|walking down the hill|
after we learned about the tunnel from our new Dutch friend, we got to go up the mountain and into an abandoned mine — the Double Eagle Mine, which dates from the early 1890s. they made us put on hardhats and, upon letting us out of the shuttle, admonished us to walk down the hill. apparently, a couple of weeks earlier a couple from somewhere in Europe made the mistake of turning left out of the tunnel and ended up half way to Central City (which we know is about 4.5 miles away).
when these mines were prospected, men had to rely on candlelight and hand tools, with the occasional assistance of dynamite (which, as we know, got them into trouble in the Argo Tunnel). it was excruciating and exhausting work to dig and haul rock from the tunnels and the depth of the Double Eagle mine illustrated this. it’s only a couple dozen meters from the mouth of the tunnel to the end, though it’s high enough in most places for someone of my height to walk through (we still had to put on hard hats all the same).
while the Double Eagle mine didn’t net the miners the lode every prospector hopes for, it yielded some gold. in fact, there is still gold to be found in the tunnel. because they were using candles to light the tunnel, the original prospectors didn’t notice the vein of gold running along the ceiling at the back of the tunnel. it’s hard to tell from the picture of Gabrielle and Jen, but there’s an apparent streak along the southern wall of the tunnel which would have been just a bit too faint to distinguish by candlelight. we, of course, had the benefit of electricity. and being told where to look to see the gold. you can’t prospect on the Argo land any more, but there is still gold in dem hills and anyone can take a pan out to the creek and try their hand at prospecting in the frigid waters. we opted for the easy, gold-flake-laden prospecting opportunity in the troughs in front of the Argo shop. the water was plenty cold, but at least we weren’t up to our knees in it!