Wednesday, July 13, 2011

BINGHAM MOUNTAIN TRAILS bY EUGENE

I Remember the Mountains
Do You?
By Eugene H. Halverson
The Rock Trail
Who remembers drinking coldest, sweetest water in the water tunnel next to Bodmer’s?  Who then walked the trail that started there straight up the mountain to “Black Rock”?  Did anyone ever find the “Skinks” there?  They were half snake and half lizard.  Long and skinny as a pencil.  Dark brown with tan corners and bright blue tail.  These were not the common blue belly lizards. 

From there we walked over the mountain to “Hawk Rock”. In late summer we would find these crazy star shaped “Puff  balls” that exploded when you stomped on them, this would send these brownish/purplish powder spores all over your ankles.  They are actually a very poisonous mushroom the 6/8 stars are the hard outer cover of the ball that flattens leaving a tannish ball holding the spores.  I now know them as the Earth Star Puff Ball or the Devil’s snuff Box. 
The last stop on this trail was down to “Eagle Rock” sitting above the old Yosemite Mine, we could see Lark and all of Salt Lake Valley from here.  The mine head frame and building were still in use, it pulled cars up from the shaft going deep down in the mountain.  Who then was stupid as I was to climb in another tunnel and walk to Dinkyville.  The tunnel was about a mile long with shaft that was very dangerous to tip toe past.  It ended near Carter’s old house near the old trail to Telegraph, this was the “Old Holden Railroad now a trail to Telegraph.

The Bear Gulch/Queen/Butterfield Trail
Take a left just behind my house on the road to Queen at the top of Telegraph, after a steep climb the road levels out where a cement dam was used to save the creek water for “gold mining”.  Every time I panned out a nice piece of gold, Alvin Cole would say, “That’s a good boy, here put it in my bottle”.  Across creek was the most beautiful grove of ancient old Maple trees and the only lawn I ever knew?  It was a camping and picnicking that I used many times.  A half mile latter you past the “Big Tree”.  Who remembers the spring there before the arsenic got in it?  This was an old Indian Camp where I found many arrowheads and flint knives here.  Can anyone remember Jack Ass Gulch with all the old Quaken Aspen trees, this was the right fork?  The center road went to a couple of mines still being worked, I remember it as Bear Gulch.  By staying on the main road about a mile or two farther took you over the mountain to the town of Queen. I remember when Queen housed at least a dozen families.  Travelling below the big Queen Mine Dump to the first turn you would leave the road and make short climb to the mines water line that went from Butterfield to Queen.  Then traversed the tops of Butterfield Canyon when we got above the Boy Scout Camp we would drop off the line to the bottom of the canyon.  This was also an old Indian Camp with arrow heads and water.  When I was young the creek was planted with fish, so we caught them with hands, rocks and clubs.  Then we would roast them on a stick.  In the spring we would look for Indian Potatoes (Orogenia of some kind) they would be the first green plant to show as the snow melted.  These were small eatable bulbs. 

Notice the mines and holes in my day--every thing is covered up, gone forever
The Middle Canyon Trail  (Bear Gulch Middle Canyon Trail)
Starting at the back of my house in Telegraph you would walk to the Queen Ridge leaving the road for a trail that headed up toward Sun Shine Peak, to the left you could look at Queen far below.  At the right was Doctor Frazier’s ski run and ski jump.  Who else besides me even remembers it?  I skied it and remember it well.  Soon you are high above the “Silver Shield Mine and the US Road.  A little higher and above Silver Shield was the stumps trees of an ancient forest called “The Big Grove.  It was clear cut to build the Mormon Tabernacle.  Did anyone besides me ever go over and lay on the huge 5/6 foot diameter stumps.  A half a mile father up the trail leveled off a mile or so above Butterfield, passing through two large groves of Quaking Aspen.  I remember this part of the trail because of the many Horny Toads found there.  When you see the Butterfield-Middle Canyon Pass a half mile below.  You take a straight drop for a mile to the Pass and another to a spring above the Highland Boy water tunnel and on down to the tunnel.  At times there would be kids my age who had arrived here from Highland Boy.  These were my first friend I knew from Highland Boy.   

almost covered in the old days--all gone and covered up
The US/Galena/Bingham Gulch Road
The first half mile above my house was quite steep until you reached and crossed this huge air pipe,8/10 inches in diameter, coming from Copperfield to the US.  Did any of you try to slide down it too?  Once was enough for me too. The road was mostly level for the next tow miles to the US Town/Mine.  Can anyone remember the Utah Copper Dump on the right going to the US too.  Anybody ever go for a quick shower at the Silver Shield Dry-house?  The water was full of arsenic and tasted bitter but it was hot.  Lee loved it but I hated it. Can anyone remember the many rock chucks below the road?  And the dump?  Who remembers when US was full of houses and people, I had many friend there?  Lorraine, Blacky Clinton’s daughter said, “In the winter time when the roads were closed, we went to school in Copperfield through the mine.  Above the US Mine and below the Galena Mine’s there was a railroad car that was built to kill the strikers who had killed five scabs going to work one morning.  It was a self-propelled round metal gun turret with six holes manned by six men.  As it rolled along on this circular railroad it rotated giving each man a shot.  “I’ll give anyone a hundred dollars for a good picture of it”. 

When the people moved away we tore the roof off the town’s water tank and swam in it.  Who besides me was dumb enough to swim in it, it was so icy cold and deep but it was clean. I remember when our 5th grade class hiked above the US and then over the mountain and looked into Highland Boy.  There we went into a dark old mine until it was to dark to see.  Then we heard a bear but it was just our Principal growling and playing games with or minds, scared us to death. 

Freeman the “Water Falls Trail
 As a kid I hiked all over the hills in Bingham.  My buddies at that time included Art Bentley, Teddy Allen and Floyd Timothy.  We had a favorite place we called “waterfalls”;  it was a real pretty spot with a nice stream and a pond.  We made rafts and poled around the pond.  The water was so cold we didn’t swim unless we fell off the raft.  The place has long since been filled in with a Kennecott waste dump.  (the water falls and pond was in Freeman Canyon just over the B&G railroad)

Christmas tree hunting
Markham’s Trail
Markham Gulch was a very long canyon heading straight toward Markham Peak, 8700 feet, one of are larger peaks.  It produced a lot of springs that gathered together to make a very large stream even in the late summer.  It was a wonderful canyon.  It was full of Maple trees. Quaken Aspen. Pine trees, Oak and Mahogany trees.  The higher you went the more primitive it became.  This creek here in this canyon was as large as the Butterfield Canyon creek that had fish in it.  Maybe because of the waste dumps, the watchmen, or the difficulty entering the canyon, today no I know has ever been there. 
Well it had a large clear water pond because of the waste dump, just like Freeman had, but more water.  There was some make shift raft on it so someone had to have been there some time or other.
I was living in Telegraph and was called down to Markham by Bob Madsen who had moved to a house near there.  He said I just had to come and see and we did.  In my mind I can still see it as if it was yesterday.
What a waist, another wonderful canyon gone, never to be seen again.

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