Thursday, September 15, 2005

Re: CPRR Worker's Hut

From: "Chris Graves"

The stone structure described in a previous post was revisted this morning, the goal to discover how the structure was used. I am attaching five photos, that were taken today.

The structure is in the very bottom of a ravine, directly under what appears to be an old wagon road. The old CPRR grade is above this old road. The ravine, at the bottom, is perhaps 100 feet wide. The stream bed itself is today dry, and is on the opposite side of the ravine from the structure. The soil that the structure sits on is heavy, pebbly sand. There are no trees in the bottom of the ravine.

The structure is all stone, with no cement or other materials holding it together.

The entrance was opened to the bottom of the front wall, and a stone threshold was discovered. The bottom of the structure is flat, carefully placed stones of various sizes. The floor that I could see is nearly level.

An animal of some dexterity has been inhabiting this structure; the floor is covered to a depth of 6 inches or more with leaves, pinecones, sticks, twigs, and other forest debris.

The stone walls at the bottom of the structure are two stones or more thick, the thickness, I am guessing is 12 inches or more. The walls get thinner as they go up, the stones at the top of the structure are just thin shale. This structure is cleverly made, the interior is curved in an arched manner, with no frame supporting the roof. The roof would not keep rain out, light shines through the roof stones. No hinges were on the entrance opening.

With the forest debris removed from the entrance, it is now more easily accessible. While I could stick my head into the structure, I was unable to squeeze the rest of my body in. It would take a small person to comfortably get into it.

The bottom of the ravine is heavy, sandy pebbley soil. There is a dry stream bed on the side of the ravine opposite the structure. There is abundant drift wood on the sides of the ravine, and evidence of heavy flooding is apparent.

The roof of the structure has smoke stains, the walls do not.

I found no evidence of pottery, broken glass, iron or other "stuff." I would not be surprised to be told that flooding carried away what ever debris someone left.

The exposed cuts on the old grade exhibit the same type of loose soft shale as is found at Cape Horn. Occasional boulders no larger than a frying pan are found.

The old grade in this area is easily found; the grade largely goes around the hills, with an occasional small cut.

Could someone live in this structure? The smoke on the roof could lead one in that direction. Why a stone floor? I don't know. I would guess it would take a day to make this structure, certainly no longer than that.

Between finding the tent frame in the Pequops a few weeks ago, this thing yesterday, it has been an interesting summer.