Tulameen - 2016
I was on the road. I had a long drive ahead of me.
"Mitch" Greg greets me as he answers his phone
"Hello sir" I said
"Where you off to now?" Greg asked.
"I am heading for the Tulameen area to have a look at some ground for a client. Do some sampling" I answered
"Check out Granite Creek" he suggested
"What's the story on Granite Creek?" I asked.
Greg was able to get me in touch with the current owner and I was able to get a tour of this old mine.
What an operation! The tunnel was partially caved in but relatively intact. The interior supports were rotted away and laying in about a foot of water.
It was exciting for me to have such an opportunity to explore something so rare and completely unknown to me. Coincidentally, it was also my sons birthday
The mine owner and I spent the better part of the day exploring, panning and sampling this old mine.
The tunnel work was solid but the potential for a slab of rock
Even through the gloves the water was very cold.
There is a smell to this old mine like mildew and mould. The air is stale and humid from the water covering the ground. Some of the tunnel walls are covered in mould or some kind of fungus.
Amongst the pieces of gold and platinum in my pan was what looked like a black stone. However, It was too heavy to be a stone. Turns out it was magnetite.
I had a look through the stopes that were still open and very dangerous. I was fascinated to be looking up to see placer on bedrock.
"In the 1920's there was a placer mine where they tunneled into the hard rock and stope upwards into the placer. When the roots and the squirrels started coming in, they would stop". He laughed as he finished.
I had to pull over for this. I was fascinated as I had never heard of placer miners tunneling into bedrock and then stope upwards into the pay gravels.
He went on " This mine reopened in the 1980's. A couple Americans acquired the mining property.
My mining partner One Eyed Ed was hired on as a mine manager. A local homesteader was also in on a deal to receive a percentage of gold."
They mined for two years making a couple million at 200 per ounce or so. The Americans never kept their word on paying the old homesteader.
My mining partner was pissed when he saw the homesteader lose in a court battle over his share of the gold.
Eventually the mine was abandoned and not long after that, the two Americans died in a plane crash." He finished.
crashing down was very real. I was hard pressed to believe that the hard hat I was wearing would stand a snowballs chance in hell of protecting my head.
There were two main tunnels. The original main tunnel (1920's)was filled with mine waste from the 1980's. The 1980's tunnel is much larger and with six to seven branches into stopes.
Many of the worked stopes have caved in leaving some nice gravels to pan.
We used the water inside the mine to pan some material. The water is a little creepy and I was thankful to have gloves on. No telling what kind of bacteria was thriving in that water.
The day waned and we emerged from the old mine into the brilliance of the afternoon sun. I now knew what it was to appreciate the fresh air around me.
It was my last day in the area and it was time to head north.
Thank you - Leighton Woolsey (Aka) Mitch Mortensen