We recently shared a delightful morning exploring nature trails with our grandchildren at the wonderful Effie Yeaw Nature Center, located along the American River Parkway. Inside the nature shop were many hands-on activities that the children were engrossed in. Push a button and hear the call of a red shouldered hawk. See a display of natural habitats. That sort of thing. Also, living in the nature shop are a number of non-releasable (due to injuries, becoming orphaned, or having grown too accustomed to people) animals.
Resident birds include :
- a Northern Saw-whet Owl, Sophia (this was a highlight for the children!)
- a Great Horned Owl, Echo
- a Red-tailed Hawk, Tanner
- a Red-shouldered Hawk, Skye, and
- an American Kestrel, Rocky
In addition to the birds, there are reptiles, and amphibians on display.
Outdoors, well-marked trails meander through 100 acres of this nature preserve.
We had just gotten started walking on a trail when we came upon the deer. They’re obviously used to being photographed and gawked at!I must share that I have a love/hate relationship with these guys. To see them here was such a joy, but that’s not the case when I see them in my gardens at home, or the aftermath of all the damage they have done. I know they’re hungry and need to eat too; I just don’t want to encourage the chomping on my favorite flowers and foliage! Late last summer while shopping at the feed store, I noticed blocks of deer food. Standing there in front of the display, I contemplated buying a few blocks and placing them on some undeveloped acreage in our neighborhood. I didn’t, but I may in the future. I do use some deer deterrent products in our yard, that work well most of the year, but come late summer those pesky deer are eating everything.We followed a trail that led right down to the American River.
This crew must have been the official welcoming committee!There was so much to discover and admire as we walked along the trails, turned over rocks, climbed on some old tree stumps, and listened to birdsong. A great place to explore, learn and appreciate Mother Nature, for people of all ages.
“If you truly love nature you will find beauty everywhere.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh
“Let’s take our hearts for a walk in the woods and listen to the magic whispers of old trees.” ~Author UnknownIf these old trees could talk they’d have many a tale to whisper about. They’d tell stories of life in the mid 1800s, and mining in the Sierra Nevada mountains of Grass Valley during the gold rush and the years following.
Empire Mine is one of the oldest, largest and most prosperous gold mines in North American history. Mining started here in 1850 and continued until 1956. On the grounds are the various mines, machine shop, refinery room, warehouses, offices and blacksmith shop. A distance away from all the mining structures sits the stately English manor cottage that the Bourne family lived in during the summer months (their main residence was a mansion in San Francisco’s Pacific Heights) and the formal gardens. A clubhouse for entertaining and for housing visiting guests is also nearby, as is the gardener’s house and greenhouse. All of this sits on 856 acres of beautifully forested foothills. Woodland hiking trails wind through much of the property.Last Friday, on a beautiful autumn day we visited the park for their Christmas event. We enjoyed the old fashioned decorations, live music, and festive atmosphere as we toured the cottage and wandered the lovely grounds and trails. Costumed docents greeted us and shared park history, and Santa and Mrs. Claus were on hand for the little ones.Special arrangements were made to have the cottage (which is currently closed while roof repairs are being made) open for tours on this weekend. Yes indeed, they call this a cottage!Inside the cottage is quite dark, but have a look at the lovely old fashioned holiday decorations and the gorgeous windows in each room! Just charming!It was in 1975 that the state of California purchased the property and it became the Empire Mine State Historic Park. Check the website for tours, hours, and a wealth of information about the history of this impressive park.