I think I’ve posted most of this before in earlier posts, but for those who weren’t here to read it at the time, I’ll do it again.
A longtom sluicebox axed out of a 3 foot diameter log, a spring 75 feet above the sluice, an arrastra below. I’d been walking past the arrastra a few years before I recognized it for what it was. One day I was leaning against a deadfall aspen getting my breath, gazing at it, when it dawned on me that 500 pound rock had a reason for being shaped the way it was.
A burned out cabin ruin with an aspen tree growing out of the inside, bear claw marks 12 feet up, 3 hand forged nails.
A mysterious map chiseled on the face of a 300 pound rock surface depicting the exact layout of the canyon, the cabin, the waterfall, all so accurately depicted the person had to have scrutinized the layout from the mountaintop, then scratched it on this stone 600 vertical feet below and half a mile away.
The rock was carefully placed on the canyon wall above eye-level so it was easily seen, but only by someone looking up.
Dozens of places upgrade where the man worked the quartz outcroppings.
Symbols carved into rock faces long ago on the upper-west face of the mountain below the most heavily worked quartz outcroppings near the crest. None of it made a hell of a lot of sense.
One day I was climbing around up there with my lady friend of the time, Jan. Following the guy around, trying to figure out what the hell he was doing and why. We came to a rock face with a quartz outcropping he’d been working, but stopped, obviously half-done. Not like him at all.
I stepped back a few paces studying it, mildly confused. Glanced at the ground at my feet and there lay an arrowhead, quarter-inch of the point broken off. I believed I was looking at the reason he quit before the job was done.
But that long tom and that sluice were testimony the man [or men] working there were in a production mode. They weren’t prospecting, they were processing ore. Scrapings from the bottom surface of the sluice, burned and panned didn’t turn any signs of anything heavy. Downstream just below the V-bottom of the canyon went 100 yards or so to a stricture might have once had a beaver dam, landslide, something clogging it so’s there was a flat bottom with maybe 7-8 feet of sediment. Along one side a channel had been cut going through the sediment, but not all the way to the bottom of the V. It would have been a major job getting to the bottom for sampling, never got around to it.
But from the bottom of the existing channel the pans showed a huge amount of heavy, heavy, heavy bead-like material, rusty brown. Eventually spectroscopic assays showed what was mentioned a couple of posts ago.
And there was considerable more of it in other nearby canyons.
But we never found the source of whatever the guy was running through that longtom, what he was crushing with the arrastra.