JENKINS' LOST LODE ~ The Rest of the Story ~

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Jim Hatt

JENKINS' LOST LODE ~ The Rest of the Story ~

Post by Jim Hatt » Wed Jul 15, 2009 10:39 am

At the end of my article on Jenkins’ Lost Lode at http://www.desertusa.com/mag07/april07/lostgold.html I show some photos of an old campsite I found on my way out of the mountains. The campsite was the reason for me returning to that area 6 or 8 times during the next few years. I had to know why someone would make a camp so high up on the mountain and so far away from any source of water. I finally found it!

No more that 300 yards away from the campsite and about 300 feet higher up the side of the mountain, sitting on a small ledge that was not even visible from below, was a mine shaft. I tied a rock on the end of a 100 foot length of rope and slowly let it fall all the way to the bottom. I tied a knot in the rope where it stopped going into the shaft and later measured the distance to be 65 feet from the rock to the knot.

I took a lot of photos of the shaft and area around it, and took them to Clay Worst to see what he thought about it. Within a couple of days we met a First Water trailhead to mount up and go have another look at it.

Clay at First Water Trailhead preparing his Mule "Little Bit" for the ride.
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A short break along the way. Clay showing his appreciation to our guide, (my second Chocolate Lab "Mocha") who had already been to the area many times, and was proud to lead the way.
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Clay and "Little Bit" in garden valley.
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Jim and "Dacotah" in Garden valley
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Due to a steep drop-off of about 150 feet from the ledge the mine sits on, we ran safety lines all over it to keep us from falling over while we set up some computer, and remote camera equipment we brought along to try to get some video of the bottom of the shaft.
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The laptop we used to capture the video, from the wireless remote camera, we lowered down into the shaft.
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On our way back to Second Water trail.
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Coming into garden Valley on a way back to the trailhead.
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The photos we got from the remote camera proved to be worthless, and we decided that someone would have to go to the bottom of the shaft to check it out. Clay and I were not prepared to do that on that trip, and thought it would be best if we had more help along when we did.


It was almost a year later before I found two trusted friends, Hank Brown and Larry Hedrick to go to that old shaft with me, look it over to see what we would need to do in order to get ONE of us to the bottom of it and see what was down there. By this time, Clay had taken a fall that injured his hip and he was unable to make the trip with us.

There was an existing steel tripod over the shaft that had a wench on it that was rusted solid. It had a ¼ inch steel cable on the wench that looked to be in good condition.

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We came out of the mountains and started making plans to return to the mine and actually go to the bottom of it. Our plan was to take some oil in there and get the wench freed up and working. Then we would lower ONE of us down the shaft using the wench. The more I thought about it, the more sure I was that it would probably be me, to be the one to go down. It made sense because, I was the youngest, the lightest, and the stupidest one of the three of us. With that in mind, I decided to fabricate some kind of emergency exit in case the wench failed in some way while I was down there. I went to the hardware store and bought 200 feet of 3/8 inch polly rope, and a bunch of ½ inch aluminum conduit. I cut the conduit into 12” pieces for steps and made a rope ladder with 70 feet of rungs and about 30 feet of extra rope at the end, to tie onto something solid at the top of the shaft that would still be there, if for any reason the tripod collapsed and fell into the whole.


When we got back to the mine shaft a couple weeks later, we oiled up the wench real good and then ran it up and down a couple of times to check the full length of the cable. It all look fine, so we dropped my rope ladder into the shaft and secured the loose ends to a large boulder on a corner of the mountain. The wench was ready. My emergency exit was ready. All I had to do now was get my head ready. Holding on to the tripod, I leaned over to look down the shaft to see if my rope ladder had fallen all the way to the bottom alright, and if it was touching the bottom. I could not see the bottom. It was dark down there, and my rope ladder disappeared into the darkness.

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I really wanted to know that the rope ladder reached the bottom before going down, but there was no way to tell from the top. We decided that I would watch the ladder on the way down and holler if it didn’t. Then the guys above could make the necessary adjustments to how it was tied to allow it to reach the bottom before they lowered me any farther.

The cable had a five gallon steel bucket attached to it that had been used to bring ore up from the bottom of the shaft in the past. It made a nice seat for me to sit on and ride the cable down.

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I positioned myself comfortably on the bucket and stepped over the edge of the shaft into thin air. I must have had a strange look on my face as I swung back and forth over the 65 foot sheer drop, because the two guys looking at me, had mighty strange looks on there faces as they watched me hanging there. One of them asked me “Does it feel alright”? There was a lump in my throat that felt like I had swallowed a football, and I could not speak, but I shook my head yes, and pointed towards the bottom of the shaft. Slowly the cable started lowering me into the darkness.

I reached into my pocket, pulled out my camera and took the photo below as I was being lowered down, down, down..

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As I was going deeper and deeper into the shaft, my eyes adjusted to the dimming light and I could see everything around me as clear as when I was at the top. About half way down I reached over and grabbed the rope ladder and gave it a couple of strong tugs. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling inside to feel it securely attached at the top. Once I put my foot on one of the rungs and applied my full weight to it and bounced on it a couple of times. It still felt good.

When I got all the way down I could see that the last rung on the rope ladder was only about a foot and a half from the bottom. The light was good. I didn’t need a flashlight, and I could see everything very clearly. Sadly, there were no drifts going off from the bottom of the shaft like we had hoped. We had imagined the previous miner’s supplies, tools and maybe something to identify them by, stored in drifts or stopes off of the main shaft. Nothing there but what you see in the next photo. The object in the photo that looks like a stovepipe is a stovepipe. It was obvious from items that we had found at the top of the shaft, that dynamite had been used in the shaft, and the stovepipe had been used to pump fresh air down there after the explosion.

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The last photo is looking up from the bottom of the shaft.

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From the top to the bottom I had inspected the walls of the shaft very closely all the way down. I never once saw any sign of a vein or any signs of mineralization. The bottom looked the same way. Who dug this 65’ shaft through solid rock, and why, we were not able to determine. It remains a mystery to this day. At least we found out why there was a campsite in that remote area so far away from water. For whatever that’s worth!

The End

Jim Hatt

Re: JENKINS' LOST LODE ~ The Rest of the Story ~

Post by Jim Hatt » Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:52 am

More information and photos have been added to the first post in this topic.

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Re: JENKINS' LOST LODE ~ The Rest of the Story ~

Post by Guz » Mon Aug 31, 2009 6:53 pm

Did you get an idea how long the winch and stovepipe had been there? When that shaft had last been worked? And what is a drift, Jim?

Jim Hatt

Re: JENKINS' LOST LODE ~ The Rest of the Story ~

Post by Jim Hatt » Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:57 pm

Guz

Nothing there that we could fix a date on. No, no drift there either. Just the shaft.

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Re: JENKINS' LOST LODE ~ The Rest of the Story ~

Post by Iggy » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:41 pm

Gus Wrote: And what is a drift, Jim?
Just keeping you on your toes Jim. :D What is a Drift :?:

Jim Hatt

Re: JENKINS' LOST LODE ~ The Rest of the Story ~

Post by Jim Hatt » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:02 pm

Thanks Iggy, I missed that one.
I know when I've been "Busted".
Don put you up to asking me that didn't he? :lol:


Guz,

A Drift is any man made HORIZONTAL excavation into the earth.
Most people refer to them as Tunnels.

But, for a HORIZONTAL excavation into the earth to be an actual "Tunnel", it must have an exit at the opposite end from the Entrance, like a train or vehicles go through and exit the other end.

If it does not have an exit like that, it is a Drift. (openings that go straight up from a drift, "Stopes" and exit the mountain somewhere above it do not count towards qualifying it as a tunnel)

Is that bit of knowledge ever going to do you any good?
Not unless you hang around with a bunch of underground Miners. Otherwise, It will probably get you into more arguments than you are interested in getting into.

Tunnel... Drift... Most of us consider them to be the same thing.

Jim

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Re: JENKINS' LOST LODE ~ The Rest of the Story ~

Post by Guz » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:21 pm

I don't shy away from good arguments. Thanks for elaborating on that. I didn't want to say anything so a special thanks to Iggy!

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Re: JENKINS' LOST LODE ~ The Rest of the Story ~

Post by Guz » Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:23 pm

Guz wrote:I don't shy away from good arguments. Thanks for elaborating on that. I didn't want to say anything so a special thanks to Iggy!
Unless that argument has to do with politics or religion. Count me out on those matters. Ain't worth it.

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Re: JENKINS' LOST LODE ~ The Rest of the Story ~

Post by djui5 » Wed Sep 02, 2009 9:13 pm

You forgot to throw adit in that explanation :)

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