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Atwine Lake Mine

As described earlier, there were several out-lying visita type trail missions in the mountains beyond the central mission at Rock Creek. For some time now there have been stories placing one of those small missions near Atwine Lake, high in the Brown Duck drainage east of Kidney Lake. One old cowboy noted that the same Spanish tree signs found near the Rock Creek Mission can also be found near Atwine Lake. A fisherman told of finding what appeared to be foundation stones in that area, while a man and wife team discovered a row of flat stones which may have been part of a wall.

Late in the summer of 1991, a lone traveler made an overnight camp near Atwine Lake, far enough back in the trees so that mosquitoes wouldn't be a problem. After he got his bedroll placed and a campfire burning, he noticed that a nearby clay bank looked as if someone had once dug into it sometime long before. Examining that bank more closely, he saw what appeared to be the square end of a brick or timber protruding several inches from the loose soil. He dug around it with a jack-knife and was amazed to see that it was a metal bar, approximately three inches in width, two inches thick and about sixteen inches long. He estimated that it weighed in excess of one-hundred pounds!

That heavy bar was not badly tarnished or corroded, although pit marks on its surface had turned black, indicating that it might be bullion metal containing some silver. He had to struggle to lilt that heavy bar onto his saddle horse and tie it in place. A later assay made by a reputable firm disclosed that bar was nearly pure silver, but it also contained some copper and a few ounces of gold. A few weeks later he returned to that clay bank with a new metal detector, but he found nothing else. Why that lone bar was found there remains a mystery, but a clue might be that it was found not far from those old foundation stones near Atwine Lake.--Faded Footprints, pg. 129

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