May 16, 2012
So, without giving too much away, I’m writing something that takes place in an old mine. Since I live in Colorado, where the early economy was based on stuff dug out of old mines, I decided to take a couple of tours to see what they’re really like. Last week, I was in Cripple Creek, at the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine, which is cool for a number of reasons, one of which being it was first claimed and owned by a woman, Mollie Kathleen Gortner, which wasn’t often done in those days. The tour is worthwhile, if you ever find yourself in that area. From a research standpoint, it was incredibly useful, because I discovered my own mental pictures of gold and silver mines comes straight out of Hollywood and Indiana Jones movies, and isn’t entirely accurate. As is usually the case, a lot of what I learned won’t go into the story, but having a really good mental image of what the place looks like, what methods were used to tunnel, and what gets left behind will help the story immensely. And I took pictures.
The old sorting house. Cripple Creek is at 9,000 ft altitude, and it was a chilly, foggy day.
This is looking up into a vertical shaft, from which the gold was actually removed (horizontal tunnels were for transport and access).
Copper and iron precipitate on the tunnel wall. The mine’s been out of use long enough, stalactites and stalagmites, thin as wires, are starting to form in some places. Weird and beautiful.