Before you read this, you should google “Golden Tunnel Wa” to get a little backstory. What you will find is a lot of heated threads on bbs or people triumphantly announcing how they themselves solved the riddle and saw for themselves the great mystery that is The Golden Tunnel, often condemning all those “keepers of the Golden Tunnel” along the way.
In Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines Volume #1, the authors briefly mention the Golden Tunnel, while there isn’t much to the entry, admittedly it comes off as quite secretive. I first saw color photographs of the site on 2drx.com, and they too were very secretive. Doesn’t that just make you go nuts? Who doesn’t like a solid mystery? Well if you follow the threads, you’ll find quite a few that don’t and want to be led by the hand right to the adit itself.
To each their own I guess, I don’t like a “gimme” when a real mystery is in my hands, I needed to figure it out. I followed the subtle clues that DWHM# 1 let on to, and via internet searches and looking for clues hidden between the lines in the threads I started to piece it together. I won’t ruin the mystery for you, but with the footwork I did, and some suspicious looking trails I found, cut in the middle of nowhere and seemingly for nothing, the final clue hit me like a hammer.
What I will tell you is the name of the mine is linked with the name of the creek that flows from the basin the Golden tunnel is in. That being said, in the world of mining, mines can change names like the wind blows. I’m sure there are other “hammer” clues for people, but thats what really sewed it up for me.
I had to wait over an entire winter and busy summer before I made my attempt. I can still remember some nights, pouring over the clues, looking at aerial maps and daydreaming about what I would find. The kind of stuff life that makes you feel alive!
Sparing you the details of the reconnoitering and journey, I will cut and paste my original writings to my friends at NWUE upon my discovery of the Golden Tunnel:
“Hey, so I visited the Golden Tunnel today, and it was a
harrowing journey at the least. The area is very steep,
many wild gullies to cross, steep talus slopes and worst
of all the ultra steep pine needle laden hard dirt, there
has got to be a word for that, if not we should create
one, because by far the steep pine needle hard under
layer is the worst. The area that the mine is in
immediately says to one,” I will kill you with a falling
rock”. While I was milling about I counted 4 rockfalls
loud enough to audibly detected and did witness a rock the
size of a 55 gallon barrel rip down the hillside. I don’t
know if I was being overly sensitive, or was just there on a bad day.
So much about the GT can be found online,
from people claiming to know it’s whereabouts, to people
slamming NWUE for not making available a Rand McNally map
to the GT’s front door. There are so many people who make allegations of
NWUE being “keepers of the golden tunnel” and in the same
breath making themselves out to be a sort of self styled
“champion of truth”. As I was walking back I reflected on
a lot of this, it seems to me that the sort of person who
would beg for a map, finally get it, and actually make the
journey, would also never find what they were looking for
at the Golden Tunnel. Perhaps it was me too, what I
thought I would find, from things I’d read, the heated
postings, proclamations of disclosure, the great mystery.
I suppose everyone, on their journey to the Golden Tunnel
will be seeking something different, and find something
unexpected. Not to ruin the surprise my friends, but when
I stood outside the massive entryway of the Golden Tunnel
after poking around, seeing the sites, I let out a loud
laugh and a smile came across my face, as for all the mystery and the intrigue, it was in the end, the journey
which was the real reward, for in the end I found myself
in the middle of nowhere, looking at a giant hole in the
side of a hill. Ha Ha Ha! Stay out, Stay Alive!”
That basically sums it up.
Nowadays some of these self stylized “champions of truth” will give you a map right to the GT’s door, but reader, what is the point? I can tell you first hand, the GT isn’t much to see, it is the mystery, the clues, and the heated comments that make it what it is, a fantastic modern mystery in a world that has all but killed wonder of the unknown. If you choose to locate it, and if you choose the easy way, you are cheapening the journey and you’ll find nothing but a hole in a hill.
If however, you treat it like a mystery, a real adventure of your very own, perhaps you will find yourself laughing with a belly of joy in the middle of nowhere, and carry with you the memory of solving a true enigma and the brazen journey it took to find.
Good Luck and Happy Trails,