Thursday, March 29, 2012

Reed Gold Mine

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The boys are tracked out of their year round school right now, and it didn't work out for me to have off the week after Easter, so even though I started back to work on Monday of this week (the 27th), I was off for two days on a short road trip with the boys.  Our first stop was Reed Gold Mine on our way to my dad's house and then onto the River Banks Zoo in Columbia, SC.  The zoo is just to far from my house near Raleigh to make the trip down and back in one day.

We had been to Reed Gold Mine a couple of years ago on one of our regular trips to/from my dad's house, and Joey really wanted to go back. It's not too far off the beaten path and free, so why not.  We were surprised to learn that they now let you go into the mine on our own and do a self-guided tour.  They said state cutbacks had affected their ability to give guided tours 100% of the time.  Bummer but OK.  With guide paper in hand we set off on our adventure.

If you've never been in a mine before, it's chilly down there.  I came prepared with jackets for me and Johnny.  Joey won't wear a coat even when it's 30, so I didn't carry one for him.  It ended up being a damp 55 down there according to a thermometer on one of the mine walls.

The important thing about Reed Gold Mine is that it was the first documented gold discovery in the United States and the discovery helped to launch the gold rush.

The gold in this mine was in quartz veins, and they had to crush the ore and do several other processes on the majority of the gold to isolate it from the quartz.  We got to tour the Stamp Mill which showed us the ore crushing equipment.

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Set in a forested area of NC along Little Meadow Creek, and with it being spring, we were treated to birds chirping, wildflowers blooming, and even some unusual lizards.

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Can anyone identify this type of lizard which I have not seen in the Raleigh area?  The bright blue tummy was pretty!  I chased these guys (2 of them) around the tree for a solid 5 minutes trying to get a really detailed shot.  Funny thing is they kept moving:-)

Note:  Apparently an Eastern Fence Lizard (thanks Patricia!)

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Along the way, I saw some wild daisies blooming for the first time this year but did not have a safe place to stop.  I did stop in another area and take some bachelor button pictures.  I love these flowers!

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We also saw fields of what I'm guessing is mustard

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And the usual rural barn and countryside scenes.

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My post about the zoo trip coming.

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