Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thunderhead Underground Falls

We slept late and played lazy on Sunday but finally took a drive to see Thunderhead Underground Falls. Around 1874, a couple of miners started hand-digging and blasting gold-bearing quartz. After 20 years, a 600 foot mine shaft went horizontally into the mountain. It’s speculated that early miners blasted a hole into the bed of Rapid Creek, creating an underground stream. Unfortunately, the miners working the mine excavated into that underground stream and suddenly a 30 foot waterfall gushed through and out of the mine shaft at a rate (still) of 8 cubic feet of water per second. This is what it looks like spilling out of the side of the mountain.

Inside the mine shaft.

Intricate formations and colors are along the walls.

And finally the deafening waterfall itself. I had problems getting even this photo since a flash was required and my camera lens accumulated water spray before the shutter opened. The waterfall suddenly appears from above the top of the mine shaft and crashes into a pool.

We found a gorgeous peach geranium plant and a friendly little chipmunk outside the mine.

The water from the mine flows into this picturesque valley stream.

DEFINITELY all worth the $6 entrance fee for a comfortable 53ยบ inside temperature and 100° outside on the highway!

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