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Alvarez DeLeon Mine

Aaron Daniels knew Dry Fork well. He once told how he came upon an ancient looking mine tunnel there, badly caved in but still with a small hole he could crawl back into. He said there were skeletons of dead men inside that tunnel, and Spanish marks on its walls. He returned later to dig out that caved portal, but by then tons of loose rock had slid down the mountain to cover it completely. But on a ledge close by that tunnel, he found a name cut into ledge rock: Alvarez de Leon, 1669!--Faded Footprings, pg. 168

"Dry Fork Canyon branches up near the Indian writing, and back up the North Branch is where I found the tunnel which caved in just big enough for a man to crawl into, dropping straight down and on the floor was a lot of old Indian Pottery filled with ore and back farther was some old bones of dead men and two kids it looked like. There was strange marks all over the wall which I think was Spanish signs because they looked like the ones on the trees, but when I went back two years later, there was nothing to be found. You should someday search for it. I still have the name written down here that l found on the ledge of Dry Fork. It was Alvarez De Leon, and the date says Anno Domini 1669." [from Aaron Daniel's journal] --Lost Gold of the Uintah, chapter 9

Nearly thirty years ago I [Kerry Boren] was exploring Dry Fork Canyon, in search of an inscription on the ledges which an old-timer had informed me was carved there in 1896 by Butch Cassidy, when I discovered an inscription of a different kind. In the vicinity of "Doughnut Rock Arch," just west of the mouth of North Fork, high on a cliff face, large bold letters deeply etched into the rock face displayed the name and date: ALVAREZ DE LEON-ANNO DOMINI 1669.

I was not the first or only discoverer of the inscription: Shirl Atwood found the inscription many years ago as a boy playing along the ledges in the main canyon, but he reports that it was not far from the "Remember the Maine" flag painted on the cliff side near the mouth of Dry Fork Canyon. Perhaps there is more than one inscription-Stephen Shaffer, author of The Lost Josephine Mine (1987), states that "On a ledge in Dry Fork Canyon northeast (sic) of Vernal, Utah, we found this inscription: ALVAREZ DE LEON ANNO DOMINI 1669."--Gold of Carrie Shinob, pg. 117

There is some speculation as to where this mine and the inscription “Alvarez DeLeon--Anno Domini 1669” is located. There seems to be two areas of interest. One is where Kerry Boren claims to have seen it in the Doughnut Rock Arch area and the other is much lower in the canyon near Merkley Park where Ashley Creek and Dry Fork Creek come together. If anyone finds it, let me know.

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