This mysterious tale refers to the now lost lake which Lingard had discovered in 1853 while exploring the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. A small lake Lingard had come across was full of gold nuggets, and he was able to purchase large amount of supplies in town using the gold that he had been finding. But this was not a large lake; more like a puddle really, and was only visible when he was basically right on top of it. After his initial discovery, he tried to relocate the lake but it strangely became untraceable when he made more attempts to go back to the area.
That particular year was known to have been affected by an extremely dry spell and therefore the water in all the lakes had possibly dried up.
Lingard was on his mission to prospect in the higher region of the Sierra Nevada when he fell short of his daily necessities. He went towards the Feather River to get his needs from the mining camps which had been set up there. The place was facing a dry and hot spell and there was very little water even in the hilly areas. As a result, Lingard spent an entire day without having any water and in the afternoon saw a lake somewhere far in the horizon.
As he approached the lake to quench his thirst, he was amazed to see nuggets of gold present in a tiny rivulet that led to the lake. The following day he took out as many gold nuggets as he could and started going towards the camp of Nelsonpoint. On his way, too tired to carry all that weight of gold, he stored a bulk of the nuggets under a tall sugar pine tree that stood prominently within the vicinity of a cliff and the lake of gold. He then reached Nelsonpoint to get all his requirements.
While he was there the rains started, thus ending the drought.
Lingard’s Attempt to Relocate the Gold Lake
Lengard kept going back several times for about a year to look for the gold lake. However he could never relocate the lake or the pine tree where he had hidden the rest of the nuggets. He would get his supplies from Nelsonpoint and made payment by giving the gold nuggets which he had saved until one day when they were gone. This is when he told the others about his discovery.
Lingard convinced some of the other prospectors and they all went hunting for the Lost Gold Lake. Many weeks later when they failed to find any such lake with gold, the men started distrusting Lingard and decided to kill him. It is said that Lingard quietly escaped from the heated situation.
Whenever he had enough provisions with him he would go looking for the lake on his own. He continued to search for the lake for twenty more years but could never find it again.
Many other stories exist about prospectors who while looking for gold found a similar lake as that discovered by Lingard which had gold nuggets at its base. They took away as much of the gold which they could carry, but later when they came prepared to mine more gold they could not find the lake again.
It is not sure if all these lakes found by different people were the same which had been originally found by Lingard. However, it remains that Lingard’s Lost Gold Lake has never been located again.
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