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Gold Country Locations

Updated: Apr 12, 2018

Day After Disaster takes place in an amazingly beautiful area of California known as Gold

Country or the Georgetown Divide. Although Erika’s adventure begins in Sacramento and culminates in Lake Tahoe, the main body of the story plays out in The Divide Area. It features the Auburn Confluence, an area where the North Fork of the American River and the Middle Fork of the American River meet. Then the characters travel to a little town known as Cool. They end up traveling down a destroyed Highway 49 to reach the town of Coloma and Lotus, which sit side by side on the South Fork of the American River. To get to Lake Tahoe, Erika travels a trail known as the Rubicon Trial. All of these gorgeous areas have a rich history.

The Auburn Confluence

The Auburn Confluence area was first home to Native Americans who camped here for hundreds of years. These Native American were probably mostly composted of the Maidu. Minors, who blanketed the area from Sacramento deep into the high Sierras, displaced them. There have been over a dozen bridges built in this area from 1800 to today. Only four of them remain to this day. 

From Flickr: Rick Cooper License

The Auburn Confluence was almost eliminated in 1968 when a proposed dam project was approved. The dam was supposed to be a 685-foot concrete arch-gravity dam and would have been the biggest 3-centered thin arch dam in the world. While in construction, nearby seismic activity revealed a fault line under the Dam location. New proposals have been suggested and the project has been redesigned multiple times but nothing has ever been approved. Some features for the dam still exist or have just recently been eliminated. For example, The Foresthill Bridge was build to span the lake and allow people to drive from Auburn to Foresthill. The bridge remains but it covers a canyon not a lake. Also until just recently the river itself was diverted into a tunnel system to allow for dam construction. With the delay of the construction, the river was finally allowed to return to its original course. In my novel Day After Disaster the dam was built and blows out during the earthquake activity, presenting a hypothetical situation of what would have happened to Sacramento if this dam had been built.


From Flickr: Alan Levine License

Erika leaves the confluence area and continues up the canyon to the town of Cool. Cool’s post office I live in this town and it is well known by the locals that a man named Aaron Cool is how our town became known as Cool. There is even a road named after him

was established in 1885 and the Penobscot Public House was established in 1850 as a way station and stagecoach stop. You can still see the Penobscot house and barn that was build in 1923 as you drive down Highway 193.

In actuality there is no record of this man at all. Resent research done in 2010 revealed a man named Reverend Peter Y. Cool who documented his mining career in a journal called Pacific Historian 10, Gold and God the California Mining Career of Peter Y. Cool 1851-1852. Maybe the little town of Cool is named after him.


Cool is not a very welcoming place for very long so Erika continues down to the town of Coloma. In the novel I use the towns of Coloma and Lotus interchangeably because they sit side by side on the river. There is really very little difference between the two. Coloma is a town we learn about in

From Flickr: Nick Ares License

History books all over America. This town started the gold rush of 1949. John Marshall arrived to Sutter’s Mill in 1845 after being hired by Captain John A. Sutter to log wood for his agricultural empire in the Sacramento Valley. John Marshall built Sutter’s Mill along a meandering river in a valley that was called the Cullumah Valley at the time. The local natives, the Nisenan, knew the area well. After the mill was built the tailrace that carried water away from the mill was too shallow.While digging it deeper gold was discovered. By June of 1849 some eighty thousand pioneers looking to strike it rich.

The Rubicon Trial

To get to Lake Tahoe from The Gold Country Area, Erika takes the Rubicon Trail. Lake Tahoe first became known to the western world in 1844 when John Freemont saw it while traversing the Sierra Nevadas into California and wrote about it in his journal. In 1850 trappers traveling the Georgetown-Lake Bigler Indian Trail discovered the Rubicon Springs. Then in 1853 the trail from Hangtown (Placerville) to the Rubicon Gorges was broke by Joseph Calhoun “cock-eyed” Johnson. About seventy Native American helped him; they were probably Washoe. Eleven years later in 1864 the first cabin was built by a trapper/trader and it quickly became a favorite stopping point. It still is to this day. The locals call it Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

Another interesting thing began in 1880; “Rubicon Water” was bottled and put on the market.

From Flickr: Gary Lerude License

Health seekers clamored for the product and demand rapidly outgrew production. Over time the Rubicon Trail property had many owners. Many buildings were built and destroyed. A hotel retreat for the health seekers was operated for a number of years and then burnt to the ground. Today the Rubicon Trail is known across the globe for its ability to thrill Jeepers. Its off-roading difficulty level is legendary. The first jeeping expedition was organized in 1952, when fifty-five jeeps made the trip from Georgetown to Lake Tahoe. The future looks bright for this trail. In 2012 a historic agreement was signed by the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors. This agreement granted an easement with the US Forest Service ensuring future trail use.


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