Throughout history, people have come to California to make something of themselves, to survive a harsh environment and develop impossible land, successfully plant crops where seemingly nothing would grow.
Both literally and figuratively.
Places that are now open spaces contain such tremendous traces of industry and development...
... the stamp mills in Joshua Tree, the camps in Angeles National Forest...
...but you have to look for them. And frequently you have to hike to them.
California is famous of course for the Gold Rush, but plenty of people have found their fortune in mining other materials, from sand, gravel and stone to boron to gems and minerals like salt and sulfur, and other metals like silver and tin.
Places like Tin Mine Canyon – which only has one mine shaft, closed off to keep wildlife in and keep humans out – are a bittersweet reminder that you have to do a lot of digging before you find what you're looking for.
And be prepared for plenty of failures: there are several prospector holes there in the canyon, but no tin.
However, the prospectors weren't far off, and when they arrived in the hills of what's now considered Cleveland National Forest, they were less than 10 miles west of where tin would eventually be successfully mined.
You have to hand it to those prospectors that just kept digging for something. Some of them never found anything.
But who ever struck gold on the first try?
Land of Opportunity
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