Pans, Picks, Legends: Julian Gold Rush Days

The Old West town's fortune-seeking past is present.

APPLE PIE TAKES ALL: While every visitor to Julian, or thereabouts, surely knows something of its mining, gold-desiring days of yore, the historic aspects can sometimes take a backseat to the ever-tempting presence of the town's most famous symbol: a slice of apple pie. Nope, people aren't putting dessert before history -- no one would ever dare do that -- but history doesn't waft in a fruit-luscious way out of several of the town's bakeries and restaurants. After pie is eaten, though, visitors do often head out to tour the Gold Rush locations of the hilly town and its environs, and the stories and lore are plentiful. So plentiful a full-on weekend arises each devoted solely to Julian's rootin', tootin' past. That weekend falls in late spring, and this year it is happening on Saturday, May 31 and Sunday, June 1. It's the Julian Gold Rush Days.

JULIAN MINING COMPANY: That's the headquarters for all the nugget-shiny action, though you probably won't be doing several hours of digging and headlamping during your visit. Rather you'll admire historical encampments filled with miners and mountain men and you'll do some panning of your own. Food, arts, pioneer games built around the young'uns' interests, and other ye olde diversions will fill up the Gold Rush-themed goings-on. The mining camp has free admission, but stash cash for a tour of the Eagle and High Peak Mine and Museum, which is offering mine tours at certain hours throughout the days.

QUESTION: Did miners sometimes go the "rootin', tootin'" path, or was that just a 19th century cowboy affectation? Were miners more "land sakes" and "gold in them thar hills" or is that merely a Hollywood fantasy? Discuss among yourselves.

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