top of page
Lost Rhoades Gold Header.jpg

Cedar Valley Mine

Just east a few miles past Woodland, a narrow dirt track leads off towards the foothills and the edge of the cedars, to what is appropriately called Cedar Valley. An old logging road once led up the mountain side there, but hardly a trace of it remains now. Old mining claim maps from the 1860s show several sawmills along that road, as well as cabins and houses where mill workers lived, but there is no sign of them now. Several mining claims are also shown, with even less of them remaining. But just off that old timber trail, at the edge of a cliff overlooking the valley below, hidden behind a stand of cedar trees, Ronald Krause discovered an old mine, a vertical shaft he estimated to be about forty-feet deep. There isn't any waste dump to give its location away, for rock dug from it was thrown over the cliff, making a natural looking rock slide. When Krause first saw that mine, there were still pieces of an old-time hand operated "cigurna" or whim hoist standing guard over that dark pit, but over the years since it has rotted away and fallen into the depths. Krause knew he had found something unique, but he was hunting deer and didn't have the necessary equipment to explore its unknown depths.

Since that discovery, Krause has led the author and "Old Dan" Tucker back to that old shaft, where the author descended to its bottom. That shaft wasn't forty feet deep as Krause had thought, but over one-hundred feet, nearly straight down! It had been dug just off the vertical and in the manner of Spanish shafts, it is round without supporting timber. There are traces of silver and copper in the narrow ore vein at its bottom, but it was evident that those early miners had taken every bit of ore carrying any good values. Descending that shaft hadn't been easy, but trying to climb back out was worse. Its walls were slick and wet with moss, and there were few footholds. It was scary! There is an old miner's saying which pretty well describes it: "If you want to learn how to pray, go down into the mines!"

But that trip with Krause wasn't lost time, for less than a mile from that shaft we discovered another old digging. While crawling through oak brush we came upon a very old mine dump. It would have gone unnoticed had we not seen the squared end of a timber protruding above the ground. Examination revealed it had once been part of a whim hoist, a primitive hand-made affair turned by manpower. That recently found digging is without doubt located on the same ore vein as the Krause shaft. Although there is a waste dump, it can't be seen by anyone not actually crawling through that heavy brush. Its size indicates an extensive underground working, but there is no sign of either a shaft or tunnel portal. A depression in which century-old aspens now grow may be a shaft site, but probing with long metal rods has so far failed to break through rocks and timber which cover it.--Faded Footprints, pg. 33

bottom of page