The Morning Glory Mine

Alleghany, California

 

   Before I begin this story, I would like to point out the fact that this mine is not abandoned. In fact, it belongs to a friend of mine. Maybe you've heard of him, Michael Miller, the President of  "The Original Sixteen to One Mine." So, if you read this story and get the urge to go see for yourself...DON'T!!! But, if you absolutely have to, well, my advice would be to get in touch with Mr. Miller. I would suggest e-mail or snail-mail. Getting him on the phone is next to impossible! For contact information, go to www.origsix.com. Maybe, for the right amount of money...

 

   It was September of 1992. I was on a 16 day mining trip to California. "Lady Luck" was not with me as I pulled into Reno, Nevada. My four wheel drive truck was overheating.....a cracked head! Oh, well. Since I was already in Reno, I might as well gamble a little, right? In about a dozen spins of the roulette wheel, I walked away with $625. Four days later, my truck was ready to go. And, so was I. Since I had lost valuable time, my prospecting plan now turned into a "How fast can I be mining plan. "Rule #1: If you want to find gold, go where gold has been found." I had found gold in the creek at the Osceola Mine when Bob Vance and I had dredged the creek for Mike Miller on a percentage basis back in '79, '80, and '81. Remember 1980, when gold hit an all time high? $850/oz. Everybody was mining gold. So, off to Alleghany I went. I found Mike, busy as usual, and asked him if I could stay at the Osceola and dredge the creek like I had in the past. To my dismay he said, "No." They were actively mining on the Osceola-Red Star project. I asked Mike if he knew of a good spot to go dredging and a place to stay. "Well, I suppose you could stay at the Morning Glory, and you might try dredging the creek there." As Mike gave me the combination to the gate lock I figured things were finally coming together. Little did I know...

   The water was very low in the creek. A four inch dredge was definite overkill. I unpacked my two inch dredge and carried it down to the creek. It only took about fifteen minutes to assemble the dredge and I was ready to suck gravel. I dredged and dredged and dredged, until it was almost dark. As I walked up to my truck, a strange thing happened. All of the hair on the back of my neck stood up. Then I had goose bumps on my arms. It felt like someone was watching me...but, there was nobody else around. Then, that little voice we sometimes hear, the one that either gets us in or out of trouble, said loud and clear, "Get in the truck...Get in the truck, NOW!!!" "And don't come out!" "Not even if you have to go...(you know)." I felt like I had just dodged a bullet or something. At least so I thought.

   The evening turned into night. There wasn't a moon, just a lot of stars. Some stars move real fast and some move real slow. Lots of them don't move at all. I guess the ones that move aren't stars. Time to go to sleep. As I drifted off, something woke me. The sound of someone yelling. "Was that the radio?" I asked myself. I listened out the window to see if someone was walking or driving by...nope. I fell asleep and dreamed that someone was trying to steal my blanket by reaching in through the window of my truck. It was a real tug-of-war until they let go. There was a big thud as I won the battle which woke me up. I had left my window down a little bit for some fresh air and noticed I had a death grip on my blanket. Back to sleep. There are a lot of noises at night when your camping. The wind, deer, pack rats, rocks rolling, etc.. All of which you get used to and ignore. Then a noise in the tall weeds next to my truck. No big thing. Then the voice of a young girl, speaking a foreign language, asking a question. That was it !!! "I'm out of here!" I turn the key in the ignition switch and click-click-click. Dead battery! I'm stuck here until the sun comes up.

   As I'm waiting for dawn I'm trying to figure out what my next move is. Should I walk a couple miles and find out who can give my truck a jump? If I only had a generator. Maybe I could spin my alternator and charge my battery. I now had a plan. I took the engine off of my four inch dredge, put the air compressor belt around the alternator pulley, put some water in the dredge pump to lube the seal and started the engine. I slowly tightened up on the belt until the alternator started turning and held it there for fifteen minutes. I got into my truck, turned the key and VAROOM. It worked!!! I drove around until I was sure that the battery was fully charged. 

   With the sun high in the sky and the temperature climbing, I decided that I was here to mine. Within the hour, gravel was flowing out the end of my sluice box. I didn't find as much gold as I had hoped for. But then, a two inch dredge doesn't move very much gravel in a day. After putting in a hard days work, it felt good to just sit in my truck. Before I knew it, my eyes grew heavy and I fell asleep. An hour later I woke up. I just needed a little nap and now I was ready to go. I didn't have anywhere to go, so, I listened to the radio and watched the planes fly overhead at 30,000 feet. Every now and then a shooting star would blaze a trail across the sky. Suddenly I heard someone hammering. Not a light hammering like someone nailing two boards together. Heavy hammering. Bang..bang..bang..bang..bang. It was coming from inside the mill. There's nobody in the mill. There are no lights in the mill. There's no wind. It's not metal cooling after the sun went down. As far as I know there's nobody here but me. After five minutes, it quit. The next day, I went into the mill, looking for a sign of some recent activity. I did not find any. My footprints in the dust were the freshest that these old floors had seen in a while. 

   Several days later, I decided to go have dinner at the Kenton Mine Lodge. I asked Mike if he would like to come along. Unfortunately, he couldn't make it. While I had Mike in front of me, I asked him if he had ever stayed at the Morning Glory. "Only once or twice." Had anyone else? (I figured there had since there was an old mobile home down there. But, I had to ask). "Oh, sure." Did they ever say anything about anything strange happening down there? The sheepish grin on Mikes face said it all. He wasn't quite sure what to say. I just blurted out, "You knew!" "You knew!" Mike replied back, "Well, I had heard stories." To that I just said, "After what I've experienced, you can believe 'em!!!"

 

Composite Photo By Gerard Forsman 9/1992

Morning Glory Mine and Mill.

The Morning Glory Mine and Mill.

 

 

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