$2,000+ in a Shovelful of Dirt (Part 2)
(The purported layout of Earl's find.)
In my previous post I mentioned that Earl Dorr had signed a sworn affidavit about his finding a rich river of gold beneath Kokoweef and Dorr (named after Earl) Peaks. The affidavit runs about three full pages but I'll condense it for you in this post so you can let the gears start grinding in your head. I'll also play the Devil's advocate here in commenting on the affidavit's contents.
Here's the gist of what Earl had to say in his signed affidavit submitted to the bureaucrats in San Bernandino County:
There's a cave about 250 miles east of Los Angeles that can be reached in about 10 hours driving time from the City of Angels. Earl and a civil engineer ("Mr. Morton") spent four days exploring this cave. The length of the underground cavity was a full eight miles. Earl and Morton carried with them altimeters, pedometers, and a theodolite to record directions and tale elevations and measurements using the triangulation method.
(J.R.: So what brought Earl and Morton to the slopes of Kokweef in the first place? Prospecting for gold? I doubt that considering the instruments they were carrying. You typically don't need an altimeter, pedometer, or a theodolite to mine gold. Were they just spelunking? That wasn't a common hobby for most old time miners and prospectors. This makes me raise an eyebrow, truth be told. Why were they there in the first place? On gained information or some sort of informal tip?)
(Headline from the California Mining Journal about Earl, 1940.)
Earl and Morton descended into the cave complex to a depth approaching 2,000 feet where they encountered an underground canyon that was 1,000-1,500 feet deeper than the depth they'd already reached in the caverns. Their calculations suggested that the depth to the canyon floor from the cavern entrance on the slopes of Kokoweef Peak was 5,400 feet.
(J.R. Now who the hell is going to enter a strange cave with no prior knowledge and descend thousands of feet with potential rock falls, blocked passageways, slips, trips, and falls, or just plain getting lost so you can't find your way out? More importantly, without any prior knowledge of the "riches" within, why would you risk the unknown dangers lurking about? Just for shits and giggles? It just doesn't compute.)
(Layout of Dorr Peak. Kokoweef Peak would be a short distance to the left if included here.)
The main cavern was divided in many other caverns or chambers of various sizes and all were filled stalactites and stalagmites. One larger chamber Earl and Morton explored was about 300 feet wide, 400 feet long, and ranged from 50-110 feet in height. It was totally encrusted with crystals, one of which was around 27 feet in diameter and that hung suspended some 1,500 feet down toward the canyon floor. Water was continually flowing over this massive crystal which Earl likened to the Eiffel Tower in both scale and beauty.
(J.R.: All I can say is that's ONE massive crystal and would be quite a specimen find of and by itself.)
A river flowed across the floor of the canyon that rose and fell with tidal regularity. Using the theodolite's scope, Earl and Morton took measurements of the river and it's tides, as well as its beach sands even though they couldn't reach it. They reckoned that it to be about 300 feet wide at high tide and 10-feet wide at low tide. Additionally, the two men postulated that the river rose and fell about seven to eight feet.
(J.R.: I can't help it. I'm really getting suspicious here. Huge tidal flows in a river deep underground and situated hundreds of miles from the nearest ocean?? WTF over? Beach sands? Yes, sands do occur along gold-bearing rivers in slower moving water or at certain low-pressure points, but so do rocks and gravel. Why no mention of river gravels, rocks, or obstructions in a location where atmospheric erosion isn't even a factor? There should be abundant coarser materials in that river since it is the primary erosional driver. Or am I missing the point here in this ever-more bizarre tall tale because my bull shit meter is starting to go crazy like a geiger counter placed next to a nuclear warhead.)
(Crystal Cave Mine on the slopes of Kokoweef. Earl and Morton may have entered here.)
Hang tough out there.
(c) Jim Rocha (J.R.) 2016
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