Angels Camp, CA–We were visiting a small community in Northern California when we heard a fascinating story about a blue jay helping to find one of the richest gold fields in the area, only a few miles from where we were sitting.
After having lunch in Sonora, CA, we decided to tour Columbia,CA–my daughter, her daughter, her twins, and a friend with her baby son. After walking around Columbia for an hour, we sat down on benches at a wooden table.
When we were sitting at the table, an old friend, which I haven’t seen for at least ten or more years, came over to talk. His grandfather and father were prospectors in the area, and later in the 1960s, his father became the constable of the Jamestown area. Meanwhile, I became a reserve deputy sheriff and spent time working with his father on weekends, driving around the lower part of Tuolumne County.
While we were talking a big blue jay landed on the picnic table, which we were sitting at: it scared the children with its unforgettable loud screeching sound. We quickly stood-up and backed away because the screeching jay started to move toward us. But within a few minutes, it flew away.
My friend asked me, “Have you heard about a blue jay that helped, in an around about way, discover one of the richest gold fields in the area?” “No!” ” If you get the kids over here, I will tell you and the kids the story.” He said with a grin on his face. After the kids came to the table and sat down, he started the story.
“A young prospector who always had bad luck, so it seemed–no matter how much gold he would find, it never amounted to anything, just pittance. He could not buy anything except enough food to survive, everything else was expensive. Since he spent all his time in northern mines, he decided to try his luck in the southern mines.”
Out of nowhere, the blue jay was back, the one that flew away, and landed on the ground, near the table, and make a racket with his screeching. My friend continued with the story, “The young prospector heard that many miners were having good luck near a big river close to a small community, Angles Camp.”
All of a sudden, he stopped telling the story, and threw his hat at the bird. The bird took off screeching, like saying, “?$@&*–to you.!” “Excuse me, my friend apologizing for his behaviour, but he was driving me nuts with his screeching.”
“After arriving in Angles Camp,” my friend continued with the story, “the prospector headed down towards the Stanislaus River. Between the river and Angels Camp, he found a place to rest. He built a fire and made coffee. A little distance from the fire he laid down and stretched out for a nap. About twenty minutes later, a big blue jay landed near him and started to screech. The prospector could not sleep because of the screeching, so he picked up a rock and was ready to throw it at the blue jay, but the rock broke in half. He reached up, to hold a piece of the broken rock, while he was going to throw the other piece at the bird. He looked at the rock that he was going to throw and saw yellow sparkels. At a better glance, he realized it was gold specs. He then looked around on the ground and found a few more rocks with gold specs.”
My friend said, “To make a long story short, it turned out to be one of the richest areas of gold in the sounthern mines.” He went on to say, “Because the blue jay wouldn’t shut up, one of the richest gold fields in the southern mines was found by a young prospector who was going to throw a rock at a bird to shut the bird up.”