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Friday, May 11, 2012

Camp Cherry Valley Silver Mine

2nd February 2012
Dear Cassi,
One story that has stayed with me over the years is that of the Camp Cherry Valley silver mine. Cherry Valley was a place that had been taken up by the boy scouts after the silver had long run dry.

Most vivid in my memory is the ferry that took us to the island the camp was on and the clear blue water of the surrounding sea. That was the first time I saw a live flying fish but the fish only sat on the top of the water without flying for us.

I recall the tidal pools where two boys hunted for crabs. At high tide the pools were living gardens, but when the tide was low the sea anemones would curl up covered in rocks. If you touched one of these bundles of stone they would let out a bit of water.

On the first day of this camp the care taker took us all down to the mine and told us the story of its collapse. Two men had ownership of the land and they had followed the wealth down into the earth. Then one day one of them men was working down in the mine and the other through a stick of dynamite down the shaft and killed him.

This was a life taken in greed but then one must ask if some gas seeping from the bedrock had played a part. The air in those manmade caves has always been a problem so long as men have cut into the earth. With this in mind it is clear that excavations can have bad effects on mental health. If this fellow had a set of lungs full of gas he may have made a bad decision. Still it ended poorly for the man as he was so guilty over his homicide that he jumped off a cliff. Is it justice?

Stay safe, little sister

Richard Leland Neal