Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is the site of California's largest "hydraulic" mine. High-pressure jets of water were used to excavate gold-bearing gravels. Huge amounts of sediment were washed into the nearby Yuba River, down to the Sacramento River, and eventually as far as San Francisco Bay.

Our visit on this spring weekend was dampened by rain, but the light was wonderful and we had the drowsy little town of North Bloomfield almost to ourselves.