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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Exploring For Gold In A Ghost Town

Today my friend - Armando and I went exploring in the ghost town of Summitville, Colorado for gold and fresh air. The photo below reveals the wild flowers that were in bloom at 11,000 feet elevation. The wild flowers that bloomed at our elevation are now blooming at higher elevations. There was still snow on the mountains we could see from the road in places but it was too dirty to photograph. Same with the creek we were prospecting in, it is right below the EPA super fund clean up of a mine that leached heavy metals into the creek. It was strange not seeing any life at all in the water, including aquatic bugs that are normal in most creeks. The arsenic has killed every living creature in the creek. The clean up has been going on since 1992, and is still far from being completed.

Here is Armando standing outside one of the buildings in the Ghost town. While we didn't see any ghosts - that we were aware of anyway - it is quite a cluster of what used to be homes of miner's and where they lived. It looks like they built some of the homes for family use and with multiple rooms. They have been abandoned for years now and are slowly falling down.
Armando at the creek bank looking for gold in his pan. The day did produce some gold but not that large nugget that we were hoping for. The digging was very difficult as the river rocks were cemented in place and when you would finally get one out to dig you would hit a bigger one under the one you just dug out. After working for over an hour I finally got a hole deep enough to finally start finding some fine gold.
One of the more solid homes that doesn't have a roof but the walls are solid and it was built to last - which it has for many years. Hmmmmm, is that a face looking out from the door on the left. Funny I didn't see that when I shot the photo.
To see the photo's better, click on them and they will enlarge. It has been a full day and we have some gold to show for our efforts and the views and wild flowers are beautiful at that elevation. Visiting a ghost town sure does get the mind to wondering what kind of people lived there on that mountain top, did they get along, would they be happy now looking out at the spoiled mountain side that big mining has destroyed where they just worked with more limited equipment and did not rape the land. Or, maybe they are looking out and seeing this and don't like it any more than we do. Irresponsible conduct in the quest for money and greed takes a terrible price on our land. I purposely did not take photo's of the damage as it was pretty disgusting to see. The best I could describe it would just be 'ugly'.

But the day was fun, we enjoyed the excursion and search for a little gold and we left the area just like we found it, working for gold with a pan and shovel does not damage anything. It was fun, and a chance to explore.


Barbara said...

Nice little piece of history Bruce! Thanks for sharing. Barbara

Deirdre said...

"Well, maybe no physical gold, but you were enriched by the experience! Sad about the strip mining, but the wildflowers were still pretty anyway! :)"

Bruce said...

Barbara: Sad thing about history is that we human kind don't seem to learn from past mistakes. But for the results of the pollution it would have been a perfect day. Including the strip mine.
Actually Deirdre: We did get some gold, just not a lot. The wild flowers were by anyones standards beautiful. I stupidly didn't have my camera when I came across some columbine mixed in with some brilliant indian paint brush. It was a desktop photo opportunity but I was not going to re hike the mountain for that camera. Tough walk to say the least. Sure wish I had that shot though....