"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

13 January 2015

Mystery in the Hollow

One of the-many-things I love about where I live is there are still treasures and adventures to be found not far from the doorstep. That, after all our years of living here, there are still things to discover. Things, which can sometimes confound old-timers and historians. It is part of the mysticism of our Sahel.

The wooded area between Wide-Awake and Daisy Gulch is an area I call the Hollow. I will maintain that I never choose a moniker for a someone or something, but that it chooses whatever, and it is up to whatever to figure out what that means. A neighbor/professional acquaintance had told me of ruins up Daisy Gulch shortly before my birthday. Mentioning ruins to Sabina is akin to mentioning heroin to a junkie. She all but salivates, which is vaguely amusing given my archaeological interests.

Upon our initial exploration of the area, we found a few fairly well-defined roads, but the ruins we were told of were closer to tree-line, which we didn't get to. There were still some things we found, and being back in those woods during leaf season was striking. We resolved to go snowshoeing there come winter.

The was not without its challenges what with CDOT liking to plow just about everyone else under with snow in the name of keeping the roadways open-thanks, government!-making places to pull off a bit of dubious proposition. It was by luck and a whim we found one such spot the other day. Although, there were snowmobile tracks marking out most of the roads in the Hollow, Sabina did note one trail we had wanted to explore that was pristine. I broke through the deep snow to quite the bit of fascination.

Ice crystals over an open mine tunnel...

Formations inside the tunnel, standing like phantom sentinels...

Anyone who has been playing along at home knows Tuesday is my usual walkabout day. Aside from the fact that routines are for squares, Sabina and I were both savagely curious about our find. I decided to do something other than walking.

The upper part of the valley is part of a National Historic Landmark District, which is sort of like a national park, and, thus, in some dysfunctional way, fulfilling a childhood wish of mine to live in either a museum or a nature preserve. It goes without saying there are a lot of Historically-minded cats up here and we know a few. That was how I ended up in the basement of the courthouse talking to the county archivist.

Page one of the documentation of the Blue Bell Mine of which our find is based to be a part of...

Back in my roaring twenties, if I said I was curious about something, Jezebel would warn me about getting into trouble, and, sometimes, my dear friend was right. However, there have been times when my curiosity has led to high adventure. I never worry about it either way. See, although curiosity can kill a cat, said cat has more than one life, ergo, making a single death a mere trifle instead of anything of consequence.


  1. Wow, really cool. I couldn't read the dates on the document. Has the mine been abandoned for a long time? The name made me smile. Hard to picture gnarly ol' prospectors calling a mine The Blue Bell. Stories behind stories. I love history stuff. ;D

    1. The date on that document in the picture is from 1956, but dates on the paperwork go back into the 1920s and there was something written about the claim as far back as 1892, one year before the silver crash, which all but disemboweled Colorado's mining industry. The archivist asked me to get coordinates the next time I head that way, because an open hole that close to people is a recipe for potential stupid human tricks. I want to see how long the phantoms last.

  2. Very cool mine...I came here and read part of this before, but I must have fallen asleep or been called away before I got to the pictures. I do almost always read everything you write, even though I may not have time to comment, you know.

    1. I'm flattered. I do miss seeing your stuff with more frequency.

      We're looking forward to further explorations once the snow melts, perhaps uncovering more holes. Unfortunately, I don't think the phantoms will be around in warmer times of the year, even though tunnels maintain a constant temperature.