It's great to have out of town guests because then I remember how interesting things are right in my own back yard.
We wandered around the Empire Mine grounds. The gardens are in full flower, butterfly bushes taller than me bursting with gorgeous colors of pinks and purples, huge marguerite daisies, old roses of every shape and color, campion rose (lychnis), and many others.
It's strange and sort of disturbing to think of the lovely gracious life the mine owners lived while right below their feet men and mules toiled in the dark for bright gold.
Here I am sitting on a man skip, thinking how it would be to actually be going down into the shaft. Evidently they've built a side tunnel from the main shaft, which may eventually be open for tours.
I don't know, it's not Knott's Berry Farm or Disneyland. Even a few feet down into the shaft it gets cooler and more humid, hard to breathe, it's scary.
We spent a bit of time talking to the Blacksmith's apprentices and coveting the beautiful old anvils. They were saying that when the mine closed down in the 50's it was just abandoned and not a state owned park until 1975. During that time it was vandalized and looted for treasures but once the state took over people began to bring things back knowing they would be taken care of, love it! Some of those same kids are now lovingly taking care of the mine and it's fascinating history.
This is my backyard.