Wednesday, April 3, 2013


just imagine this for a second. your husband wants to go on a mining trip with an old buddy to explore some old mines. you have a bad feeling about the trip but you don't want to be lame so you make him promise a thousand and one times that he will be safe and won't get hurt. he tells you that he will be back around 4 or 5 probably (left at 10 am) but no later than 6 or 7. he tells you if you haven't heard from me by then we are in this car at this mine. you go about your day, school conference in the morning, running errands with your sisters, going to the gym, you know-normal friday activities. you notice it is 6 pm and you haven't heard from your husband yet. you text him. no reply. you text him again 30 minutes later. no reply. you call him 15 minutes later. no answer. you text him again 20 minutes later. no reply. this continues until it is 8:45. you are worried sick and know that something is wrong. you jump in your car and start driving to the mines, having no clue what you will do once you get there. you drive 30 minutes and then FINALLY your phone rings. its rob. he tells me that they lost track of time and had no service to call and let me know. he is so sorry for making me worry about him and that they will be home in 45 minutes. it is now 9:15 p.m. i am so glad he is ok, but frustrated that he did not call me and blaming him for the premature gray hairs that are surely soon to reveal themselves. so to ease your worry, robbie's life was in no serious danger but i was worried to death about him (hence the near death experience). when he got home, however, i got the real story. in the words of the man himself...

 So... this is the man responsible for the near death experience of his lovely wife. That's right, me.. aka Robbie. I will now tell my experience with the mine and what really happened, as well as a little background on the mine we went to, etc.

 So the mine we went to is an old gold/silver/ore mine in Eureka, Utah. The town is an old mining town, known for the "big four" mines, one of which is the Centennial Mine. This is the mine that we went exploring in on Friday, as well as the mine that is responsible for giving Ashley a mini heart attack. No one had been in this mine at all in the last 10 years, until a few weeks ago when my friend Leavitt dug a hole underneath the metal bars that used to block the entrance to the mine.. the mine is now accessible, if you know exactly where to go and exactly where to look.

This was the first mine I have ever been in, so I didn't really know what to expect before hand. All I knew is that my friend Leavitt has been about 10 times in the past two or three months and hasn't died yet, so I'm probably pretty safe. So me, Leavitt, Leavitt's brother, and another one of their friends - a total of four of us - went mining.

When we got to the mine, we got our gloves, helmets, flashlights, and headlamps on. We crawled underneath the metal bars I mentioned, and walked for about half a mile until we got to a big system of ladders that went up and down. We decided to go up because that's where Leavitt wanted to continue his explorations (he had been in this mine about 4 or 5 times already), so up we climbed about 150 feet on old wooden ladders. When we got to the top, we hiked through the mine for about another mile. The pathway we walked on is basically where the old ore carts used to go. Most of the cart tracks were still in tact. In general, the size of the mine/hallway we were walking through was about 6-7 feet tall and probably 7-8 feet wide. Anyways, along our expedition through the mine, we saw a lot of cool things like 100 year old shovels, old blasting caps, sticks of dynamite, old liquor bottles, old tobacco cans, barrels filled with water (the barrels got filled by a system that filtered drips from the ceiling into the barrels), old ore carts (picture of me in it below), and a TON of really cool rocks. I'm sure we probably walked right past some fairly valuable minerals (possibly gold, silver, ore, etc.) but either didn't recognize them for what they were or couldn't see them because it was so dark in there. After about 2 hours of hiking through the mine, checking things out, and just exploring, we came to a big open cave/room that was bigger than any of our flashlight's beams could reach across. Basically, it was a giant huge opening inside the mine. We explored around there for about 30 minutes trying to see if it went anywhere else. No one found anything for a while, but eventually Leavitt came across a tiny tiny tiny opening (most of it was covered by rocks) that we could crawl through on our stomachs/knees. On the other side of this passage way were more mines! We went back about another 30 minutes, and came across another huge open room like the one we got to before, although not quite as big as the first one. We saw an opening where this one lead somewhere else. The only problem was that it was down a 100 foot shoot that required us to climb down really old sketchy/wet/unsturdy ladders and repel down ropes to get to the very bottom. We debated whether or not this was safe (it really wasn't safe at all, we just really wanted to see what was down there), and eventually we all made it down the 100 foot shoot. (what we didn't realize is that the tricky/almost impossible part would be climbing back up the 100 foot shoot to get out of the mine. Details on that will be given shortly..)

By this point, we had been in the mine for about 5 hours, although we didn't really know it... so we kept exploring further into the mine. About 30 minutes later we got to a dead end and decided to turn back because we looked at our phones and realized it was about 4:00. So back we went to the 100 foot shoot. 

Basically, this is almost impossible for me to describe what it was like and what we had to do to get out of this part of the mine. Without rope and without a climbing harness, we never would have gotten out (of course, we wouldn't have gone down there in the first place without the equipment, but still). To start, we had to climb a straight up and down 30 foot vertical rock face with no hand or footholds and only a harness and some rope. What this means is that we basically had to free climb a 30 foot wall, and every few feet pull out the slack on the rope so that if/when we slipped and fell we would only go down a few feet rather than all the way to the bottom. 

After the 30 foot vertical wall, there was another 25 foot wall that was almost as vertical as the other one, but not quite as precarious/unstable... and after the 25 foot wall, one final 20 foot wall to climb up with the harness/rope. All of these sections used to have ladders on them that the miners could climb up and down on, but over the years they have rotted away, fallen down, and don't exist anymore. After these first three sections are another three sections with ladders still in tact that we climbed up to finally get out of the 100 foot shoot. It was quite a beast...

It sounds pretty easy, but it was actually really hard and tiring. I was the second person to try to get up, and I couldn't do it very easily. I kept coughing (I've been sick for about two weeks with bad cough) and didn't have very much energy at this point, so I decided to let someone else try while I gathered my strength again. However, I was getting a little bit worried because it was like 5:00, only one person was up the 100 foot shoot, and if we weren't out by like 7 I knew ashley would start to get worried. Anyways, after a few close calls, some prayers, a lot of resting, and summoning all the strength we had, all four of us made it out of the 100 foot shoot. From there it was another 2 hour hike to get out of the mine. By the time we got out, it was 8:45.... almost two hours after I told ashley we would be done by at the latest haha. I knew she would be worried, but we didn't have cell reception inside the mountain, and the town the mine is in (eureka) also doesn't have cell reception. SO... I couldn't call her until about 20 minutes later when we were on the road and in the next town over. Of course, I felt really bad that she was so worried, but I was mostly just grateful that we made it out alive. I knew that we wouldn't have died in there because two of the guys got up the 100 foot shoot, and along the way some things happened to the walls, rope, and harness, etc. that made it harder for the last two of us to get up. So, if worst came to worst, they knew where we were and would not have left us stranded to die.

In the end, the thought crossed my mind once or twice that I might actually have to spend the night in the mine.. or something like that. There was one point where I really didn't think I was going to make it out that night, because my hand got caught in the rope and I didn't think I'd be able to climb with it very well after that. But, after resting and stuff we all made it out alive. 

Below are some pictures of the mine, 100 foot shoot, and other stuff... the pictures aren't very good because it was so dark and dusty in there, but it will give you a small idea of what it was like.

So this picture is towards the top of the 100 foot shoot. I am the one in the yellow helmet. I'm going down one of the ladders. As you can see, they are made of wood and basically nailed into the side of the mountain... it wasn't very sturdy, but it was sturdy enough! haha
Here I am again going down another section. The darkness you see behind me goes down to the bottom of the 100 foot abyss.
Here's a picture of some of the ropes we used to climb up and down.
This is taken from halfway down the 100 foot shoot. There is a kid in a white helmet who is one or two levels above me. I am at the very bottom in the yellow helmet, and you can barely see me. This gives you a little better idea of what we were climbing in and how vertical it was.

This is a picture of me in the mining cart!!!
This concludes Robbie's portion of the blog entry... in the end, it was a really cool experience that made me grateful for water, electricity, a comfortable bed, a car, and all the things we have every day that we take for granted. I am still a little bit sore from the climb/activity, but it was worth it!

Now, back to Ash!

never been so happy to see this guy.  
 he came home covered in dust from head to toe and his new gloves and helmet he had bought that morning came home with holes and tons of scratches. 

so when your husband tells you he wants to go explore some mines, make sure he knows what he's getting into!

xoxo ashbie 

photo cred for the photos taken from inside the mines goes to leavitt. thanks!


  1. I had tears running down my face from laughing as i was reading this! Honestly my only comment is that it was WAY worse that Robbie made it sound!

    P.S. Now that i think about it, the leopard backpack could be the culprit of why you couldnt get out...the mining gods were laughing! haha

    Fun fun time (looking back that is)

    1. Haha dude Leavitt, I couldn't really explain all the details - it would stress ashley out too much probably. Plus, I didn't really feel like writing about it anymore - too stressful. haha jk, but I'm glad you enjoyed reading the post. Also, yes, I'm sure the leopard backpack was the reason I struggled so bad... the mining gods don't like leopards I guess.

  2. Ashley that is so freaky! Did you know what he was getting into by going in that mine? Yikes. Tell him not to do that to a poor girl anymore!

    1. haha no he did not! its funny now that we look back but i have never been so scared! i'm sure he will maybe think twice before he goes on another mining trip... hahahha

  3. Wow - what an adventure! I am glad it all turned out well in the end!

    Love you guys,
    Melissa & Byron :o)

  4. very scary...Ashley, leave the mine exploring to Robbie, please!

  5. TOO scary. You have a wife now Rob, time to be a safe grown up!!! :)