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Mining in the Borderlands, AZ
mini location map2017-01-15
46 by photographer avatarGrottoGirl
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Mining in the Borderlands, AZ 
Mining in the Borderlands, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jan 15 2017
GrottoGirl
Hiking1.00 Miles 320 AEG
Hiking1.00 Miles
320 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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airkewled
We had heard rumors about a mining pit so deep that it had its own weather system. So finally the day came for us to check out this enigma and see if it was true.

The forecast was for rain but we figured it didn't matter since essentially we'd be underground if everything worked out. The weather barely rose above a drizzle down by the border so we ended up having a great time.

Our intro to the mining area was the remains of an adobe house. Near there we discovered what appeared to be lava flow, however we knew that made no sense. If only we knew a bit more about mining techniques of the past. We also found a building that had really thick limestone walls. We wondered if that may have been the bank at one point! It might have been impenetrable in its day!!!

Then the moment we were waiting on came. We saw a gated vertical mine shaft! We checked it out and nearly believe there wasn't a way in until Kevin spotted that one side had an opening that we could fit! We had brought over 1000 ft of rope between the two of us so we decided to rig two ropes and rappel at the same time. Nothing is more fun that tandem vertical work!

Getting on rope was an adrenaline rush. Screw up and you fall 300 ft! I figure it was especially anxiety producing since I was using my 300 ft 8 mm canyoneering rope right next to Kevin's fat pit rope! Kevin tied his two pit ropes together so he had nearly 300 ft as well. Then we both slung another rope bag onto our harnesses just in case.

I was happy to finally have a reason to use my long micro rack. I wanted to make sure to have a lot of control since the entire rappel was a free hang. As Kevin navigated his first knot challenge, I hung out just in case. Of course he didn't need any help and soon we were descending again. We continued to descend checking out the man made walls of the shaft. We discovered there was a couple horizontal shafts along the way and we even saw what looked like a tight fissure with cave formations.

Kevin reached the end of his two ropes and then tied on his third rope about 20 feet above the ground. I continued to rappel until about 10 feet above the ground. Bummer I reached the end of my rope... so I tied on my extra rope so that I could reach the ground. Talk about a bummer - passing a knot just a few feet above the ground. I didn't just drop of the end because we figured that the rope had stretched out and would hover well above our heads if I let go.

When we got to the ground we were shocked to find passageway! So we explored branch after branch. Systematically, we worked our way through the mine ensuring we didn't get lost. Of all the mines I've been in this one has the most leftover paraphernalia I've seen. We were treated to a bit of rail, some ties, tins, boxes that held explosives at one point, fuses, and more! It was a lot of fun exploring it.

We discovered another another pit within the mine. I can see where someone unaware might accidentally stumble and fall in. That pit however is full of water so the drop wouldn't be life threatening, however, who knows what is in there or how deep it really is...

I like mining shafts that are underground. If modern technic mimicked the past I work probably would not be as against mining as I am. However, strip mining is not pretty. In the area we saw a lot of evidence of strip mining. While nature was trying to take it over there were definite scars to the landscape that will never be recovered. While trees can try to fill in the void - it just looks freaking weird!
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