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As It Was: Mystery Shrouds the Mud Springs Pointing Trees


During the gold rush, there was a layover spot called Mud Springs in Shasta County that was used by those traveling to and from the gold fields of Shasta and Del Norte counties or Sacramento and San Francisco. It was located off the old Henleyville Road, also known as the Paskenta Road.  It offered weary travelers a place to camp where the creeks were easily forded.
Prior to the gold rush, a small Indian village occupied the location in a grove of oak trees between two smaller tributaries of Coyote Creek, also known as Deadman’s Creek after an unidentified man’s corpse was found there.

Several “pointing trees” marked the camp spot, bent over to point in one direction at either a spring or a trail – no one knows for sure.  The trees also pointed in the direction of the only known pioneer burial site in the area.  A dozen or more of the pointer trees still existed in the 1920s.

Nothing remains today and even the burial ground is lost to memory.

Source: King, Irma. “The Pointing Trees of Paskenta.” The Covered Wagon, 1968. pp. 56-57.

Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. Her first novel "Across the Sweet Grass Hills", won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.