Friday, January 21, 2005

An Abandoned Mining Town

I use to ride dirt bikes and on one of my weekend warrior trips I came across an abandoned mining town. Of course, it was NOT as cool as this. All I found were the foundations of about 3 buildings some glass medicine bottles ( which I still have ) and now scars all over my right shoulder.

Anyway, I was riding around the foundations and cut across a little field when all of the sudden I heard some ripping and popping sounds. I'd never heard sounds like that in my life and decided to open her up and get out of there fast. I'm ashamed to say I panicked and I nearly ditched my bike. I had good reason to be scared though; that sound seemed to be following me.

When I made it to the road I looked back and saw a HUGE hole in the ground. I had ridden right across these wooden platforms or 'caps' over an old mine shaft entrance and the tearing and popping was the sound of the wood breaking apart and collapsing.

There was so much dust and dirt that kicked up that it almost looked like a fire. And, it took a long time before I heard what I thought was the timber hitting the bottom of the shaft. On the other hand, I can't swear to that. I was way to scared and wasn't to sharp at that point.

Being that I was 23 at the time, it didn't occur to me I almost DIED. So after I calmed down I rode around and looked for more building foundations and found some. I also found things like railroad spikes, those little cars they hauled stuff out of the mines in and I spent a lot of time trying to find those helmets miners wore or lanterns but no luck.

I did find signs that trains use to come up here. I found tracks and what looked like and entrance to a tunnel that you couldn't get into because it looked like the entrance had collapsed. I guess the hill just slid right down the hill one day and buried it. In fact, you could see a lot of evidence of some serious landslides all over the place.

Do you know what happens to old railroads tracks? Nothing...and if you're not careful you're liable to ride across some half buried ones like I did and wind up face down in God knows what spewing every cuss word you've ever learned in your entire life.

I spent about a half hour alone up there when it occurred to me no one knew where I was. All of my friends and myself were on the way back to camp and I had stopped to be er, answer the call of nature if you get my drift.

I'd never had claustrophobia in my life, but all of the sudden that's what it felt like. It felt like I was in a little box or something and I couldn't get away from that place fast enough.

And there's this odd twist of memory...

The entire time I was up there I never heard a sound except for the caps collapsing. I never heard a bird, I never heard the wind and I didn't even hear the river until I got away from that little abandoned town

Would I go back? No way, never.

Some things should stay buried, and I think that little town is one of them.

Anita Moscoso


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