Place Where You Live:

Auburn, California

Gateway to the Wilderness

When you grow up in California, you get used to out-of-state folks assuming that you spend your days on a sandy ocean beach in the sunshine. The nearest ocean to Auburn is two hours away and is bitter cold most of the year. Here, the summers are rainless and heat-full, and we spend our days at the rocky banks of the American River when we can. If we start in early in the morning, we hike the old Stage Coach Trail down to No Hands Bridge. The trail is lined with the smooth, wine red branches of Manzanita and Madrone, and hikers have seen foxes, mountain lions, bears, and rattlers on that path. Locals know not to let their dogs run off leash here. Once we reach the water, we’re careful. There are more snakes in the river than ever before, and the current is treacherous in some places. It’s been known to take a life. It is beautiful, though: Everything green and red clay with the sound of water rushing against granite. Plenty of people come to the river from all over the region, and they know they’ve arrived in Auburn when the pass under our great train trestle and spot the famous statue of gold miner and Claude Chana on the right as they head up the hill. The Frenchman is known as the founder of Auburn, though the Nisenan people of the Maidu tribe were the original Auburnites.