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Smelter Springs Tree Ladder Mine

Another who may have stumbled onto an old mine near the Dry Fork sink hole was a prospector from Oklahoma. Every year for ten years or more he made the long trip from his home to prospect that area. Sometimes he worked with a Ute Indian who was then a member of the tribal council. Those who met him in the mountains said he had an old map given to him by his Indian partner. They said that map was almost exactly the same as the Mine Of Lost Souls Map given to the author by Arlo McDaniel. That Oklahombre found many interesting places along Dry Fork, including old stone trail markers and Spanish signs on trees and rocks. During his last trip to Dry Fork, he climbed atop a large rock so that he might get a better view of the forested mountain side he was on. To his surprise he saw what looked like a hand-built ladder sticking out from under a giant pine which had fallen by that rock. Investigating that ladder, he discovered a near-vertical shaft under that log.

It didn't take long to ascertain that sometime long ago that huge pine had been purposely felled over the shaft. When it fell, the tree trunk broke into several sections, so that he was able to move the piece which covered the shaft. The old ladder of poles with cross-pieces tied to them with rawhide was so old it fell apart when he began to put weight on it, but he was able to see that the shaft led down into a square-cut room-like chamber, with a drift or side tunnel leading directly back under Lake Mountain. Being alone at the time, he couldn't get down into that room, but when he returned to Oklahoma, he sent photos and directions how to find that shaft.

I relayed the prospector's story and photos to another prospector who lives near Dry Fork, and he examined those old diggings. He quickly found evidence that the shaft and underground chamber were man-made, and he even crawled back into that caved tunnel for more than two-hundred feet, to where it was closed off at a cave-in. He examined a large stope or room where he found parts of very old crude tools, and he pocketed samples of ore which were undoubtedly silver. An assay verified his findings, but because of the shaft's remote location he decided against trying to reopen those caved workings. But if you check a topo map of Lake Mountain and Dry Fork you will see some-thing of interest. That tunnel was being driven straight towards Smelter Springs on the opposite side of the ridge, a place many believe is close to Carre-Shin-Ob.--Faded Footprints, pg. 168

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