Sunday, November 6, 2011

BINGHAM A TIME TO CRY by EUGENE

A Time to Cry
By Eugene
Where have all my friends gone, long time passing?
Where have all my friends gone, long time ago?
Where have all the people gone?
Gone to graveyards, everyone.
Oh, when will they ever learn?
Oh, when will they ever learn? 

Chinky Aguayo said, “Yes, I envy all of you that can go back to your home town and sharpen memories of day gone by, because I have only my memories to reflect on.  The town I spent my youth in is gone.  There is no remnant of the town to sharpen my mind---nothing to focus on and bring in to sharper remembrance those long-gone days.”
 
The man with all his money and the law of the land has taken my town and scattered my friends all over the world.  Will we ever see or hear from them again?
Some marvel at the size of this Giant Hole but not me.   I was born in those mountains would have been happy to live the rest of my life there.  Open-pit mining may be profitable but it ruins everything it touches, and now it reaches even into Butterfield Canyon.  The most scenic part left on the mountain.  Gone are all the clear-water streams and springs I remember in my day.  What water there is, is polluted and the mountain looks like something from the planet “Mars”.
My story today is about what we did to this “Wonderful Old Mountain”.
Oquirrh Mountains---Mother Earth, for thousands of years the valleys and mountains gave the Indians everything they needed to live here.  They called it the “Shinning Mountain”.  I followed their trails of flint chips and broken pottery from West Jordan up the Bingham Ditch past Copperton, up Bear Gulch to the tops of the highest passes.  I also followed their trails from their villages near Camp Williams, past Harriman up through all of Butterfield Canyon to the Middle Canyon Pass.  There were villages near Cedar Fort with trails up to the top of West Canyon.  They lived here for a thousand years and never left a mark on the land.  The white-man seems to crush everything in his path to fame and fortune. 
20 FEET CIR. 365 years old -we had a whole grove of them in Sliver Shield
In 1900 before open-pit mining began my Aunt Edla, a Swede/Finn emigrant said the canyon was wild and beautiful.  You could on your free time go on hikes and picnics.  Up between the mountains was an open, beautiful place where the youngsters used to have their picnics.  The boardinghouse was located in the canyon between the mountains and to reach the city itself, you had to walk through the mountain.  On the road to and from the dances the girls were afraid to be attacked by mountain lions.  If you run into one you were supposed to stare them straight in the eyes, and they would leave you alone.  It would stay still or run away.  Edla was told that mountain lions had attacked some from behind and killed them.  During the nights they always kept a gun or an ax close to the bed because there were bears and rattlesnakes.  One night when Jansson went over to another claim to borrow some light, he met a bear.  Jansson rushed down the mountain to Bingham.  Only the next morning did he dare come back up the mountain. 
Once upon-a-time our mountains were like this
Memories  My memories only go back to living in Frog Town, when I was six and Lee four.  In my mind I can still see the large steep, bald, barren Mountain in back of the apartments.  Half-way up there was a trail cutting across it, both ways as fat as you could see.  Up didn’t seem interesting so down we went.  In time we came to a beautiful canyon we later knew it as Dry Fork.  We didn’t know we were walking on a buried water line coming all the way from Dry Fork Canyon.  We crossed a cement underground water tank that fed the houses below.  We never did go all the way to the spring, but we did look up into this beautiful canyon and we did see English’s Dairy and the Bingham Garbage Dump.  Mother from the very beginning made me aware that I was the eldest and would always be responsible for the both of us, so everything I did Lee was with me.   
Dry Fork was a beautiful Canyon.  Sage brush, scrub oak, Maple trees and all kinds of evergreen trees grew on both sides of the canyon.  Chokecherry trees and Elderberry bushes were scattered here and there.  Wild flowers, Indian Paint Brushes, blue bells and pinky’s grew mostly under the Oak trees. 
Sun Shine Peak looking down in ourcanyons
Ade Heaston owned most of the upper part of the canyon and it was his pipe-line we were walking on.  It supplied water to the town of Bingham.  He also constructed a large fence where the first Elk were brought to his property where it became the Heaston Elk Reserve
I remember the mountain on the other side of the road.  It had two large rocks on it one had a cave or tunnel under it.  I had many dreams about a big loin living there, so I called it, my “Lion Rock”.  I found many flowers under the Oak trees; I always brought back these flowers we called, “Pinkies” to give to Mother. 
Markham Gulch, when I was older Bob Madsen invited me to come down and see what he had found shortly after moving from the US.  It was probably late June or early July.  The stream was clear and making a pond for rafting and swimming.   “D” dump was the dam that made the pond.    
Freeman Gulch, As a kid David Thorne said, “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. 
Sun Shine Peak looking down our clean pure water is now green
Telegraph; my house was surrounded by the higher mountain forests, pine trees, Quaken Aspin and even some Maple trees.  The main road would climb a steep grade for a half mile and flatten out as it entered  Galena Gulch.  It then traveled south below Silver Shield to the US.  A lesser traveled road followed Bear Gulch in the opposite direction.  It also would climb a half a mile before it flattened out.  And stayed flat until it was turned south by the Queen Ridge.  If you continued it would put you on top of the mountain above the Silver Shield and US.  The large forest between these two roads was a wonderful place for me and my dog to explore.  The Bear Gulch side had mostly deciduous trees that colored and lost their leaves in the fall.  I remember sitting with my mother in a Maple Groves where these hundred year old trees reached out high into the sky while the outer branched touched the ground.  The ground was covered in fallen leaves and it was kind of dark in there.  As Callie would say, “It’s pretty nice in here, except for the lions and tigers and bears”.  Up higher some of the canyons were densely populated with large Quaken Aspen with all kinds of bushes and flowers.  Then there was the pine forest all along the US road from the road to the top of the mountain.   
The “Big Grove”, was located high above the Sliver Shield.  It was completely cut down during pioneer times to build the Salt Lake Tabernacle and other buildings.  All I ever seen was the stumps and there must have been over fifty of them.  As I lay on my back reaching as far as I could with my feet and hands, some were larger than I was in diameter.  The bigger ones had to be at least six feet in diameter and being at least 300 years old.  Timpanogos and its mighty Monarch, There was another grove of trees on the Timpanogos pass that died in 1923.  It was 20 feet in circumference (61/2 feet diameter).  It survived fires, at the base, lightning at the top and beetles in its branches.  It was over 365 years old.
Looking down toward Queen
I lived early enough to see what a wonderful gift God has given us.  I could see the changes that the under-ground mines did as the fresh clear streams and springs disappeared.  This drying out of the mountain changed what could grow there.   But the open-pit mining is the worst thing that could happen to a mountain.  The mining companies will eventually leave to mess up another mountain while the people will have to endure a contaminated aquifer and a mountain that can never be healed.   

No comments:

Post a Comment