COLUMBIA - Amidst the rugged oak woodlands of the Sierra Nevada foothills lies Columbia State Historic Park - once a busy, brawling gold rush town. The search for gold in the Sierra Nevada foothills offered hope and, for a fortunate few, riches.
COLUMBIA - Columbia was only one of hundreds of settlements that sprang up during the exciting years when the cry of "Gold! " brought Argonauts from all over the world to seek their fortunes in California. Located in the heart of the Mother Lode, a mile wide network of gold-bearing quartz that extends 120 miles along the western edge of the Sierra Nevada, from Mariposa northward to Georgetown, Columbia yielded $87 million in gold at 1860's prices.
Spring in California is the season residents and visitors wait for in eager anticipation. Pacheco State Park in Merced County is just one area in the 209 that bursts into a canvas of unimaginable beauty as delicate wildflowers adorn the landscape with hundreds of lavish colors.
Central Valley native Jeffrey Murray has spent most of his life looking through the lens of his camera, training his artistic eye to capture stunning visuals of the rustic world around him. After obtaining a degree in photography, and working as a photojournalist for two different papers in Arizona, Murray grew tired of being chained by the constraints of the workplace, and decided to forge his own path amongst the wildflowers.
As a modern American, it is rather difficult to imagine the sorts of things that might concern the first settlers of the Turlock area back in the distant year of 1867. It may seem as though there would be countless problems with forming a town from nothing, but two issues dominated the thoughts of those struggling to farm their land: water, and the railroad.
SONORA - You know you're in Sonora, California, when you see "The Red Church." At least, that is true to a lot of visitors to this historic Gold Country town in the foothills. That's also the nickname that locals simply use to describe this photogenic circa-1860 house of worship for the very obvious reason, and why it's a favorite photographic subject of many a camera-toting tourist.