When Phooey and Peter got a copy as good as they could with the copier. They started studying it. The map was still faded, it was almost impossible to make out. The paper also had directions andthey could almost figure out the directions. They figured if they studied it a while, maybe they can get more of the directions figured out. They made one more copy, so they each had a copy, then they sat down and tried to figure it out.
The first directions said (3 ride from bar ow in nne ection to Pa amint mou ai s). By looking at a map and studying the directions they finally got it figured out. It said (3 days ride from Barstow in nne direction to Panamint mountains). They were happy when they finally got that line figured out.
They started on the second direction (Li tle B ar Pass rt of pass na ow ca yon up 00 feet). That was not too difficult. It said (Little Bear Pass, right of pass, narrow canyon up 00 feet). They could not figure out if is 100, 200, 300 or maybe more up the canyon.
The last part said (sm can on lt e d of c yon u w ll f nd mine). They worked on this a long time and finally came up with (sm canyon on left end of canyon you will find mine). After they finish figure out all the could. They took the original and their copies to Phooey's father and showed him what they have been doing. Phooey's father was amazed that the boys could work out so much of it by themselves. Phooey's father asked them where they got the map. They said the firemen gave them one last look at the house and while they were in their they found it. They asked the firemen if they can keep it the firemen said yes, it was all right. So they brought it home and started working on. This is what they came up with.
Phooey's father said that it did look like an old map to an old gold mine. He said it might be interesting to check it out, some weekend. Both boys eyes lit up like candles. They both said do you really think so. Phooey's father said yes. First I want to take this to an expert, and then in about a month, I will have some time off and we can go check it out. About a week later Phooey's father came home from work and told Phooey and Peter that the expert said that the paper looked like a genuine map to a gold mine.
Then he said almost everybody that went chasing gold came back broke or died trying. Only a very, very few got rich . Most of those bought out other people's mines, and then brought in machinery and did some serious mining. Even today people go out prospecting, but they hardly ever bring back more than enough to pay their expenses. So when we go out there, don't expect to get rich. We're going out there just for the fun of it, just to see if we can find anything out there. I am taking next week off, we will go out there for 3 to 4 days and see what we can find. Are you boys ready for an adventure. Both boys had big smiles on the face and said together. We are ready. Phooey's father said we will rent some ATVs, it will make it easier to get around when we get out there. It looks like there will also be some hiking, so I hope you boys are ready. The boys just nodded with big smiles on their faces. This mine is in Death Valley, so we will have to check with the park rangers and make sure it's all right. We don't want to do anything wrong.
When they got to Death Valley and checked in with the ranger station. They paid their park fees and told the rangers what they were doing. The rangers had no objection as long as they brought all of their trash out with them. So they drove in and found a camping spot near the west side of the panamint mountains in Mahogany flat. When they got there they set up camp.
Phooey said It feels a little strange here. Phooey's father said we are way below sea level so barometric pressure is a little higher. You will be find. Peter said How can we be lower then the ocean and what is barometric pressure. Phooey father explained millions of years ago this was sea but mountains grew up and cut it off from the ocean and the sea dried up. And barometric pressure is the measure of the gravity that keeps us all on the earth. The closer to the center of the earth you are the more pressure. When you are in areas that are below sea level some people get a strange feeling from the extra pressure.
The next morning they unloaded the ATVs and Phooey's father started loading some food and water onto his ATV. Peter asked Why are you loading food and water? We are not going to be gone that long, are we?
Phooey's father said There is nothing out there but sand and alkali, The food and water is just a precaution. You never want to be too far from food and water it could be the difference between life and death. Then he added We will be going along the base of the Panamint mountains. Yell out if you see a peak that looks like a little bear.
So they left, about 3 hours later they stopped to eat. Peter just threw his trash aside when he was done. Phooey's father said Peter, remember what we promised the rangers? Peter just gave him a funny look. Phooey's father said we promised not to leave any trash out here. We need to leave this place like we found it so others can enjoy it. Peter said Oh yea, I forgot, sorry then Peter picked up his trash and they got back on the ATVs.
They were just getting ready to ride some more when Phooey yelled There it is! as he pointed to a peak about half a mile from them. Phooey's father said you might be right. We will take a quick look today then go back to camp and take a closer look tomorrow. So they got on their ATVs and went over near the peak. After about 30 minutes they found a narrow canyon just to the right of the pass. Peter said lets go Phooey's father said wait!, it is getting late let's get back to camp. I don't want to be out here after dark. We will come back tomorrow and explore the canyon.
So they went back to camp. When they got back to camp Peter said I have been thinking all day about this and I am confused. Phooey's father said what is it Peter? Peter said How can mountains grow? They are not alive. Phooey's father said You are right Peter they are not alive, they do grow and shrink. Volcanic eruptions and earthquakes can make the mountains grow and shrink. Also the actions of the wind and rain can eat away at the mountains. This is called erosion. This erosion takes 1000s of years.
The next morning they got an early start and headed for Little Bear Pass. When they got to the canyon they looked up the canyon. From here we walk boys Phooey's father said. be very careful where you step there are a lot of loose rocks up there and we don't need any accidents. So they headed up the canyon Phooey's father carried the backpack with the food and water in it. They went up about 200 feet and Peter said look there is a little canyon going off to the left just like the map said. So they headed up the canyon about 500 yards up the canyon it ended.
This is what they used to call a box canyon because there is only one way in or out. They cowboys used to trap wild horses in box canyons. It was easy to chase the horses up these canyons and then it did not take much to close off bottom of the canyon. Look around boys see if you can find a hole in the wall that could be a mine.Phooey's father said. He sat down and rested while the boys looked around the end of the canyon.
After about 30 minutes Phooey yelled I think I found it! Behind this bush. Peter and Phooey's father went over to see what Phooey had found. Sure enough there was a little hole there Phooey's father got out his flashlight and shined it in the hole he said I can't see much but it does look like it goes back a ways. I think this might be the mine. Peter said can we dig out the entrance and go in?
Phooey's father said that is not a good idea. First we did not bring any tools and second the mine looks very unstable the rest of the mine could cave in at anytime. We have another hour before we have to head back look around see if you can find anything the miner might have left here. So the boys started looking around all they found was a broken pick handle and a rusted can. They left them where they found them. Then they went back to camp and the next day they went home. It was a long time before the boys could stop talking about the mine in Death Valley.