Friday, June 3, 2011


Sometimes you do something on a whim that maybe if you had more time to think about, you would have changed your mind.  We had that experience yesterday.  We had just taken our 4 children, and their friend who is visiting from New Hampshire, on a train ride in the historic mining district of Cripple Creek, Colorado.  It was fun, it peaked our interest in gold mining, and it was much shorter than we had expected.

So we thought, "We have extra time, let's go check out that gold mine tour we passed on the way up here."

Within 10 minutes we are back in the car, a mile down the mountain and into the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Offices.  We quickly buy 7 tickets for the last tour that leaves in 2 minutes.
The decision was made.

We head out the side door and are instructed to pick out a hard hat from the bins along the fence.  It is then that we notice a narrow little cage elevator suspended over a narrow little hole in the ground.

That's when I look at Tim and he looks at me and we say "Really?!"

But there is no time to back out.  Our party of 7 is instructed to enter the top level cage.

"Huh!  This thing is 2 story?"  But we follow like good little sheep and are locked into a 3x3 mesh cage and lifted into the air 7 feet so the next group could load into the cage below us.  At that point there were many questions running through our heads.  Questions that the 5 children with us verbalized.

How fast are we going to descend?
Is it going to be dark?
How far are we going?
Are we allowed to scream?
How long is this going to take?
What happens if the cable snaps (like in the movies) and we free fall into the depths of the earth?
Are we going TO DIE?

Here we go...
and I decide we need to document this moment.

It was a fabulous tour!  We had our nervous moments but the guide was great and we learned some really fascinating facts about the history of mining.  We saw how the first miners did everything with a hammer by candlelight and how technology progressed over the next 100 years.  It is still an incredibly dangerous job and even though the mine still holds 80% of its gold, it is more expensive to extract it than the gold is worth!  The kids had a blast.  And we were glad that we did not have time to back out of our decision.

It was a highlight of our trip but we were so happy to see the light of day!