Sunday, October 18, 2009

6 Counties, 1 day part ll

Hi there, again! It seems that fall, winter and summer can't decide who's turn it is to be here. So I decided that since summer won the bid for this weekend, I should take full advantage of the victory. This I did. Saturday's trip was planned to see the old mining town of Eureka Utah and the ghost towns that are all around it. We got to Eureka at about noon and headed up the mountain on the east side of the town. Located on the foothills is the Chief no.1 mine shaft and business offices among other buildings. The above foto shows the mine head which still has the cable and machinery still intact.
This next foto shows the actual spool of cable that was used to transport the miners and ore from inside the mine. The interesting fact about this mine is that it is a "hot" mine. Where Park City mines are all cold, this one is actually hot. I know this for 2 reasons. Number one is that my grandfather worked this mine as a teenager and two, you can see the steam rising out of the shaft. In the winter, there is actual moss that will grow around the mouth of the shaft. I don't know how deep it is but by judging on the cable size, I would say its a long way down. The actual measuring gauge is still attached to the assembly but the markings have long since faded away. Behind the building are various other buildings that were easy to identify. There was a workshop, complete with a blacksmiths shop, a changing room with a shower area, a heating plant where hot water was heated for various uses and a main business office. I never knew they were back there until a few years back when I was able to actually get up to the site itself. It had always been behind a locked gate. After spending time looking around, we headed back down to town to browse the only open antique store. Needless to say it didn't have shit so it was a quick visit. Next we headed off to the southern end of the town and headed up into the hills to explore the true ghost town areas. This area is loaded with old mines everywhere. Most are either locked behind gates or inaccessible to the normal human who doesn't want to hike up a mountain. I took us to my favorite garbage dump to see what had surfaced this year. Don't laugh! I have pulled some killer old bottles out of this dump in times past so its always worth a trip to see. I wasn't lucky today. I did find 3 bottles that were 3/4 there but they don't interest me. I like the complete ones, purple and blue being my favorites. I did find a ton of broken ones and pieces but nothing worth keeping.
After the dump, we started to explore a few new trails I haven't ever been on before. The new trail led us to the southern side of the only current mine in the area. They are mining clay! They use it for make up and computer circuit boards among other things. While on this trail, the Jeep was finding every mud puddle and having a blast. We ran into a hunter on a 4 wheeler who cautioned us that the trail we were on was very difficult. Of course I said thank you then backed up the trail in reverse to make it a challenge. A bit further on we came to the mother of all desert mud puddles. I had no idea how deep it was but we soon found out. I had opened the sun-rider top up to the sun roof stage and that was a mistake....... NOT! We hit the puddle and before we knew it we were covered head to toe in mud. The inside looks just like the outside. WOOOO HOOO! Gotta love it baby! I probably wont be as happy when I have to clean it but what the hell.... it was AWESOME! Does it get any better????
Back down on the valley floor we came to the old cemetery. I had to feel bad for 1 family. Of 4 known children they had over a 5 year period, all were either still born or died withing a few months of birth. The west was tough on the people who tried to tame it. The above stone , though broken , was kind of cool looking. The detail carved into the stone was incredible and it would rival those made today. After the the graveyard, we explored a few more trails and then headed home. Some day I plan on publishing a coffee table book of all the ghost towns I have been to in the west. Will it ever happen? Who knows, but that's the plan! This cool stuff is disappearing so very fast. I would love to have a book that shows what once was. Am I crazy? What do you think? JEEP on my friends!