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The Old Walker Mine

This is the story of an old mine what some people call the old walker mine. It's name is derived from the man who started this small mine. No one really knew his first name and there are those who say that Walker was his first name.

I personally have been to the old Walker mine. It is located in country that is very rugged. The elevation of the mine is just over 4,000 feet. You can only get there on an ATV, hike in or on horse. Even with an ATV it is very difficult because the valley is very narrow and thick with under brush and the banks of the valley are almost verticle. If you get down to the old mine site, getting back out is not always an easy task.

Walker arrived in the Atlin mining camp in the mid 1920's. There was still some activity around the Atlin mining camp close to the town of Atlin and it seemed most of the ground was staked up. Walker heard that there may be some creeks worth looking at that where over the north range of mountains because some previous prospectors had been on the other side of this range and did find gold. The only problem was there was not access to this area and the terrain was really rough. It would be a good 3 day walk to get into town for supplies, so few propectors where interested in that area.

One of the creeks that Walker came upon had what was known as a boulder train. It was a valley filled with round tumbled boulders and as he walked along he noticed a rim of bedrock high up the one of the slopes. After prospecting this area, he found gold, and it was enough to make it worth his while. It was here he proceeded to set up his mine.

Walker was a very skilled man. First he built a cabin just downstream from where he was going to start a shaft. About a quarter mile downstream from his cabin, he built a water powered sawmill to produce the lumber he needed.

He then built a large log and sawn plank building. Within this building he erected a flume to carry the creek water from an upstream ditch flume to a twelve foot overshot water wheel. The water wheel powered two reciprocal pumps each on long vertical poles connected to a walking beam reaching down the side of the shaft being dug from inside the building.

To hoist the gravel from the shaft, he had a pulley on the side of the water wheel that acted as a winch, to lift a skip style bucket made of steel. This bucket held about a cubic yard. This skip bucket had side spurs which rotated the skip near its upper travel to tip the bucket contents into the upper portion of the sluice box. When he had accummulated enough gravel he operated a shunt panel to divert the ditch water from going to the water wheel so that it would go over the sluice box. A diverter upstream on the ditch canal allowed him to keep water from entering the flume when he was not operating any of the equipment.

Walker died alone at his cabin during the year of 1935. No one really know how much gold he got from this mine but it is said that he was able to provide a nice life for his family.An operation of such sophistication showed a high quality of engineering and it is unlikely that such a great deal of effort would have been continued for so long without reward.

Today very little remains of the old walker mine. The old wooden structure is still standing but the remains of the old cabin have been grown over. There is still gold on this creek to be had but it is only for those who have the patience and the stamina to deal with in this rugged unforgiving country.

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