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Dick Hollow Mine

It's been a long time now since anyone has used that old trail which winds down into Dick Hollow, and it's been even longer since strangers have been welcome there. Even livestock men who used to run cattle in those mountains weren't welcome in Dick Hollow. A few of them knew there was an old mine located high in that hollow, above the white ledges and just below Farm Creek Peak, but few of them ever went near it, at least not when they might be seen. Most of those old range riders called it the Bullet Mine, because back in the old days, Indians used to dig lead there to cast into bullets. It wasn't until white men began homesteading nearby that those Indians learned their bullets were made of silver!

"Old Dan" Tucker used to explore around that country when Wallace Jones ran sheep there, and he once came across that old mine. Even then it was covered with pine logs to keep its location a secret. Tucker said it was a shaft sunk on an incline, and that there was no waste dump to give its location away, the rock taken from it being scattered across the mountain side. LaVar Thompson also saw that old shaft many years ago, when there were still dried up rawhide ore sacks and pieces of strange looking leather boots strewn around. Thompson said that he recalled seeing a lot of trees with Spanish mining signs on them. Two of those trees had holes drilled into their sides, so that when sticks were placed in those holes, they pointed across the canyon and crossed right where that mine shaft was located. Many of those trees were burned about forty years ago, according to Thompson purposely burned to destroy those Spanish symbols.

One of the old range riders said that every time he got too close to that old mine in Dick Hollow, an Indian would ride out to meet him and turn him in another direction. The first few times that happened, he thought it only a coincidence, but then he noticed that he was always guided away from that mine. Mark and Bill Bleazard, two brothers who grew up along Rock Creek, recalled that every time they rode too far up Dick Hollow, old Walt Daniels, a Ute Indian who had a cabin on Daniels Flat just downstream from Dick Hollow and the Farm Creek Indian Ranger Station, would suddenly appear to accompany them. They noticed that he always managed to steer them in some other direction. Just a short time ago an incident occurred which goes a long way in explaining why strangers aren't welcome in Dick Hollow.

During October 1987, reports were heard that a young Indian boy had been shot and killed near the mouth of Dick Hollow, in some way as the result of a search for buried treasure. Inquiries failed to disclose any further information until December, when a prospector learned that the youth had been bragging at a local tavern that if anyone wanted to see some real Spanish gold, he could show them where to find it. According to that report, he had been stabbed, not shot. Several months later, a Ute Indian confided to one of his white friends that the youth who had been killed had learned the location of a cache from an older Indian. Local law officers who have no jurisdiction on Indian lands would only say that the investigation was an Indian matter.

Then late in 1988, another story was heard that Ute Police had apprehended two male Indian juveniles near Dick Hollow on Rock Creek with four bars of Spanish gold in their possession. Those bars allegedly came from a cache hidden in an old mine which the youths had heard older Indians talking about, a cache which was said to be sacred and which no Indian was allowed to go to. Although there is a similarity between the two accounts, it is almost certain they are separate incidents. Those stories became more than just rumor when several reliable persons were shown a photograph of two young Indian men standing at the rear of a pickup truck, under arrest by Indian Police and wearing handcuffs. On the open tailgate of the truck were four bars of gold! Those who saw the photographs were cautioned not to reveal the identity of the two youths, since both were juveniles and both were closely related to Ute tribal leaders.

One official who was contacted acknowledged that he was aware of the incident, but stated that since it was an Indian affair, it was being investigated without Duchesne County assistance. Soon after that, a tribal leader stopped two white prospectors who were in the Farm Creek area and warned them not to go into Dick Hollow. There is something else happening at Dick Hollow which even the oldest nearby residents say is unusual. Recently an old Ute from nearby Roosevelt has been seen digging at that old mine there, no doubt with the tribe's knowledge. It is unusual, for no one can recall when a Ute was allowed to dig around one of those old Spanish mines. There has always been strict religious reservations against doing so. The question many local people are asking is he digging for treasure, or is he moving treasure? Consider the following, and then you decide.

A peculiar coincidence recently occurred near Dick Hollow. Two men camping and prospecting in that area both saw the same thing, but from entirely different vantage points; yet neither man was aware of the other or even suspected there was anyone else near him. A California prospector had been hiking in the Rock Creek area for several days. To escape from the millions of mosquitoes along the river bottom, he climbed atop a lone hill on Daniels Flat to make his camp, where he hoped evening breezes would keep the insects away. About midnight he was awakened by a helicopter passing low overhead. That copter had no running lights, but he could see it clearly against the night sky, and he watched it drop down into Dick Hollow. Just before day light he saw that copter again, as it left Dick Hollow and again flew low over his unseen camp. There wasn't any mistake about what he saw, for about a week later he saw that same copter again, flying into Dick Hollow late a night and leaving again just before dawn.

He had no idea there was anyone else in Rod Creek Canyon, but unknown to him, a man from Alaska who was vacationing in that area had ridden his horse into McAfee Basin, overlooking Dick Hollow, where he made camp. He said that late at night, about midnight he heard a helicopter coming into Rock Creek Canyon from the east, and he heard it drop into Dick Hollow where it landed. He thought it strange and probably unsafe for a copter to be flying at night with no running lights, but he gave it no further thought until just before daybreak when that copter flew out of Dick Hollow About a week later he saw that same copter return to Dick Hollow. Once again it was late at night, but the moon was bright and he walked to the edge of the basin where he look down into the canyon below. He recalled thinking that the pilot must be skillful to land there at night. That copter left the canyon at the first light of day.

The intriguing thing about those helicopter flight is that both of the men related almost exactly the same story. Both versions were related shortly after the flights occurred, yet neither man was aware there was anyone else in that area. Investigation of those flights revealed something else of interest. A family who lives at nearby Talmage, just east of Rock Creek, also told of hearing those midnight flights over their home. Further, three men in a fixed-wing aircraft who had flown into that area to take infra-red photos reported seeing a black colored helicopter flying out of Rock Creek early in the morning. It is interesting that very few people in the Uinta Basin own helicopters, and one of them is a Ute Indian. Some have wondered where he gets enough money to live in the style he does, or how he can afford a helicopter. Not long ago he flew several people on a charter flight along Rock Creek Canyon. As they passed over Dick Hollow, he pointed down and said, "That's my bank! Right down there!"--Faded Footprints, pg. 89

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