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Ghost Mines of Yosemite (1958) by Douglass Hubbard


A GALLOWS FRAME OVERLOOKS TUOLUMNE MEADOWS
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A GALLOWS FRAME OVERLOOKS TUOLUMNE MEADOWS

13. FORGOTTEN

WHILE BENNETTVILLE was growing up, miners swarmed over the Central Sierra. More than 350 mining locations were made in the Tioga District alone. 34 A high percentage of these were along the white ore belt which runs through Tioga Hill and along the western slopes of Mounts Dana and Gibbs. Today all are forgotten. An occasional rock pile or weathered stick marks on old claim but their names—White Horse, Chief of Tioga, Bunker Hill, Little Johnny, are found only in musty mining records. 35

On the western side of Mount Gibbs, overlooking Tuolumne Meadows is an old mine whose gallows frame rises above a deep shaft. Its capstan and brake were skillfully made of wood except for braces of metal. The old miner carefully cached his tools beneath the timbers before he left, and there they remained through dozens of winters until they were found and taken to the Yosemite Museum.

A little settlement lies a mile or so to the south of this mine. If it had a name it is long forgotten. In a window of one of its flat-roofed, avalanche-resistant stone cabins a piece of old glass remains. A gently-graded sled road leads south, directly to Mono Pass, where stand the five whitebark pine cabins of the Golden Crown and Ella Bloss mines. These were the property of the Great Sierra Company, and assessment work was done as late as 1890.

At the headwaters of the Dana Fork, about a mile southeast of Mono Pass, lies a small lake, jewel-like in an alpine setting. The topographic map calls it Parker Pass Lake.

Here Orlando Fuller, the locator of the Golden Crown and Bloss mines at the head of Bloody Canyon and the pioneer prospector and miner of this region has a cabin hanging, so to speak, over a lake still frozen over [Aug. 15] so that a horse can walk over the ice with safety . . . 36

Fuller has been gone for a long time now, and the snows and winds have reduced his cabin to its elements. It may still be found, though, and today’s explorer of this beautiful region can pause for a moment to meditate beside Fuller’s battered coffeepot and enjoy the view which greeted the old miner nearly fourscore years ago.

In the saddle between Dana and Gibbs is a pile of mill-sawed lumber. Weathered to a bleached gray it is still in the neat, old-fashioned triangular stack in which it was placed so many years ago. The wood is ponderosa pine, 37 but how it got there is another of the mysteries of this fascinating country, where man carried on frenzied activities for a short tme, then left for new fields. The traces of his life here remain only in the form of unanswered riddles.

OLD AVALANCHE-PROOF CABIN ON MOUNT GIBBS
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OLD AVALANCHE-PROOF CABIN ON MOUNT GIBBS
A BIT OF WINDOW GLASS REFLECTS THE PAST
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A BIT OF WINDOW GLASS REFLECTS THE PAST
FULLER’S CABIN, PARKER PASS LAKE
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FULLER’S CABIN, PARKER PASS LAKE


GOLDEN CROWN CABINS, MONO PASS
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GOLDEN CROWN CABINS, MONO PASS
OLD LUMBER BETWEEN DANA AND GIBBS
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OLD LUMBER BETWEEN DANA AND GIBBS


WOODEN CAPSTAN, MOUNT GIBBS
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WOODEN CAPSTAN, MOUNT GIBBS


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