It may not look like much, but the South Fork of the American River changed the course of history, certainly in California. In 1848, James Marshal noticed a few flecks of shiny metal in the tailrace of the mill he was building for John Sutter just steps from where I took this photo. When they settled to the bottom of the pan they knew it was gold. When word got out, it spawned the largest international mass migration in the history of the world to that point. We call it the Gold Rush.