Sunday, September 9, 2012

Old Selam and Golden Trails

Gold was first discovered near Centerville, Idaho on Grimes Creek August 2, 1862. The discovery started one of the greatest gold rushes the world has ever seen….the richest strike in America, with an estimated take of than $250,000,000 from this area in the two decades following its discovery….greater than the California 49er and of the Klondike in Alaska. Nearby Bannock City grew to 6000 people, with 250 places of business. Bannock City was later renamed Idaho City grew to hold 20,000 miners. Idaho City, became the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco, until a couple severe fires in 1865 and 1867 destroyed much of town. Even then thousands of miners traveled to the area with tiny towns springing up everywhere. Most have vanished without a trace. But this year Idaho City, Placerville, Pioneerville and Centerville held their 150 year celebration.
Nowadays its all pretty quiet around the area. With the price of gold a few miners have tried their hand at dredging and sluicing out the precious metal but with marginal luck. The area around New Centerville has been home to the Old Selam Endurance Ride for several years. And I love to go to this ride because its just refreshing to go to the hills and creeks. Oscar Baumhoff allows us to invade his space and camp on his property along Grimes Creek. Just out of camp are some large piles of mine tailings from days of long ago. I went up to the ride this year with a very sore back and was determined to ride a day. I popped some pain pills and wore an Absorbine Patch. I told Thunder that he was in trail horse mode which meant slow, steady and calm. With each mile I got better and by days end of up and down hills, numerous creek crossings on Grimes, Elk and Clear Creeks I felt ready for the dance! There was no dance but there was something better, a second day of trail that I signed up for! Thunder, by the way, was very well behaved and we had a great day!
The two 25 mile loops of trails the second day were a bit better than the first as we didn't have Boulder Alley along the creek and through the old tailings. Most of the trail really is great footing, a lot of two track through the woods and the creeks had lots of water. I couldn't begin to tell you where we went other than all over those mountains which offered some great views and vistas with a rich blue sky. We finished with flying colors, another two day ride for the mighty Thunder and I!
After we had finished riding Oscar Baumhoff opened up the new Interpretive Center Museum and Cini Baumhoff ferried us back and forth. The Center is located at the Old Red Barn as you come into New Centerville and it used to be the Old Train Depot building. There are walls of photos and mining equipment everywhere. It really is a great place to visit. A sluice box with an old gold pan sits outside the door.
If you ever get that direction you should check it out. And if you are in Idaho City, check out this crazy place at the end of town not far from the school!