We had so many things to we wanted to to Friday… we decided not to do any of them. Instead we took a short, steep drive to Cripple Creek, Colorado. Over 10,000 feet high… we stumbled upon a hidden treasure, and by treasure I mean GOLD.. gold mining that is 😉
We weren’t sure what to expect when we pulled in, but we had to stop because of all the old antique equipment out in front, and you know Jim and his equipment addiction!!
Apparently they gave mine tours, who doesn’t want to see an old gold mind… we certainly did!! $25 a ticket seemed expensive… especially since we didn’t even see a mine, we had thought maybe we made a mistake… but we already bought our tickets, ya win some and lose lots lol! The next tour started in 25 mins so we had time to explore a little in the back! I bet you could imagine the look on Jim’s face When we saw all the old drills, tractors and mining tools… Even Ella wanted to play with the old toolsNotice the drill steels? Ya me either, but Jim sure did!!
About this time I noticed the previous group come out of an old mining elevator, I heard them call our ticket and my palms started to sweat! I am HORRIFIED of heights, and haven’t been the biggest fan of elevators since one broke well I was working at Ross and I was stuck on it for 6 hours until the fire department showed up to get me and my co worker out… mean-less to say I wasn’t happy about this tour. Jim saw the look on my face and told me I can’t chicken out, he wasn’t about to waste $50 bucks cause I was scared… I mustard up the tiny bit of courage I had and put the dam hard hat on, if this tour was safe why helmets? Besides what’s an a helmet going to do when the old elevator goes out and we all fall 1000s of feet to our death? The guy starts talking…. ” we only go about 5miles per hour, a normal elevator goes 7. We are going about 1000 feet down..” I don’t know what else he said I was trying not to run! He put a group in before us, then it was our turn… jim the baby and I in the back, another family of 3 in next and the guide… the elevator was about 3ft by 3ft… we were crammed… I thought we were going down for sure when the guid told us they use to put 9 men per elevator… I have no idea how they pulled that off but it certainly explains why so many people died back then… well at least that’s what was going on in my head.
Here we go, he rang a bell and we sunk into the darkness… I’m only assuming it was dark, my eyes where closed and I’m pretty sure I broke Jim’s hand! As we were taking our 3 min ride, the guide said it may be a bit bumpy as we were hitting the 4×4 used to build and hold the mine up… if I hadn’t used the restroom, the people below us would have experienced an underground rain… we stopped I opened one eye at a time and realized we were no where near the bottom of this thing, but we were where we needed to be and I just wanted off!! He rang the bell again and the elevators went up…. aaaa don’t we need those to get back up?
We started walking, my fear instantly disappear, the underground mine was so incredibly beautiful… oxidized copper hanging from the ceiling… gold and sulfur crystalizing in the walls… wow!!
It was very well lit, but our amazing guide turned off the lights to show us how dark it was when they use to swing hammers down there…. yeah scary stuff! Every few feet they had a different set up we’d stop and the guid would tell us more interested facts about the old mining days… and every now and then he’d explain how much better it is now days, referring to the mining he does in a different part of the mine we were in. There where drills he ran, Ella wasn’t to happy about, but she never cried, and as soon as it was over she was back to her happy self loving every second of this adventure!
All kinds of cool old equipment they used over 100 years ago that still worked….
Then we came to my favorite part!! The old rail car!! He suggested we take the front with the baby, the only baby on the tour, because it wasn’t as loud…. oh yes our kid is pretty cool… it was a fun little stroll threw the caves that ended us in the tool area.. where some of our group took a crack at the bicycle rail car…. to much fun!!We walked over to the last area full of different people who had owned this mine and a little about them. He told us that this room at one point had been full of gold and the only let miners mine in the underwear after that they were searched and showered…. he told us that one guy out smarted the system ( remember these guys got paid at most $3 an hour) he had a long black beard and he put motor oil in it every morning before entering the mine, as he worked the gold would stick and hide in his beard, every night he’d wash all the gold out and come in ready for more! Well after he died his family found a coffee can full of gold flakes which they donated to a museum… he probably wouldn’t have been happy about that but what’s family for if it isn’t to piss you off, right? One of my favorite stories he’d told us…
Time to pack our selfs into the elevator and head up…. but first he let us pick out rocks from the mine, some had gold flakes, some cooper, some iron…. we couldn’t see that well but I think our family got the best ones for sure!! I think going up was worse than going down, but we didn’t die and I’d have to say this tour was worth every penny even more! We tipped the guide and he hooked Ella up with a special rock from his mine!! I learned so much in that hour underground and even tho it scared me to death I’d do it again in a heart beat!! Jim was amazed at how similar mining and rock fall drilling where and he’s decided that someday somehow he will mine and find gold!! Thank you for reading our families little adventures! Have you ever been down that deep in a mine?