Magazine article Sunset

On the Trail of Miners and Men Who Misbehaved

Magazine article Sunset

On the Trail of Miners and Men Who Misbehaved

Article excerpt

* Mariposa is not the kind of town in which you want to break the law Don't believe me? Just look at the poster of Peter "the Flogger" Lynch, at the Mariposa Museum & History Center. Petty larceny, the poster explains, was punishable by 50 lashes. Judging from the heavy leg irons on display, running away was not an option.

The past has a way of coming alive in Mariposa, which is in the Sierra foothills just outside Yosemite National Park. That means it's a great place to stop for an afternoon en route to the park--especially in May, when the hills bloom with poppies, gold-fields, and lupines.

Start your visit at the Mariposa Museum & History Center. Here you'll learn about explorer John C. Fremont, who founded the town in 1847, just one year before the Gold Rush put it on the map. Outside the museum is a huge stamp mill for crushing ore and a mock-up of a mining camp.

Walking down the main street (State 140), you can detour onto a paved trail that follows a stretch of Mariposa Creek. Chances are you'll see at least a few butterflies here--hence, the name mariposa (Spanish for butterfly).

Near the edge of town is the Mariposa Hotel-Inn, the latest incarnation of a hostelry that has existed on the site since 1859. …

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