A look into the Gunsight Mine

Level 4 - Tecopa Consolidated Mines:
Part Two

Levels 1, 2, 3, 4a, 4b

 
A bit further along, a newer side tunnel runs behind and parallel with the adit leading off from the large junction just passed.

This goes but a short distance before ending in a blank face.

At the far end of the oldest adit is this drop chute (below) from an upper level. Quite a bit of water drainage has come down the shaft and much of the timbers are rotting.
 

Short branch off the original adit.
 

 
It would seem logical that this might have been utilized for the ores obtained from the various other entrances positioned above the entrance to Level 4.

From the extensive workings on Level 3, particularily at the winch area, it's also possible that this chute connected to that section of the mine.

Without climbing down from Level 3, or up from here, the question goes a-begging at this time.
 

The only loading chute
found on Level 4.

 

 
With the separation between Level 3 and 4, I'd expected this tunnel to directly connect with the downwards portions of level 3.

Returning to the first branching, we begin the examination of the last part of Level 4.

After passing under heavy timbering, the newer adit runs in a westerly fashion beside a deep shaft.

These timberings are in excellent shape. There's not much sign of water coming into this area.
 

Four Square timbering.
 

Further in, tucked in an alcove beside the tunnel, is this upward leading shaft.

Heavy water flow here has left the floor damp and the ladders and planks mostly rotted away. There's a pile of debris at the base.

Even with two strong lights, we could not determine the top of the shaft.

This is large enough to have contained a drop chute, but the amount of debris present now doesn't verify this. Possibly the chute was removed and the shaft just used for access.

Remains of access
to the level above.

 

 
Deeper in, one of the cross supports for the air system has collapsed and the duct lies on the ground.

These air ducts were originally hung from wires (visible under the timbers) at the top of the adit.

A forced air supply was necessary, as beyond that last ruined shaft, there is no further upward ventilation to draw air into these deeper parts of the workings.
 

Fallen Airduct.
 

 
Where the air duct bends, an exploratory tunnel went straight on. To service both workings, the ore car trackwork would require a switch.

Not needing something for high speed or ease of use, this was simply made with a hinged piece of rail having the movable end ground down to a point.

There were spikes positioned near the outer rails, and the swinger was lifted and slipped between the spikes and the outer rails to complete the track across the junction.

Regretfully, we couldn't move the ductwork to get a photo of the complete switch.
 

Hinged end of
swinging rail switch..

 

 
Returning from the ends of the workings, these massive four square timberworks await inspection.

On the right is a shelf where a winch would have been mounted to hoist the material from the shaft.

As with Level 3, subsidence around the shaft has left part of the rails hanging over a deep hole. This occurred despite the heavy, still intact, planking of the sidewalls of the entire shaft.
 

Western end of the
timberworks on Level 4.

 

In these two views, parts of the dump slide can be seen.

This area is the largest open section in any of the four levels we visited. As the trackwork is 2 foot gauge, the 'ceiling' is easily 20' high.

In the distance, part of the airduct is still hanging from the sidewall.

The opening between the first and second posts is for the workers to descend the shaft on ladders.
 

Eastern side,
from under junction bracing.

 

 
This is just one of six stages we counted. Each stage seemed to be about 10' deep. Still, we could not see the bottom!

The ladders were placed at right angles, the first is at the far right top.

Blocked by the timber at the bottom is the portion of the shaft that brought the material up from the lower works.
 

Workers access
down to Level 5

 

Sunlight beckons us from midway between the shaft to Level 5 and the entrance.

Throughout the mine, at many points along the diggings, the coloration of the walls is rather startling.

For us, this has been a pleasant and worthwhile three visits to the Gunsight Mine. If you enjoy a good hike, have a look yourself - but take good care!
 

Looking towards the entrance.
 

 

Levels 1, 2, 3, 4a, 4b

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01/09/2005