Wednesday, December 4, 2013

067 The Augusta Railway - now the Navajo Mining Company

For you, a story...

Once upon a time, Walking Buffalo was out in the high desert hunting game and just spending time away from Mrs. Buffalo.  He crossed the river, the only water for 100 hundred miles in any direction, and proceeded north under a burning hot Utah sun.  His worn face lied about his 41 years of life, telling the world he was much older than that here in 1923.

The sun was high in the sky and in the 110 degree summer heat, it can make a man see strange things.  In the distance a flash caught his eye.  Dragging his horse along, his boots feeling heavy on his feet, he plowed across the rocky landscape.  High, rugged orange, red and yellow rocks rocks cover the landscape in every direction.  Even the birds don't come here, he thought.

He was outside of the reservation now, but it didn't matter.  No one would want this land anyhow or even care that he was on it..  Nothing grew here.  There is no water.  Just rocks and sand and the occasional rattlesnake.  Everything looks so distant no matter how close you walk toward it.  The sun raged on.

The heat was rising from the baking landscape and Walking Buffalo wiped the sweat from his brow.  Down at his feet was what he had seen from the bank of the San Juan river.  He rubbed his eyes and took a drink of water.  Reaching down he picked up a dark colored stone.  Across the stone flashed a dull, yellow streak.

For the first time in many years a smile stretched across his face....



Welcome to the beginning of the Navajo Mining Company Railroad.  What Walking Buffalo had found would soon be stolen away from him as Easterner's arrived.  Trying to keep costs down and to use two engines they already had, the Cavenaugh Mineral Company would build a simple 30" gauge track to carry ore from the mine, to the reduction plant and out to the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad.  They also built an extension down to the San Juan River to bring much needed water to the mine and mill complex.  It is gone now, but if you look closely just west of Mexican Hat, Utah, you may find some remains of what was a prosperous gold mining operation.

Stay tuned as we change the plans for the Augusta Railway to the new Navajo Mining Company.

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