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The Bunk House of Silverton

Now that I finally knew the route to the old Bunk House (or Boarding House) on the cliff at the 12,000 foot mine, it was time to do it! I drove up a road that was really meant for ATVs or small jeeps, but the odds were pretty good that I wouldn't pass any other motor vehicles. Vacationers don't like early starts or dead end roads, and Labor Day was over.

Maybe this is why they invented ATVs and Jeep Wranglers!

I parked below treeline in order to enjoy hiking through it and into the open. We hiked the narrow footpath that presumably was used to build the tramway that sent ore down from the mine, and supplies and men up to the Bunk House.

It was no mystery how miners chose a spot to start digging: they looked for quartz veins at the surface. Gold dissolves in quartz at high temperature. Indeed you can still see such quartz veins.

This was the steepest face we have hiked on, this summer. My little dog enjoys scaring me by scampering by me, on the outside of course, and sending small rocks rolling down the side of the mountain. The outside corners of the trail reminds one of Roadrunner and Coyote cartoons, where cars go leaning out over the edge as they round the corner.

Finally we got our first view of the Bunkhouse. The fly fisherman of three posts past said that a preservation society landed a helicopter up there to re-roof the buildings. Where on earth did they land the helicopter?! Maybe it had to lower supplies with a rope. The trail approached the Bunkhouses about 100 feet above them. 

At first I was disappointed to see the trail end, leaving no way to get down to the Bunkhouses for a non-climber. But it was nice to see the Bunkhouse keep its aura of mystique. The Bunkhouse had line of sight to Silverton. My cellphone even worked.

Let's hope the miners could afford a brass telescope, and after a hard day in the mines, sat out on the porch and smoked their pipes, and passed the telescope back and forth. They looked back to town, and dreamed of all the blandishments on Blair Street, if only they'd get lucky this time.