Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????
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  1. #1
    us
    Mar 2003
    Albuquerque, New Mexico
    Fisher Gemini III; Garrett Master Hunter;2009 Minelab Explorer SE Pro; Quantro Discovery Land Tone Magetometer 1A;
    124
    63 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    For years I have hiked the Sandia Mountains following rock markers to a variety of mines. One day I was on a new trail, and when I approached a hill I decided to go over the top of it rather than following the trail around it. I found what looked like a small pointer stone that led me to others and finally to a mine shaft that went straight down. I generally try to carry string or light rope with me to use in finding my way out of a mine if something unfortunate occurs. I reached into my pack pack, took out my string, and tied it onto a rock. I then tossed into the mineshaft the rock and string to determine depth. When I pulled out the rock and measured the string I found the bottom of the shaft was approximately 63 feet deep.

    Since this place is a good distance off the road and in the wilderness it took me about a year to decide how I was going to get to the bottom of this shaft. The time it takes to tell this story is short, but the time it took to get me to the bottom of this shaft was quite arduous. I made a rope ladder and tied it off at three locations just in case one site broke free the others would prevent me from falling into the mine and not having a way out. I also tied off on another safety rope just to insure there would be minimal problems.

    If you have never been in the deserts of NM it gets pretty hot during the summer time. As I descended into the mine shaft the heat went away and it was similar to someone turning on the air conditioning. I could see the pick marks as I made my way down the shaft and I determined that the way people came into this mine was by what we used to call chicken ladders. Ladders that were made to crisscross their way from the bottom to the top of the mine. The Spanish also used this method to control their workers to prevent them from rebelling at inopportune time. Only one person could come out of the shaft at a time.

    When I finally arrived at the bottom of the shaft I found nothing but silt (loess) and rock!! Over the many years since it was built and abandoned, the wind blowing off the dessert gradually started to fill up the shaft. I tried to dig down into the silt, but it was loose, dry, and powdery. As I dug down, the surrounding loess fell into my hole as fast as I dug. It didn't take long to realize I wouldn't be able to get to the bottom of this shaft using these methods.

    I thought about it for several weeks, and came to the conclusion that I needed to build a shaft within the shaft so that the dirt would not fall into my hole. I cut up a sheet of plywood and packed it out to my site, dropped it into my hole, and then went in after it. I used two walls of the shaft as part of my shaft and then used the pieces of plywood for the other two sides. Great idea! Right? Wrong.

    Apparently this shaft was deeper than my plywood and I wanted to go. I got down about six feet, but the hole was obviously deeper than this. Now remember I have done all this by myself up to this point. When I was standing down at the bottom of my shaft and the plywood started to cave in, I knew it was time to leave! I pulled out my equipment and ropes and went home to try and figure out what to do next.

    Well, the only thing I knew about this shaft at the time was that someone went to a great deal of trouble to dig it, haul away most of the tailings, and no one had been in it for years. There is an arroyo near this shaft full of boulders that obviously came from this shaft. Otherwise someone else put them there for some unknown reason and they just look out of the ordinary. The soil type in this shaft is a conglomerate of sand, clay, small to large rocks. It is not solid rock all of the way down to the bottom. The silt I dug into at the bottom was real silty or sandy, and some rocks that apparently rolled down the hill and into the shaft over the years. I don't believe I found any rocks over six inches across. As far down as I dug I never discovered a horizontal shaft. I know the Spanish used to dig vertical shafts over 100 feet deep before digging horizontally.

    After taking everything out of the mine and brining it all home I bought a copy of Buried Treasure of the United States by Robert F. Marx. On page 276 of my copy he identifies Placitas as being near the location where some bandits dropped a Wells Fargo box of gold bullion into a mine shaft or a vertical cave. It states the bottom was full of quicksand and the robbers never recovered the loot. This is about as identical to my site as any I have discovered. The problem is how to get the sand and rock out to recover the strong box and possibly go deep enough to find the side shaft to this mine.

    If the mine is as old as I believe, it was probably dug prior to 1680 and hidden by the Indians during the rebellion. I know of no one who has found this shaft and if they have, didn't go down to investigate it. There are some old stories floating around about people years ago looking for Spanish mines in this area and never returning. These stories refer to the mine of 'No Return". I could easily see how someone could be careless and slip off of the edge and into this mine if they were trying to see the bottom and were not tied off. This could be the mine, and there could be bodies in this shaft. No one will know until it is cleaned out.

    The problem with getting this mine cleaned out are the following: It is in a Wilderness area; there is no power anywhere close; it would be impossible to haul in heavy equipment that far from the road unless a helicopter was used and it was broken down small enough to pack in by horse; and then you have people to contend with that might accidentally come onto the operation.

    I have thought about a lot of ways to do the job, but not by myself. To risky, and I don't want to be unaccounted for like the stories of others who never returned. I could see putting in a rope and wheel, and cranking it all up by bucket, but that would be a two man operation or more. I like the idea of using a vacuum and sucking it up like sand off a river bed, but that would be noisy and I don't know where I would find a vacuum strong enough to lift sand that high (possibly a 100 feet).

    I would like to take on a partner, but who can you trust? Especially if it is someone who you never heard of before or know their reputation. As most of you know a lot of people are really decent until they get around money, and for some reason the whig out and do all sorts of crazy things. I haven't figured out what to do yet, maybe I will just leave the story and location to my kids or grand kids.

    I took lots of pictures of this operation, the hole and the bottom. Someday I may put them on this site for people to review. My wife thinks I should sell the site to someone and let them work out a method of getting to the bottom of this story. Her problem is that she thinks I'm getting old, and I keep telling her that I'm not. I doubt that I will ever win that argument.

    So, if anyone has any good ideas on how to clean out this shaft I think this would be a good place to air your views. I don't have a problem in splitting what could be at the bottom of this shaft, since a little bit of something is a lot better than a whole lot of nothing, but it needs to be rather simplistic for this guy to do it. If you are down right determined to do it yourself I'll give you the site for 1500 silver eagles or 20 of those new Buffalo gold pieces the treasury is selling. So take your time, be creative, and think about how you would do this as a one person operation or get your friends involved and enjoy an adventure!

    Ecominer

  2. #2
    hu
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    Ozarks
    12,686
    289 times

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    This is a great story and I am really anxious to learn the outcome.
    How did the Spanish dig that shaft to begin with? What methods did they use ,as they didnt have electric or modern means to do so. What did they use to keep the walls from caving in? Maybe a mule and a large pulley system with a large tub to haul the dirt up.You might need a couple of friends for safety and for helping.. Seems like you could have a pulley system operated by a gas generator tho. I dont think the vacuum is going to work at that depth.And you need to get a harness and rapel down...not the rope ladder.
    What if you had tension poles that you could adjust between the walls to hold them back ?

    Good Luck and cant wait to see the pictures!
    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow

  3. #3
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    14,603
    11841 times
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    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    HI. The typical early Spanish technique on a good vein was to sink a shaft to the depth that they could just supply sufficient air, then stope their way back up. Many a good mine is now filled with a backfill of a 100 ft or so, but no-one wants to clean every one out see if it was a good one.

    Tropical Tramp
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  4. #4
    us
    Dec 2005
    Eugene, Oregon
    Fisher CZ5, White's GM VSat
    4,095
    131 times

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    A tripod, a motorized winch, a BIG bucket, and a control cord of 100 feet or more.

    Lower your self down, fill up the bucket, ride it back up, dump it, go back for more.

    You can derock a section of desert, lay down runners, and use round logs to pull the bucket over to, and roll it far enough away to dump. Better yet, attach a base with wheels to the bucket and set up rails on the ground to get to the dumping area.

    Don't skimp on rigging, its expensive, but there is no room for error. Check it daily for stress cracks and frays.

    Always best to have a person up top in case of accidents. A set of radios wouldn't hurt either. If you can't trust anyone else, your wife could do this, eh?

    I would think that the action of the bucket going up and down would create enough air flow in and out to supply enough fresh air for digging, but an air pump up top with a hose running down wouldn't hurt either.

    Best I could come with in a short time.... may think of more later. Let me know if you have any concerns, I'd be glad to help.

    Good luck!

  5. #5
    hu
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    Ozarks
    12,686
    289 times

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    could you rig some sort of rope operated boom pulley, so you didnt have to ride up with each load? Swivel it from the pit,and have the arm of the boom swing and dump?
    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow

  6. #6
    us
    Dec 2005
    Eugene, Oregon
    Fisher CZ5, White's GM VSat
    4,095
    131 times

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    Also, another thought. Eolian placers. wind deposits.... as the wind is stirring up the dust over the years, it would make sense, maybe, that the heaviest stuff would drop in the hole? Check the sand if its a good gold producing area. Maybe just processing the sand would pay for the dig? just a thought.

  7. #7
    hu
    Gypsyheart~ Queen of Rust

    Nov 2005
    Ozarks
    12,686
    289 times

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    I think that if I were to do this, my biggest concern would be once deeper in the shaft.....ventilation...which is why a gas operator generator to hook air hose pump to might not be a bad idea
    I go a great distance,while some are considering whether they will start today or tomorrow

  8. #8
    mx
    Nov 2004
    Alamos,Sonora,Mexico
    14,603
    11841 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    hi, since the Spanish in the remote areas had none of these things, they simply built fires at the bottom of the shaft for ventilation. A motor driven air pump is more efficient and cheaper.

    Tropical Tramp
    "I exist to live, not live to exist"

  9. #9

    Aug 2006
    Omaha, Nebraska
    MXT
    74
    1 times

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    Things like this get my blood moving! I'm new to the board and to treasure hunting. I agree that you have to be careful about who you can trust. I would love to help you out, but it's a bit of a travel from Omaha. I just wish there were things like this around here (maybe there are??)
    Research, research, research...

  10. #10
    us
    Feb 2006
    New Hampshire - USA
    Fisher CZ21, Teknetics T2 & Minelab Sovereign GT
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    2254 times
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    Banner Finds (1)

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    These kinds of stories get me fired up too!! I wish I lived out your way too as it would be a once in a lifetime opportunity!

    I think Jeff has some great advice! I really wish you the best and hope you're able to find something fantastic at the bottom
    "There is no getting away from a treasure that once fastens upon your mind" - Joseph Conrad (Nostromo)

  11. #11
    us
    Apr 2006
    northeast Wisconsin
    Fisher CZ3D, BH Discovery 3300
    890
    22 times

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    A true "vacuum", no. But a radial blower, with a long suction hose, yes. You have to have the air velocity up high, like in the 2000 - 3000 fpm range to keep the particulates suspended and limit the 'feed rate' so that you don't overload the airstream, but it would definately work for fine sand and the like. Look into small cyclone separators like wood shops use for dust collection. The cyclone keeps the particulates from going through the fan itself. Likely a small cyclone dust collector and an appropriately sized generator to power it could be packed in in one or two trips. (This type of equipment is used to move grain great distances in every direction imaginable in cereal mills and the like)


    I'd volunteer my services, but I don't think the wife would be too happy.......

    Diggem'

    Yup. The end of a way of life. Too bad. It's a good way. Wagons forward! Yo!

  12. #12

    Jun 2006
    Virginia
    Whites M-6
    135
    2 times

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    When you say it is quite a ways off the road in the wilderness, how far, and how rugged are we talking? I'm thinking that a 4 wheel drive atv with a winch could be your best bet.

    You would need to fabricate a portable boom or tripod with a pulley in it, and a bucket. At the site, install the tripod, and thread the winch cable through the pulley, then attach the bucket. The atv operator would lower the bucket either with the winch, or simply by moving the atv forward and back.

    You wouldn't be able to move a lot of weight at a time, but I think 50-100 lbs. per load would be doable.

    On another note, who owns this piece of ground? If you don't have title to it, you might want to look into filing a claim. As soon as you start actively working it, the odds that anyone in the area will spot the activity go way up!

  13. #13
    pw
    Apr 2003
    New Mexico
    BS
    2,850
    1347 times

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    Hi Tom,
    Haven't talked to you for quite a while - sounds like you're having fun.

    In my opinion, unless you want uninvited partners (with or without credentials), you'll need a quiet operation to empty that shaft - no powered equipment, no mining claims. You might look into those battery-powered winches that the spelunkers use. I think they run off a 12 volt car battery and can handle the weight of a man - enough to haul a pretty good sized bucket up out of the hole. I'm not sure how many lifts you could make in a day however. Pack in a couple $200 deep cell batteries and get a couple of those $300 roll-up weatherproof solar battery chargers to recharge them on your days off (beats hauling the batteries back and forth).

    Of course,you could also do it the old fashioned way with a windless/bucket or pulley/bucket or A-frame/bucket system of some sort and a partner topside. It's a slow, tedius job and a pain in the back, yes, but it's a simple and safe solution to your two main problems: 1) emptying the shaft; 2) maintaining security.

    Good luck, Tom. Steve.
    ​Adios, amigos - it's been interesting.







  14. #14

    Dec 2005
    La center,WA
    24
    2 times

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    great story and advice love to help out i'll have p.m. you if i'm ever in that area

  15. #15

    Sep 2006
    3

    Re: Wells Fargo MIne Shaft Located or MIne of No Return????

    Hi I am new too this site but I wanted too tell you what a great story,I have A friend who has a goldclaim in california on a river and he uses a dredge, now at first I thought that it was only for use in water but evidently he uses it outside the water also, its a great big vacuum he hauls it into his claim on a quad so its definitely not hard too get too where you want it.I know hes used it on dry land because he stuck it down a old Chinese mine that was nearby and got some pretty cool stuff and as for the hose that connects too it he has several different lengths that go with it,I don't know if this will help or not but good luck and I cant wait too here the outcome.

 

 
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