So, as I sit here at my desk, not working very hard, I feel compelled to deliver a literary journey unlike anything you have ever experienced. To orchestrate an intimate ballet of words and images that allow the reader (you) to swim through a magical sea of forgotten lands and mystical creatures and stuff. However, I lack the attention span to write more than 3 or 4 complete sentences in a row, so instead let's just look at some pictures of a wierd mine I went into.
Now, some of you may remember my post about Gold Hill. Gold Hill was a place in Utah where people dug several big holes in the ground and found a bunch of neato rocks that they could make into other things. People love doing that. Anyway, the town of Gold Hill grew up around 3 large mines (well, actually several mines but 3 main ones). They are....
1) The Alvarado Mine
2) The US Mine
3) The Gold Hill Mine
The Alvarado Mine is still there. It exists as a dank, scary hole in the ground. It scared me so I ran off and hid in some bushes. Just for review, here's what it looks like.
The US mine is no longer there. Well, it is, but it was reclaimed several years ago so you can't go in. They reclaimed it by shoving a bunch of dirt over the enterence, which is an amazingly effective way of stopping nosey types. I would have taken a picture of it, but it doesn't really look like anything. For those of you who have to have some sort of visual thing, let's just go with this.
Finally, that leads us to the Gold Hill Mine. This mine has also been reclaimed so you can't go in. But as of 2006 it hadn't been reclaimed, and you could go in. And so I did. First, let's look at a little background of the mine.
That is what the mine looks like. A hill with a bunch of dirt piles sticking all over it. But if we look closer something magical happens....
There are levels! Gold Hill mine is covered in glorious levels! Let's list them for fun! There's a 900 foot level, a 760 foot level, a 300 foot level, a 150 foot level, a 120 foot level, an 80 foot level and a 30 foot level. There were possibly others. They also blew off the top of the hill for good measure, so you can count that as a level if you want. I don't really care what you do. This is what it looks like!
The way the mine worked was the old miner dudes who started digging there way back in 1869 simply dug in horizontially from the side of the hill. The levels were identified from how far in elevation they were from the top of the hill. Thus, the 80 foot level was 80 feet from the top of the mountain, the 300 foot level was 300 feet from the top, and so on and so forth. Just to make sure you understand, let's take a fun little quiz. How far from the top of the mountain would the 900 foot level be? If you don't know the answer to this question, then I hate you.
Anyway, as of 2006, the 30 and 80 foot levels were all collapsy, and entering them was probably a bad idea. In fact, going in any abandoned mine is a bad idea. But I knew that one day I was going to have a blog. A blog filled with amazing tales of heroic deeds and spelling errors. This is that blog. And so I went into the mine. Specifically, I went into the 150 foot level.....
This level is the most popular with rock hounds, mine explorers, gnomes, extreme sports enthusiasts, bat-ologists, and all other people who you would expect to find hanging out in mines. Once you ignore that voice in your head that tells you to not go in a 140 year old hole in the ground, you find yourself in exactly what you would expect....
This is a tunnel. Mines are by and large made up of these. Let's walk along with me, shall we?
Now, reclaiming a mine is tricky because nowadays we care about the little buggers that share this planet with us. Mines, it turns out, are great places for a variety of creatures. Bats, mostly. Bats, like most things, hate being stuck in a mine with no way out. So nowadays, mines are reclaimed by placing heavy steel grates across the enterence that allows the bats to fly out, but keeps humans out. They didn't do this at Gold Hill though. They just cemented the buggers up. I guess people hate Gold Hill bats. So enjoy these pictures, because unless the bats have managed to invent a variety of heavy machinery this is the only time you will see a Gold Hill bat.
Anyway, back to the tunnel. Here are some pictures of an ore transfer chute.
This friendly little guy would have been used to transport ore-themed goods from the 80 foot level down to the 150 foot level. The ore was then transported down to the 300 foot level where it left the mountain on a little tram.
Mines also have shafts. These are probably the least human-friendly part of a mine.
These are dangerous because you can fall down them. If you do, you are likely going to stay down there. Again, don't go in abandoned mines.
I don't know what this is. Some sort of old mine-dealy. There are several of these throughout the place. If you look at the floor, you will see yet another shaft. After tunnels, shafts are the most common thing you will find in a mine. They are related to tunnels in a very vertical way. Look at this picture!!
There's toilet paper and batteries on the ground! Apparently sometimes people do wierd things in mines. Or maybe I was just seconds too late to see this....
Just another reason to stay out of mines.
A fun thing to do in mines is to try to not die. Another fun thing to do is to hunt for rocks. Before it was reclaimed the 150 foot level was a good place to find this stuff....
Rocks! It's a good place to find colorful rocks. If this is your thing, then this would have been great news. If not, then it's good news that the mine is no longer accessable. Everybody wins! That stuff is Austinite. It's a playful mix of arsenic and zinc and other things.
Mines have all sorts of crazy side tunnels and turn-offs and such. These probably go places. Some of them looked cavey-in.
Turn-off and tunnels are great and stuff, but you are probably wondering if I saw anything unexplainable in the mines. Well, mines are rich with supernatural folklore. Ghosts, demons, and midgets are all said to inhabit your average mine. Gold Hill was a bit of a disappointment. All I saw was Sharon Stone fighting a naked dwarf for a Butterfinger bar.
And so, that's what the interior of the Gold Hill Mine used to look like. What it looks like nowadays I couldn't say. Probably still dark and musty like Sharon Stone herself.
I don't know what that means.