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Thread: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

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  1. #41
    us
    Medicine/Holy Man

    May 2010
    California
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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Quote Originally Posted by Hemisteve
    hi eagle, sorry to hear that your was alittle costly but i hope that you enjoyed it.
    do you have a date set for going back up there? also it would really be good to see more
    pictures of your adventure the next time when you head out.
    also hope that you do well if you are able to sell you internet buss.
    hope that everything else is going well for you, take care my friend.
    ron

    Hi Eagle,
    Just wanted to say thanks for the stories. You have a gift for story telling. Very entertaining and informative.
    Looking forward to reading more.

    Thanks again
    Steve
    Thank you my friends. Encouragement is always welcome. I guess back "in the days", I would probably have been the tribal story teller. Of course, I have sense enough to know that to make my stories interesting, I would have to have a "ghost writer". I don't really care for the "he said", "I said", "they exclaimed" way of the normal story. I have to just let the memories roll out, and hope that they make some kind of sense.

    I'm writing in word right now, when I have enough I'll be posting it in this thread. Probably tomorrow.

    Thanks again!!!

    Eagle

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  3. #42
    us
    Medicine/Holy Man

    May 2010
    California
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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Hokay, the inventory is completed and mailed to the prospective buyer. So, I guess it’s time to venture on.

    So return with me now, to those exciting days of yesteryear where with the ring of hooves, a flash of white, and a hearty “Hi Ho……..Oops, wrong story.

    In my “yesteryear”, there were no such things as dredging permits and very few prospectors bothered to put claims on rivers. Hell, we had sense enough to know that with suction dredges, if you only had one claim, you could spend the rest of your life dredging on that one claim and never dredge all of it. Now, it’s all greed and speculation. You can go to almost any accessible part of any river in the “Mother Lode” country and you’ll find that one person will have 4 or more contiguous claims, (following the course of the river,) and take up a mile or more of the waterway.

    But, enough of my ranting………………

    The following weekend, due to having worked the previous Sunday, (inventory,) I managed to talk my way into an extra day off from work. (Hey, rank hath its privileges.) So, I left my home in Azusa at about 4:00am so that I could get to the river before dark for a change.

    Since I had left early enough, the “grapevine” wasn’t too bad with traffic. It only took about 3 hours to go approx. 45 miles. Well, in those days, it was just 2 lanes, (one in each direction,) with a steep, winding climb up, and a steep, winding downgrade. There were major accidents almost every day due to people trying to pass a truck (usually) that was only doing about 15 miles per hour. Unfortunately, they tried to pass on a blind curve and caught an oncoming car, or truck, that was doing about 60 mph. That tended to rearrange the contours of their cars considerably. (No laughter here.) Now, with Interstate 5, in an hours time I can be out of the L.A. basin and be in the San Joaquin Valley. Another 4 hours or so and I can be in Mariposa. So, I guess that some changes are for the better.

    I arrived in Mariposa at about 11:00am and decided to wait ‘til Briceburg to gas up. I figured that perhaps that would give me a chance to meet Mr. Brice and give him a chance to check me out. And, it worked out pretty well. It turned out that he was born and grew up there and I don’t think much happened in the area that he didn’t know about.

    He told me that when he was a youngster, the old suspension bridge wasn’t there. There was first a “foot bridge” that crossed the river where the suspension bridge is now. He and his young friends would walk out on the foot bridge and look down into the water. He said that there use to be a hole of “swept” bedrock under the bridge and they could see (from the bridge,) nuggets glowing in the crevasses in the bedrock. They took bets on who could dive off of the bridge, go down and bring up the biggest nugget.

    (Yikes, the things dreams are made of.)

    Unfortunately, the “big flood of ‘55” put an end to those games by filling in the hole with rocks and boulders. Who knows? Perhaps one day there will be another “big flood” and the hole will return to its original state of grace.

    By this time, I figured I had spent enough time talking (and learning,) and said I’d see him later and started down the river road.

    It was a few minutes after noon when I finally arrived across from Pete’s place. I stopped and gave a call and ol’ Pete waved me over. I waded across at the same ford as before and met him on the bank. “Here you go my friend, I brought these for you”, I said as I handed him 2 gallon jugs of the “good stuff.” He thanked me and went straight to the rock lined pool and placed them in the water. “Keep them cool for later” he said with a laugh.

    I wanted to get my camp set up and take a little time to just look around, so I told him I’d be back later in the afternoon for a little visit, if it was o.k. He told me “shore nuff”, he’d enjoy a little visit. So, with that, I waded back across and drove on down to RailRoad Flats.

    I’ll try to make it back here in the morning, to continue with what I found during my looking around.

    Eagle

  4. #43
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    Medicine/Holy Man

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    California
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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    I decided to walk down-river and see if I could locate the Mountain King mine. As I climbed down, then back up out of Hall’s gulch, I couldn’t help but marvel at the beauty and history of this area. It’s amazing to realize that Mariposa’s history is founded on the gold rush, complete with the headquarters of John C. Freemont, (in Mariposa, in what is now known as “The Gold Coin Bar”,) but, look as I might, I could find nothing official about mining on the Merced River, or, at least very little. What little I did find was a couple of late 1800’s quarterly reports on the production at the Mountain King Mine.

    Well heck, I found out more than that when I ventured beyond the tailings piles and on up to the buildings near the mine. I went into one of the buildings that I assumed was the mine office, due to the paperwork I found scattered around, (that hadn’t been destroyed by the packrats.) From what I could determine, it seemed that the Mountain King had a number of investors from back East and Internationally.
    Unfortunately, (as stated before) I was not interested in artifacts so I just tossed the papers back on the floor and left.

    As I was walking back down the hill towards the river, I passed near some of the mine tailings and noticed a fist-sized piece of quartz that had rolled out away from the main pile. I’m not sure what caught my eye, but I picked it up and found a small piece of gold sticking out of one side of it. It was nothing that excited me, as it was only about the size of this; “o”, but, it was large enough for me to determine that it was gold. I tossed it back onto the tailings pile and continued on back towards my camp. Of course, if I were to find that piece of quartz today, I would take it with me and break it open to see if there was more gold inside. I guess that’s one of the worse parts of not being “money hungry”, I wasn’t thinking about more gold.

    I wonder why we get old before we get smart

    When I got back to Hall’s Gulch, I decided to take some time and go up the gulch a little way. Lord, it was beautiful. There was a year round flow of water, though by this time of year it was a very light flow and the whole gulch was full of trees. (What the miners called “Piss Elms”.) I found that when they died and dried out, there was almost no weight to the wood, so it wasn’t really suited for fire wood or building any thing. When dry, it broke very easily.

    I went about a half mile up the gulch and passed several beautiful pools of water. About the time I decided to turn around, I came upon a pool about 10ft X 20ft and about 5ft deep at the deepest part. Well, by this time, I was pretty sweaty and the pool was so inviting, I stripped down and jumped in.

    As I leaned back against the sloping bedrock at the edge of the pool, I noticed movement in the shadows on the other side of the pool, about 30ft away. I remained very still and watched as a doe with her fawn walked up to the edge of the pool, probably not more than 10ft away from me. She seemed to look right into my eyes before dipping her head down to take a drink, while her fawn took a quick sniff of the water, then turned towards her rear legs to get a drink of what interested it the most.

    It was at this time, that I fully understood what the Elders meant when they said that we are here to protect and help the Mother Earth and that we are all related. It was also at this time that I felt I knew what the Garden of Eden must have truly been like.

    It was also about this time when I must have moved slightly and she threw up her head, looked at me as if to say,

    “What the hell am I doing?? THAT’S A HUMAN”!!!

    And quickly, with her fawn, returned to the shadows from where she had appeared. Afterwards, I came out of the water and gave myself a little time to pretty well air dry, got dressed and returned to my camp in a state of euphoria. You know, when you feel that way about life, everything is beautiful.

    Eagle

  5. #44
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    Desiderata

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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    I'm just one of the many who must be reading and thoroughly enjoying this thread. Thank you for sharing. I agree with the others that suggested you should write a book. Great, well taught history, and I truly wish you the best.
    Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly, be led by God in all things!

  6. #45
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    Medicine/Holy Man

    May 2010
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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Quote Originally Posted by bill-USA
    I'm just one of the many who must be reading and thoroughly enjoying this thread. Thank you for sharing. I agree with the others that suggested you should write a book. Great, well taught history, and I truly wish you the best.
    Thank you bill-USA!!

    The problem with writing a book of this nature, as I see it, is that it would require that readers take my word as to what I experienced.

    I wonder if they have a catagory for "True Fiction".

    Unfortunately, I'm like the guy who finds a UFO on the ground and speaks to some aliens, but doesn't have a camera or tape recorder to document the experience. The best I can do is return to the scene and take some belated pictures, after the UFO is gone

    Thanks for the encouragement!!

    Eagle

  7. #46
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    Medicine/Holy Man

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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    I’m sorry I’ve made all of my friends wait so long, but I suddenly got swamped with work. But now, I’m back, at least for a while.

    ~~\~/~~

    After getting back to my camp, I whipped up a sumptuous sandwich before heading over to visit Pete. During my prospecting/dredging trips, I always travel light. A three pound tube of bologna, a block of Monterey Pepper Jack cheese, a loaf of whole wheat bread and a dozen Pepsis, and I’m good to go. (lol)

    Wading across to Pete’s, I realized that this would have to be a short visit as the sun was already on the other side of the mountains. It does get dark quickly when you’re in a canyon like this.

    This trip was pretty much just small talk, with Pete doing most of the talking and me throwing in an occasional question. He did tell me about an old mine that one of the fellers had found up at the “head” of Hall’s Gulch. The feller never did go in it because he didn’t have a light, and he could hear a rattler buzzing back in the dark, so he just skeedadled and never went back.

    Of course, you probably know by now, I was determined to try to find this “old mine” the first chance I got. He also mentioned how some ol’ boys had found some boulders up-river with strange markings on them. He said they thought they might be Spanish, but wernt sure. (I’m going to quit trying to write like he talked, it just doesn’t translate well. Just remember the old cowboy movies and use your imagination.) (lol)

    I asked if I could see the boulders, but unfortunately, when they put in the rail road, the boulders were shoved out of the way, probably into the river. Now that’s progress for you. I did find that the boulders were up river, in the vicinity of Don Brown’s diggings. I just filed that away in my memory. Who knows, you hear something now, then ten years later, you hear something or see something else and it all comes together, that’s how some great finds are made.

    Anyway, Pete told me that he was going to be busy in his “gopher hole” all week end, but to make sure I stopped in before I left as he had something important to ask me. I told him it would be my pleasure and since it was getting dark, took my leave.

    I fell asleep that night with visions of Spanish doubloons and unfortunately, rattle snakes dancing in my head. (lol)

    I put in a full day of dredging and a couple of hours Sunday morning before I started breaking the dredge down and loading it in the truck. I got a couple of ounces of that pretty rose gold, but the week-end was drawing close to an end.

    I went over to Pete’s place around noon Sunday as I was wrung out from pitching rocks all week-end, and wanted to get a fairly early start home.

    When I got to Pete’s cabin, he had just got back down the hill from his “gopher hole”, and was getting rid of some of the dirt. He got out the cups and a jug of wine. I only pour a couple of swallows for myself as I knew I’d need all of my attention while driving over the grapevine. (Believe me, that use to be a scary trip.) You never knew but what the next curve would have you looking head on at some fool on your side of the hiway.

    Anyway, Pete showed me 6 or 7 nuggets he’d picked out of the “gopher hole”. Just looking at them, I was sure there wasn’t a one that was under ¾ ounce.
    Now that’s the kind of gold I wanted to find. (lol)

    Pete made a little “small talk” for a few minutes, then kind of hemmed and hawed like he was a little embarrassed, then blurted out, “I need a favor from you”. Not knowing where this was heading, I just nodded my head. “I know we haven’t known each other all that long, but I’m a pretty good judge of character, and you’re the first person I’ve ever met on this river that I’m sure I can trust”.

    Have you ever had a time when you were truly speechless?? Well, that was my feeling at this time.

    Pete brought me out of my daze by putting his hand on my shoulder and saying, “come on in my house, I have something I want to show you”.

    I got up and followed him in. I found myself in a two room cabin, and couldn’t help but notice that it was spotless. (And very homey.) He headed towards the back room and motioned for me to follow him. This room turned out to be a combination kitchen, bedroom and workshop. Against the back wall was a cast iron cooking stove. To the left of the stove was a counter for preparing meals. To the right of the stove, there was a small but sturdy looking work bench, and opposite of that, there was a single bunk, neatly made up for the day. I watched as Pete opened up what I guessed was a compartment for kindling wood, for starting the fire. He moved the small pieces of wood out of the way and reaching all the way to the back, he pulled out two quart sized Mason jars and with a little effort, put them on the work bench.

    He motioned for me to come over and as I got to where I could see what was in the Mason jars, I really hoped he didn’t see my eyes bugging out. Both were filled to the top with gold nuggets. I know without a doubt that some of them were at least 2 ounce pieces of raw placer gold, maybe even heavier. By now, I was afraid that he was going to ask me to take them and cash them in for him and I knew that I would have to refuse. I wouldn’t want the responsibility of handling that much of someone else’s gold.

    But, he took that fear away when he asked for the favor he wanted.

    He said; “First, I want you to know that you’re the only person, other than me, that’s ever set foot inside my front door”. “Maybe, he said, “that will show you how much I trust you”. I’m sure there must have been some tears in my eyes, because my throat was too tight to talk at the moment.

    “The favor I want to ask is, if you ever come to here and I’m too sick to take care of myself, you take me to the hospital, and sell as much of this gold as you need to, to take care of the Dr. bills.”, he said. Then, “If I’m already in the hospital, the same thing goes, come in and take what you have to, to pay the bills”. I promised I would do as he wanted and he replaced the gold in the box and closed the door. Then we shook hands to seal the bargain and went back outside.

    As I was preparing to leave, he stopped me and gave me a big hug and told me; “I didn’t say this before, cause with a lot of people it’s a touchy subject, but I’m getting on in years, so if I pass away, you come on back here, pull that gold out, and buy me a grave site and a nice tombstone, and the rest of the gold is all yours”. “Besides”, he said, “that’s not all of the gold I’ve got hidden around this place. I’ll show you some more the next time you come visit”.

    Eagle

  8. #47
    Charter Member
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    Desiderata

    Jun 2004
    Somewhere in the US and probably in motion.
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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Wow!

    Thanks for the update!
    Live simply, Love generously, Care deeply, Speak kindly, be led by God in all things!

  9. #48
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    Medicine/Holy Man

    May 2010
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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Quote Originally Posted by bill-USA
    Wow!

    Thanks for the update!
    You're very welcome Bill.

    I again apologise for sometimes taking so long between posts, but between making jewelry, my online business, and my experiments in Hydrogen On Demand, I can get pretty wrapped up at times.

    But, I guess that's what it takes to keep a 74 year old man young.

  10. #49
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    Apr 2006
    northeast Wisconsin
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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Just a "tag" so I don't lose track of this one..............

    Diggem'

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

  11. #50

    Mar 2003
    Oakhurst,CA
    modded 4500, CTX30-30, Goldbug 11,
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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Good reading! Glad you're back.

    Shep
    "Going to see the elephant"

  12. #51
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    Medicine/Holy Man

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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Quote Originally Posted by shepcal
    Good reading! Glad you're back.

    Shep
    Thanks Shep!! I'm glad I've been able to slow down enough to do some writing. I'll be posing more, as long as I can keep from spinning off on another working binge.

  13. #52
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    Medicine/Holy Man

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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Quote Originally Posted by Diggemall
    Just a "tag" so I don't lose track of this one..............

    Diggem'

    Hey, the more the merrier. Grab a stool and drag it up to the pickle barrel, cause I've got a lot of memories to unload on ya.

  14. #53
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    Medicine/Holy Man

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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Before I go any further in my stories, I want you to understand that I still, to this day, can get a little emotional when talking about Pete.

    You hear about “Soul Mates”, but usually only in the context of man and woman. But, over the years, I’ve found that a “Soul Mate” is not confined to the opposite sex. And, we can have more than one “Soul Mate”, (of either sex.) And with Pete, I feel that I was guided to Briceburg so that I would have the opportunity to meet with one of my “Soul Mates”. It also made it even more binding, (and later, painful,) since I had lost my father when I was about 4 years old. I realize now that Pete filled a void that I had in my heart for most of my life.

    Another thing that I’ll always be grateful for is that in the time I spent with the old man, I learned more about “reading” the lay of the land and geology than I would have ever learned in the countries best school of mining and geology.

    Hokay, enough with the psycho-analyzing and on with the stories.

    Over the next few months, I visited with Pete every chance I had. Sometimes I’d do some dredging and others, we’d just sit and talk. He was a storehouse of information. He’s the one who pointed out the old pack mule trail to me and some of the foundations of past miners little cabins. It seemed that almost every time I would visit with him, he had something new to show me.

    I recall him pointing up a gulch and telling me about a ‘ol boy that use to have some pretty good diggings somewhere up there. I did climb up the gulch to an area that had been used as a dump. There was a bunch of rusty cans and a few broken bottles, but I only spent about a half hour looking around and didn’t spot the cabin site in all of the brush. I figured I’d go back up there one day and take enough time to locate the diggings. Well, like many of my plans, that day hasn’t come yet. (lol)

    One of the major lessons I learned was that those “old timers” were a different breed from today’s “prospector/miners”. Even in my early 20’s, I shuddered at the thought of climbing down the side of a mountain to get a bucket of water and having to carry it back up to a cabin, 4 or 5 hundred feet up the mountain.

    One of the many things that Pete taught me that has proved out many times was: water and quartz have a natural affinity for one another. Well, that makes sense doesn’t it? Water trickling through a crack in the base rock of a mountain will carry silicone, which is slowly deposited in the crack, until it is formed into a “seam” of quartz. And, there are other minerals like microscopic particles of gold, manganese, graphite, etc. and these can be deposited too, creating what is commonly called a gold vein. The interesting part of this quartz seam is that usually, there will still be a little seepage of water coming out around or near it.

    So, when I’m out scouting an area in the mountains, I have learned to notice things that are a little unusual for the area. For instance, several weeks after having Pete tell me about what had been a paying mine somewhere up in Good’s Gulch, I decided to go up the gulch and see if I could locate it. He said that even though the mine was producing, it shut down in about 1922, along with most gold mines throughout the U.S.

    Anyway, I hiked (and climbed) about ¾ of a mile up Good’s gulch until I came to a flat, well shaded area. Man, after that up-hill hike, the shade, combined with the coolness coming off of the little creek sure felt good.

    I knelt down, cupped my hands in the water and took a drink. Ahhh, it was like drinking ambrosia.

    I stood back up, still facing the creek, and as my eyes wandered across the hill on the other side, I noticed a large patch of fiddleheads, (Fern,) about 20 foot up the side of the hill. I had learned from Pete about water and quartz usually being found together, and I already knew that as dry as the hills were, this patch of fiddleheads would be brown and dried up right now, if they didn’t have a steady supply of water. So, I studied the side of the hill more closely. After a minute or so, I spotted a faint outline of what was once a trail leading into the fern.

    I had to find a way up to the trail so that I could bypass the blackberry briars that were between the fern and the creek. A few feet down stream, I found an area that was pretty clear of brush and poison oaks, and as luck would have it, the slope was gentle enough that I didn’t climb 3 feet and slide back down 2 of them. (lol)

    I reached the trail and followed it to the fern, and there it was, in all of it’s glory!! An honest to goodness “forgotten mine”.

    Well, maybe not forgotten, Pete had remembered it, and now I had found it. And now that I’m telling you about it, it might never be forgotten. (lol)

    Well, here I am at the mine, and wouldn’t you know it, I had no tools and no way to light my way if I decided to explore it. Let me think,……….Do I want to go into this old mine??................ You betcha!!

    In my next post, I’ll give you a tour of my “Unforgotten Mine”.

    Thanks for reading my rambling!!

    Eagle

  15. #54
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    Medicine/Holy Man

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    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Well, it’s been a couple of weeks since I was last looking at my “forgotten mine”, but, I made it back, and I remembered to bring some tools. (lol)

    By dent of a pick-axe and a shovel, I managed to dig a channel through the slough in the portal for the water to drain out. I could have gone on in, but the water inside was close to knee deep. And I sure wasn’t going to wait a couple more weeks because I didn’t have rubber boots.

    Some of my readers will recognize what I mean by “Slough”. But for the ones who aren’t familiar with the term as used in mining, slough is loose materials that erode off of the side of a hill (or tunnel wall,) and slide down to pile up. Quite often, the portal of an old mine can be completely hidden by slough that has come down the hill from above it. Fortunately, that wasn’t quite the case with this portal. Here, the slough was only a couple of feet deep. Unlike another mine that I’ll get to eventually. (lol)

    Anyway, while I was waiting for the water to finish draining out of the mine, I was looking around at where the initial surge had washed out some of the materials on its way to the creek, when I noticed something peeking out of the briars just below my feet. A closer look showed me that it was a mine rail. Now, I thought, that’s promising. If they had rails in the mine, and were using mine carts, they were surely getting something worthwhile.

    Since the mine was still draining, although much slower, I took the time to go back down to the creek, where I could look directly up towards the mine portal.

    Amazing! When I spotted the end of the mine rail up above, I could track it down into the briars. I discovered that not only had I found a full length of rail, there was another one just a few feet away. (Incidentally, I didn’t take them, so I suspect that they might still be there in the briars.)

    By this time, the drainage was down to just a trickle so I went on back up to the entrance. Now remember, I was young and had more curiosity than good sense. I had brought a Colman lantern to explore with. A trick that I don’t recommend, unless you’re already familiar the mine, and KNOW that it’s safe.

    I was wearing a short-sleeved work shirt, and by this time, it was ringing wet with perspiration. So, when I stepped into the portal, I was met by a much welcome coolness. Ahhh, this feels great! But, by the time I was 20 ft. inside, I was starting to get chill-bumps. (lol)

    I’ll try to give you a picture of the mine now, but I’m not sure that I can describe it well enough. If I can ever afford to make a trip back up there, I’ll take some pictures of it so that you can actually see what I saw.

    I could tell that “they” were following a rather large quartz vein. The main tunnel went pretty much straight into the mountain for about 100 ft. or so.

    I followed it on back, and explored 2 addits that went off to the right. One about 30 ft., and the other perhaps 40 ft. The mine was old enough that there were “ribbon” stalactites on the ceiling in places, and stalagmites formed softball size lumps on the floor and a little of the rails. I never did explore this part of the mine, looking for a paystreak, as I was more interested in the first adit that I had passed on by, about 30 ft inside of the entrance.

    It also went off to the right. Right near the entrance of the addit, I was glad that I did wait to check this addit out, because by this time my teeth were chattering. Between the wet shirt and the coolness of the mine, I wasn’t quite what you would call “comfortable”. (lol)

    I returned to the portal and stepped outside into a VERITABLE FURNACE!!

    Well, after the inside of the mine, that’s what it felt like. I guess it was around 67 degrees inside the mine, and at least 110 in the gulch. Fortunately, there was a slight breeze coming up the gulch from the river, so my shirt dried pretty quickly, and I turned to go back inside.

    Hokay, about 20 ft. inside, there was a dug out area, almost like they were making a room, though I would have to had to bend over to go into it. The ceiling was less than 5 ft. high. Maybe they slept there, or used it for storage. I have no idea. I just knew that I didn’t have a desire to go into it as there was no supports anywhere. In fact, there was no shoring anywhere in the mine.

    As I entered this addit, I noticed that there was a stope going off and up to the right. There was a lot of slough on the floor and it made it feel like I was walking on the side of a hill as the floor now tapered up towards the stope. For about 20 ft. or so, the rails were buried up to a couple of feet deep in the slough.

    After about 50 ft. from the main tunnel, I came to the end of this addit. Where it ended, there was a 90 degree turn, (yeah you guessed it, to the right.) But, this only went about 10 ft. Now, were they following color? Or did they intend to tunnel back outside for easier access to the stringer they were following. One thing that made it more of a mystery was, on the floor at the base of where they stopped, there was a 5 X 5 foot piece of very heavy canvas, neatly spread out like they didn’t want to lose a speck of what they were mining.

    I backed up to the junction and studied the walls. I could see what appeared to be granulated quartz in stringers about 1/8th of an inch apart. I looked up, and on the ceiling were the same little stringers of quartz, in a strip about 8 inches wide.

    I took my U.S. Marine, Mark 2 survival knife and easily gouged out enough to fill a small bag I had with me. (About a half pint worth.) Then I picked up my Coleman lantern and returned to the entrance, where I would have some sunlight to look at the materials I had collected.

    I carried a 10x loupe in my pocket, but when I examined the materials, the only metals I could make out were small yellow pyrites. The rest that I could see was the little pieces of quartz and a lot of some black material. So, I figured the best thing to do would be to return to camp and get out my old gold pan.

    I dumped the little bit of materials back into the bag and brushed my hands together to get rid of the black residue. Hey, this stuff doesn’t brush off. I had to go down to the creek to wash it off. And, I still couldn’t get it all off. So, I gathered up my tools and proceeded back down the gulch to where I had parked my pick-up. With semi-black hands I might add. (lol)

    After arriving back at my camp, it didn’t take me long to break out my gold pan and get to the river bank.

    I soon discovered, if I worked that mine full time, I could probably make a good living processing graphite. (lol) I believe that at least half of my sample was a high grade, easily processed graphite. About the only thing you would need would be a couple of large tanks and a supply of water. One tank to “float” the graphite and settle the heavy materials, and a second tank for the graphite to settle in. Then you could carefully drain the water out of the second tank and scoop up the graphite for drying. (lol)

    But, I did pan enough gold out of the sample to warrant getting a couple more for professional analysis. Though right now, I don’t think it would be worth the effort, because to work the mine and make it pay would require cutting a road in, and I think the BLM would fight it “tooth and nail”, especially since they have turned the river into a recreational area and are making money from camping fees.

    After a quick meal, (one of my gourmet bologna sandwiches,) I waded across the river to Pete’s cabin to get his opinion.

    And I’ll tell you what it was, when I return. (lol)

    Eagle

  16. #55
    us
    Dec 2007
    maui, hawaii
    289
    5 times

    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    eagle, you sure know how to keep somebody on the edge of their seat [ smile ]. really enjoy
    hearingthe stories of your younger days and is very enjoyable. you got to put all these memories
    down on paper because they are golden.
    take care my friend. ron

  17. #56
    us
    Medicine/Holy Man

    May 2010
    California
    Whites MXT, Whites TDI
    1,684
    264 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Quote Originally Posted by maui
    eagle, you sure know how to keep somebody on the edge of their seat [ smile ]. really enjoy
    hearingthe stories of your younger days and is very enjoyable. you got to put all these memories
    down on paper because they are golden.
    take care my friend. ron
    Well friend Ron, you just never know. I am keeping copies in word. I'm even thinking about printing out "hard copies" just in case my computer ever crashes.

    With all the memories I have packed between my ears, it might even become a novel. But then, who would I find to buy it??

  18. #57
    us
    Dec 2007
    maui, hawaii
    289
    5 times

    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    eagle, you write it and i will buy it. i am sure that many more would also buy it and have a great
    read about you, your adventures, and actually a part of history.
    take care my friend. ron

  19. #58
    us
    Medicine/Holy Man

    May 2010
    California
    Whites MXT, Whites TDI
    1,684
    264 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    Quote Originally Posted by maui
    eagle, you write it and i will buy it. i am sure that many more would also buy it and have a great
    read about you, your adventures, and actually a part of history.
    take care my friend. ron
    What can I say my Friend? I appreciate your confidence in my literary abilities, but it takes much more than a story to publish a book. Think money here!

    Maybe if I threw in my Vision Quest and a few "Mystical Happenings", I might get a publisher interested enough to invest the time and money to put it on the market for me.

    In any case, I'll keep it in mind, remembering that anything is possible.

    Love and Respect,

    Eagle

  20. #59
    us
    Medicine/Holy Man

    May 2010
    California
    Whites MXT, Whites TDI
    1,684
    264 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    I hadn’t seen Pete in a couple of week and it was like coming home from a long trip. We greeted each other like it had been months instead of mere weeks. By now, I realized that Pete was the only true family that I had since I was 6 years old and had been placed in an orphanage after my mothers death.

    And I guess we both savored what little time we had with each other. He, a lonely old man, and me, a me, a half-breed Indian who had never known the love of a father. (As I said, I can get pretty emotional when I talk of my time with Pete.) My apologies.

    Anyway, after awhile spent bringing each other up to date about our experiences over the past couple of weeks, I showed him the gold I had panned out from the mine sample. I described the layout of the mine and the size of the streak that I took the sample from.

    He said; “Well, you know, I don’t have any experience in hard rock mining, but I have picked up a little knowledge from the miners that use to work around here, and one thing I did learn, “if you can pan out visible gold from a pay-streak, you can bet that the mine would run at least 4 oz to a ton”. He continued, “Of course, that’s figuring in that you don’t deliberately choose the sample from the richest part of the pay-streak”.
    He explained that the owners of the Mountain King were suspected of having done that very thing when they needed investors so that they could develop the mine. Sometimes, it worked out pretty good, and the mine would go on to strike the “Mother Lode” and everyone would make money from it. That is, except for the “gophers” who did all the digging. But, at least, they didn’t have to worry about getting their wages. “That’s the reason I never worked for any company” he said, “At least my way, I don’t have to depend on anyone else for my income, and, what I get is mine”. “And, if I don’t find anything, I don’t have anyone else to answer to”.

    Since we were in a discussion about hard-rock mines, he told me a little story about the Colorado Mine, “up on the hill”.

    He said; “Back when the Colorado was running "full-bore", they hired a new powder monkey to do their blasting for them”. “Well now, it seems that the new man didn’t study the layout good enough, and without realizing that this particular addit was so close to the surface, he blew a hole right through the roof”.

    After he finished laughing, he went on; “Well, the town folk appreciated it. For several years afterwards, the local church would hold “get-to-gethers” on top of the hill where one of the popular past-times was for the younger men and the kids to wander around picking up chunks of gold and gold ore that was scattered all over tarnation”. “Of course, there were a lot of picnics held up there too”. (lol)

    (THAT story was the first one I’d ever heard that got me to thinking about getting one of those metal detectors that were just starting to become popular.)

    I think that if a person invested the time to do some research, there would still be gold to be found on top of that hill. Check newspaper archives. I would imagine, there would have been announcements of social gatherings and possibly even a story about the “Big Blow-out” on the hill. (lol)

    Well, I know this post is rather short, but I have some work to do, so I’ll get back on it as soon as possible.

    Eagle

  21. #60
    us
    Medicine/Holy Man

    May 2010
    California
    Whites MXT, Whites TDI
    1,684
    264 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: The Many Lost Treasures of Mariposa, CA (Photos Added)

    About this time, I can hear someone saying; “Well, did Pete ever show Eagle where the other gold was hidden”?

    As a matter of fact, yes, he did. Am I going to tell you where to find it?

    Nope!!

    At least not until I go back and look for it myself. I have to put this MXT to work so that it can support itself. (And hopefully, me too.)

    Frankly, I’m not even sure that it would still be in the same places that I was shown. Pete was pretty cagey, and it would be like him to decide I was taking too long to return and to move them somewhere else. I did make a half-hearted attempt to find one of the jars back in the late 1970s but didn’t spend much time on it, so left empty handed. But, on an up-note, I strongly feel that it is still there.

    The problem is, like most “lost treasures”, though you are sure that you’ll never forget the details, the memory loses, or even changes some valuable pieces over several years of not being refreshed with the actual sight of what you intended to remember.

    Trees grow bigger than you knew them. Other trees die and fall down, and then, they’re cut up for firewood. Then, maybe a new one grows, perhaps near, but not exactly where the original one was. When I returned after an absence of about 14 years, the cabin was gone, most of the fruit trees were gone, and the grape vines that Pete tended so lovingly had gone wild and spread out to cover probably 10 times the area that they had occupied before. Actually, about the only things that were changed very little, were the cedar and the apple tree. And, they were bigger.

    But, as generally happens when I start “reliving” this particular era of my of my memories, I lose track of the main story line and start to stray, so I need to back up a little, to where my last post was.

    Pete and I spent a relaxing afternoon, just talking and enjoying the sound of the river. It was getting late and though I didn’t really want to, I knew it was about time for me to return to my camp. We watched as a doe eased quietly through the shadows at the base of the hill and went to the edge of the river for a drink of cool water.

    Pete said, “She’ll come back up here to the apple tree for a quick bite before she starts grazing”. And, sure enough, after her drink, she headed straight for the apple tree. All of the apples had already been eaten from the lower part of the tree, so she had to rear up on her hind legs to reach the ones higher up.

    Beautiful!!

    I stood up slowly and told Pete it would be 2 or 3 weeks before I would be able to come back up and visit. And then, we said our “so longs” and I waded back across and returned to my camp.

    That was the last time I saw the old man. He stood at the edge watching me cross, until I was out of sight, in the growing dusk. I don’t know, but I think he had a premonition that our time together had come to an end.

    It was actually 4 weekends before I could get back up to the river, and when I arrived across from Pete’s cabin, I found that the cabin had burnt to the ground, and, that the old saloon had been burnt down too.

    There was some anger among the people up at Briceburg over the burnings. I was told that about a week after I was last there, Pete had passed away in his sleep and as soon as the Forest Rangers removed his body, they set fire to the cabin and the old saloon. The Rangers claimed they had done it for “public safety”.

    They had come in a few days later with a work crew and cleaned up the area, hauling the ashes out in a couple of dump trucks. At least Pete’s legacy, the old cedar tree only got scorched a little on one side. Oh, and the apple tree was far enough from the fire that it wasn’t damaged.

    I could not find anyone that had any idea of where the dump trucks took their loads, and no one had seen anything like a cast-iron stove on the trucks. As for myself, I had my suspicions about what these good people had been told, and what I feel really happened. But, it was quite a few years later, after seeing some of the underhanded dealings of the Forestry Service and the BLM, that I became convinced, (in my mind,) that Pete was probably murdered to get him out of the way so that they could start developing the river camp grounds. I have no doubts that the cabin was well searched before the fire, and that the gold in the stove had been found.

    In those days, you could go into town and sell gold at just about any business, or trade it for goods. And that’s what Pete had been doing for most of his life. Well, something like that is bound to start tongues wagging. So there were many rumors about ‘ol Pete having gold stashed away somewhere. I had even been asked a couple of times, when I stopped in town, if 'ol Hermit Pete had shown me any of his gold. All I could do was look dumb and ask; "What gold"?

    After this, I had little desire to go to Briceburg for dredging, or any thing else.
    A couple of months later, aerospace started in on a downward trend, and the company I worked for began cutting back on personnel. I had a friend that worked there who had a large family. 12 (count em,) kids, all adopted. So when the lay-offs started getting serious, I volunteered to leave so that he would have a job to the end. I figured it would give him a little breathing space to find something else. It must have helped, I found out later that he started working for IBM shortly after that, and when I returned to CA in 1976, he was still employed by them.

    Any way, shortly after quiting, I met a beautiful young lady and got married. We packed up and moved to Florida where I had a job waiting.

    But, other than to say, after a few months working on auto electrical systems, I became a police officer, where I remained until 1976, when after being injured in the line of duty, I resigned, and my wife and I returned to California. And of course, we brought along our 2 children with us.

    And, we’ll get back to the “lost treasures” in the next post.

    Eagle

 

 
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