Ellie would have explored.
Resting on the bedrock near Columbia. All the topsoil has been washed away.
Gold Rush Adventure in the Old West