Greetings from the Bureau of Exploration. This is the fourth section of a field report by the Mining Infrastructure and Geological Survey Corps on places of interest in the San Juan Mountains.
My fellow operative and I parked our car in a large open space, an area where records state a mining town once stood. The town is no more, but rising over the valley are stacked concrete foundations, the skeleton of what the town was built around: the Eureka Mill.
The way the structure climbs up the mountain makes me think of an immense staircase. Scaling the first few ‘steps’ of the staircase, we were surrounded by the shattered concrete floors and scattered wooden remains of the mill. One can see what it once looked like from pictures such as this.
We scrambled up the side for the first seven steps. By the eighth, we found a convenient window blasted through the concrete to hop through into the structure proper.
The rubble-strewn floor had the remains of railway tracks that once ran on the roof. To our right was an overlook of the valley, and to our left we saw strange cylindrical tanks towering overhead. We continued our ascent.
I think that these tanks once held ore before it was processed further down the mountain. They seemed out of place in the middle of the Rocky Mountains, being made of great concrete slabs and steadfast rebar rather than decaying wood. To me, Eureka felt less like a mill and more like a sci-fi bunker or strange industrial plant.
The last two steps, eleven and twelve, had more columns. Cascading down the rubble were metal wires that looked like big heaps of snakes, wrapping themselves around the surrounding rock and pillars.
We stood at the top of the ruins for a while under the noonday sun, overlooking the valley and the structure below us.