It took me the better part of a day to explore this abandoned mine and I didn’t even cover the whole site. If you look at a satellite view of this mine (the coordinates are in the description in the first video), you can see that there are workings over the hill behind the mill (rhyming unintentional) that I did not visit. I have no reason to believe that this part of the mine would be dramatically different than that which we have already seen, but still, it speaks to the massive size of the Santa Lucia Mine. Of course, those workings over the hill are more remote and the more remote a mine is, the better the discoveries to be made there in our experience. So, who knows what might be back there?
I hope that what I was trying to explain with the layout of the adits when I was underground made sense. Essentially, what I was saying is that with the older workings the miners burrowed their way through the mountain and, I would imagine, extracted a fair amount of ore via the room and pillar method or through enormous stopes. As technology advanced and open pit (also called open cast) mining became more economical, the miners just hammered straight through the mountain and removed a significant part of it. In doing so, they rammed right through the older workings, causing these drifts to cave in and to be filled with rubble. Regrettably, the two adits we found that led to workings that had not been smashed through by the open pit were both totally inaccessible (the one in the first video was flooded to the top and the one in this video was caved right at the portal). Given the number of muckers as well as the trammer, ore carts and other mining equipment, I would imagine those workings were pretty extensive and it would be interesting to see how this deposit of ore was mined (as well as, of course, to see what sort of artifacts the miners might have left behind).
I also hope that the way the mill functioned makes more sense now after having had a chance to see the second video with the first half of the mill. I unknowingly explored the mill backwards when I visited as I visited the second half of the ore processing facility in the first video and the first half of the mill in the second video. That even sounds confusing to me and I am the one that wrote it. So, hopefully, all of you followed that.
All of these videos are uploaded in HD, so adjust those settings to ramp up the quality! It really does make a difference.
You can see the gear that I use for mine exploring here: https://bit.ly/2wqcBDD
You can click here for my full playlist of abandoned mines: https://goo.gl/TEKq9L
Thanks for watching!
Growing up in California’s “Gold Rush Country” made it easy to take all of the history around us for granted. However, abandoned mine sites have a lot working against them – nature, vandals, scrappers and various government agencies… The old prospectors and miners that used to roam our lonely mountains and toil away deep underground are disappearing quickly as well.
These losses finally caught our attention and we felt compelled to make an effort to document as many of the ghost towns and abandoned mines that we could before that colorful niche of our history is gone forever. But, you know what? We enjoy doing it! This is exploring history firsthand – bushwhacking down steep canyons and over rough mountains, figuring out the techniques the miners used and the equipment they worked with, seeing the innovations they came up with, discovering lost mines that no one has been in for a century, wandering through ghost towns where the only sound is the wind... These journeys allow a feeling of connection to a time when the world was a very different place. And I’d love to think that in some small way we are paying tribute to those hardy miners that worked these mines before we were even born.
So, yes, in short, we are adit addicts… I hope you’ll join us on these adventures!