July 21, 2000
First time I've seen a day without any clouds in the sky. At least it started that way but by lunch time there were white puffy clouds mixed with azure blue skies. By the time we were on the way to the pub it was hazy, much like Southern California.
Dave and started mucking right off the bat this morning. I let him muck first to see what he would do with the boulder that came out of the ceiling the day before. At first he just kept pushing it out of the way farther up the tunnel and mucked around it. When he finally got it positioned up on the muck pile he tried to pick it up but is was so heavy the rear end of the mucker came off the rail and jumped the tracks. A few minutes later we had it back on track (pun) and he tried again. Slowly he was able to get the boulder into the bucket of the mucker and as he raised the bucket he drove the mucker into the muck pile so it wouldn't fall forward again. When the bucket was above the machine he moved it back to the ore car. The mucker needs a full 7 feet of space to throw the muck and unfortunately, most of the tunnel is only 7 feet tall. With this big rock in the bucket he needed have about 9 feet of space to throw. I had to push the car up to the mucker since the ceiling at the pocket zone is at least 9 feet from our scaling and he was there able to throw the rock into the ore car. The momentum of the rock coming into the ore car nearly sent out the tunnel. It was all I could do to stop it.
Byron was outside repairing a water hose when I came out with the full ore car and the boulder. He couldn't believe Dave was able to pick it up with the mucker since it was about the same size as the mucker, in weight anyway. He said last year they just dragged out large rocks like that.
After we cleaned out the tunnel we inspected the face for mineralization. Near the center we found bits and pieces of fluorite and with a little washing seams started showing up. On the left hand side of the tunnel wall, about 4 feet from the first seam we encountered, we found the it's continuation. Byron dug in there for the rest of the day and produced some nice pieces. The two interconnect now. It appears that there was some disturbance in the pocket concurrently with the mineralization. Broken pieces of the roof have fallen into the cavity and the fluorite had continued to grow connecting the roof with the floor. Byron said he had never seen anything like it last year in his seam he had excavated. Perhaps it has something to due with the fault we have as the eastern wall of the tunnel.
On the right side of the tunnel, the fault side, we picked up a seam that may or may not open up into a cavity. Byron didn't have time to fully explore it yet. Definitely, the fluorite continues but to what degree we have yet to find out. No signs of large cavities yet.
Meanwhile, Dave and started installing the new switch, since we got the bottles of Oxy-Acetylene. First we matched the right lead from the switch to the right tract of Mick and Lindsay's tunnel, then we cut out the existing rails leading into Mick and Lindsay's tunnel and completely removed the ones leading into our drift. We completely removed the set in our drift because we have a tight curve we've been having problems with and we want to straighten it a bit. Next, we dug out the entire area the switch will lie in for the channel iron ties and placed the switch in place. It fit with very little extra work. Where the switch was a bit high a couple of whacks with the sledge hammer put it in place. If that didn't work we got the really big sledge hammer and whacked it good, no problem. Dave cut holes in the webbing for the fish plates and we were able to tie together three of the rails out of six. Tomorrow we will reinstall the tracks leading into our new drift and make a more gentle bend leading into the tunnel. The last thing we will need to do, and probably the most difficult task, will be to match the right side track of Mick and Lindsay's tunnel with the track of the switch. They match horizontally but are off by 3 inches vertically which means we may have to lower the entire right side of the next rail set in their tunnel. Not something I'm looking forward to.
Hopefully, tomorrow we will be into a larger and better cavity of fluorite and the switch will have miraculously matched up during the night.
Till then, Cheers, Jim