Throwback Thursday: Empire Mine & Folsom Dam

Empire Mine, June 2004

Back in the summer of 2004 I was enjoying my new (actually refurbished) Nikon Coolpix 5700; and while I’m now certain I never learned to use all its features properly, having this camera definitely got me out and about. I started to learn how to look at the world through a camera and to see things I’d never paid much attention to before. And in a few cases, I shot photos of places that soon changed drastically — so now I can look back and remember how it used to be.

This was our first visit to the Empire Mine State Park in Grass Valley, but I’ve returned a couple of times since then. I didn’t seem to take very many pictures on the first trip; it may have partly been because it was a bright, sunny day in June and I wasn’t sure how to compensate for the excess of light. Still, looking back at these earlier images motivated me to drive back up more than once last year. I’ve shared at least a couple of these before, but it’s been awhile — 2016 and 2017.

These next images are from closer to home. I took a hike with the Big Guy on July 5, 2004, along the west side of the American River. On the east side of the river sits Folsom State Prison and California State Prison, Sacramento. The trail we followed took us through the old olive orchard and up to an elevation where we had a clear view of Folsom Dam. This was long before the construction of the new Folsom Crossing, which opened in March 2009.

He’s carrying my heavy tripod for me

I may have to return to that trail after looking at these pictures; I think this view must have surely changed with the addition of the Folsom Crossing bridge, which cuts across the face of the dam. Prior to early 2003, traffic actually traveled along the top of the dam — that’s hard for me to imagine now, even though I drove the Folsom Dam Road quite a few times back in the day!

Old foundations along the bike trail, with Auburn-Folsom Road in the background

Leave a Reply