Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gold in the Hills

We took a drive today to the eastern end of the Valley of the Sun and visited Apache Junction and the beautiful Superstition Mountains where the gold mining ghost town of Goldfields is located. It was a very busy day with murder and mayhem, adventuring and gold mining, and hangings, which I'll talk about another time.
Superstitious Mountain with Cholla cactus in the foreground

The highlight of the trip for me was our tour of the Goldfield gold mine. Our guide was very knowledgable, funny and a real character. We were all (even Elly) supplied with billy clubs which we were told were to chase away the bats (there wasn't a bat in sight though as far as I could tell)

Charlie and Max at the entry to the mine

Charlie was very nervous about going down into the mine but we convinced her that they would't let anyone go there if it wasn't safe.

Inside the lantern lit tunnel. That little Vulcan-like boy was part of our group.

This huge boulder had broken through the roof of the shaft.

Our guide explained that one of those carts he's standing beside carried a ton of ore up to the surface.

He took guesses as to what this contraption is - most people said it was a stove. Actually this solid metal structure is the mine toilet!. Some lucky person called the honeydipper had the job of sifting through the contents at the end of the shift to see if anyone was trying to smuggle pieces of gold out for himself. They'd have to pay me more than $2.00 a day for that job!!

When we resurfaced from the mine, the kids went panning for gold and actually found enough gold and garnets to fill 1-inch long vials.

Here's Quincey, Max and Elly - Max is using tweezers to pick out his treasure from the bottom of the pan.

And that was our gold mining adventure - one of several we had today. All in all, a very good day.