What was once a small quiet creek running through shaded forest is now a great red scar in the landscape. This enormous hole has been dug, pretty much by hand, in the search for gold. So much work, effort, and danger, along with some death and destruction. But the mines surprised me. The occasional scar in a hillside was offset by the beautiful scenery. The rough, hardworking miners were kind and welcoming. This place wasn't the hell on earth I was expecting, and the destruction was much less than that caused by any motorway passing through the countryside.