Saturday, December 20, 2008

THE OLD TUMCO MINING TOWNSITE

THE HOSPITAL WALLS

Always amazes me how the temperatures can vary so much in just a matter of feet. On the south side of the rig where the sun is shining it's warm enough for short sleeves but if you walk around to the other side of the motorhome, you have to put a sweater or coat on or your gonna be cold. Guess that tells me the daytime desert air is cool but the sun's rays are warming. It's a lot like our early spring days in Ontario.

We headed off for the short drive to the old abandoned gold mining town of Tumco about 4 miles up Ogilby road. It's a short half mile bumpity drive along a gravely stone road to the trailhead & just a few minutes walk to the townsite. There are no buildings left here, only some stone foundations, a cellar, some stucco & stone walls, a cemetery, a few concrete pieces & thousands & thousands of rusting cans & various pieces of metal. Tumco was a mining boom town in the 1890's with about 500 people & the only thing that stirs here now is the wind coming in off the dry California desert. http://www.desertusa.com/colorado/hedges_tumco/du_hedged.html

THE TOWN'S CEMETERY

We spent the best part of 3 hours walking the mile or so around where the townsite had been. The mine itself was further back at the base of the Cargo Muchacho Mountains. Tried to imagine what it would have been like here over a hundred years ago on a typical Saturday morning in the month of December just before Christmas. Men probably worked the mine 7 days a week & the townsfolk would have been busy with their company stores, social clubs, local saloon, many houses & hospital. Hard to imagine all the hustle & bustle as I stood at the cemetery site overlooking where the town used to be. We noticed there didn't seem to be any kind of life here at all now. No birds, no animals, few trees, & no sounds. Only the wayward wind. And 28 stony grave sites. 4 LARGE CYANIDE VATS

It was particularly interesting standing at the site & walking down into the cellar of the place called, The Miner's Club. This was a saloon complete with billiard & pool tables where miners played, drank, roughhoused, & spent time with the ladies. As I stood in the basement with all it's old rusting tin cans & bits of forgotten memories I tried to imagine the carryings on of the all the characters just above me in the wild saloon on a rollicking Saturday night. The drinking, the fights, the guns, the laughter, the girls, the carousing & the shenanigans. This was probably quite a place in it's day. IN THE BASEMENT OF THE MINER'S CLUB SALOON

The largest man made structures still remaining are the 4 huge metal cyanide tanks up on a hillside. Weak solutions of cyanide were used in the mining process to separate the ore from the gold. Those tanks are slowly disintegrating now & have been filled with clay but we were able to walk through them & marvel at the heavy timbers the tanks were sitting on. I always find it difficult to understand how people did things years ago without all the wonders of modern technology & machinery. If only we could enter a time capsule & travel back to those times to see how they lived. I always find historical things fascinating, so to-day was not only a good learning experience, it was also a good day for getting some much needed exercise. OUR CHIEF SCROUNGER

From the Tumco site we headed further up Ogilby Road looking for another road we heard led back into a canyon. We didn't find the canyon but we found another curious site in the desert. I'll save that for to-morrow's blog.

We were back to the rig by 3 & I kicked back in the lounge chair for a little solar delight. Kelly built a campfire later & we had some steaks on the barbie until the sun began to set & then it was quickly inside as the desert air temperatures plunged rapidly. It was the end of another fine day.....................

OUR PHOTO ALBUMS http://picasaweb.google.com/stargeezerguy/

2 comments: