Saturday, June 17, 2006

Empire Mine State Park: Facing the Fleeting Value of "Civilization"

In the late 19th century, California was best known for gold. In the 20th century, California was known for devices created from silicon.

Foundations of Old Mining Operations in Empire State Mine


Progress comes and goes; today's boom town becomes tomorrow's ghost town. Yesterday's reminders of past technology put today's frenetic pace to get new technology to market at an ever faster rate into perspective.

It seems the only constant is nature's resilience. When we're constantly driving ourselves, hurtling towards the next at ever increasing breakneck speeds, it's now more than ever to disconnect from our devices and get back to geological time.

Where do you go when you need to slow down?

One place I love going to reconnect with the importance of time is Empire Mine State Park in Grass Valley, California. Depending on the time of year and day you visit as well as where in the park you hike, you may see only a handful of people.

On one hike, I came across a few old mines. The abandoned technology I witnessed being reclaimed by nature reminded me of Dagny and Rearden's trip to Wisconsin to find a motor to save her train line.

Hike Empire State Mine, Grass Valley, CA


From Atlas Shrugged (*affiliate link) by Ayn Rand, pp.264-265:

"The corpse they saw in the weeds by the roadside was a rusty cylinder with bits of glass--the remnant of a gas-station pump.

Foundation Bolts of Mining Operations

It was the only thing left visible. The few charred posts, the slab of concrete and the sparkle of glass dust--which had been a gas station--were swallowed in the brush, not to be noticed except by a careful glance, not to be seen at all in another year.
They looked away. They drove on, not wanting to know what else lay hidden under the miles of weeds. They felt the same wonder like a weight in the silence between them: wonder as to how much the weeds had swallowed and how fast.

Crumbling Foundations


The road ended abruptly behind the turn of a hill. What remained was a few chunks of concrete sticking out of a long, pitted stretch of tar and mud. The concrete had been smashed by someone and carted away; even weeds could not grow in the strip of earth left behind. On the crest of a distant hill, a single telegraph pole stood slanted against the sky, like a cross over a vast grave."

Do you plan road trips based on books you're reading?
genuinely eden

Credits: All images taken by Eden Hensley Silverstein for The Road to the Good Life 6/12/2006 while hiking in the Empire Mine State Park in the town of Grass Valley, CA.

DISCLOSURE: This post contains an affiliate link, followed by (*affiliate link). I feature products that I own or that I am considering purchasing. I own a copy of Atlas Shrugged. All opinions presented are my own.