Thursday, 8 November 2012
Author Spotlight - Toni Noel talks about the setting for "Rising Above"
Only an occasional vehicle turns near Swansea and makes the steep climb up the dirt road, so the only sounds you hear are the call of birds or a dog's bark.
The first thing a visitor sees is the manmade pyramid of rock outside the main shaft, a geologist's dream made up of ore-less rock removed to reach the good stuff. A small railcar once used to haul the rock from the mine dangles precariously over the pyramid. Scattered all around it is a graveyard of rusty, abandoned mining equipment left behind when the rich silver vein played out.
Further up the road is the real cemetery, burial place of a number of Chinese workers felled by sickness and an equal number of ill fated miners who met their maker in a mine cave-in, or staring down a gun barrel leveled to end a quarrel.
The mountain is dotted with home sites no longer occupied, most of them caves. Bottle collectors like to dig in the ruins of those sites, but there's not much left. Previous collectors have just about picked the hillside clean.
The history buff encounters something of interest at every turn. The smoke stacks of two ornate furnaces used for smelting the ore have withstood the elements and still stand, stately monuments to their builders.
The Yellow Road has been extended and visitors who favor rough roads in modern four-wheel drive vehicles go on over the hill and eventually reach Death Valley, but it's not a recommended you take that route because of constantly shifting sand.
The remains of Billy Crapo's store, the assayer's office and the American Hotel interest most visitors, as do the Chinese cook's house and the home Mortimer Belshaw built for himself, but since the owner of Cerro Gordo's death, the caretaker on site discourages visitors from lingering. The setting sun is kind to Cerro Gordo, extending the shadows and painting golden highlights on the few wooden structures in its path.
Toni hangs out here:
And you can download her books here:
Or from your favorite eBook store.