Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Karangahake, Or, There's Gold In Them Thar Gorges

We drove on to Thames, at the base of the Firth of Thames (left side of Coromandel peninsula) and then beyond into the quartz gold-mining country in the Karangahake Gorge that made Thames famous and wealthy in the 19th century. After our explorations in Karangahake, we spent the night at the municipal camping aire in Thames, which, with a new shopping centre, appears a good bit more prosperous than in 2014.
First, at the Victoria Battery...lots of old mining apparati laying
around

These were the foundations of the humongous cyanide tanks there


Thus, back in the day; we know about cyanide heap leaching
from our time in Montana, not so long ago; it's a process by
which you can get an ounce of gold from 20 tons of ore...
















Very definitely Romanesque, no? Caius Julius Lacer would be
proud

Buy locally
 
Not very far down the road were the Owharoa Falls, 30-40 feet
high, spilling into a gorgeous little pond


Moving right along, we are now in the
Karangahake Gorge itself, to do the Windows
track; here I am posing in my miners garb
(I was more into placer mining, but that's a
different story)

Beautiful waterway through the gorge

More rusty artifacts

Entrance to the mine tunnels we will now walk through for some
time; looks perfectly safe...

The gorge; a bit; one walks through the mountain/cliffs on the
left, then crosses the river on a swing bridge and walks back up
the gorge by the river

"Did you remember to bring the flashlight like I asked you?"
Dead end


Light at the end of the tunnel; actually it was only a "window"


Looking out and down from one of the "windows"


Back in the light of day, Vicki on the swing
bridge

Looking back up at one of the windows

And looking back up the gorge

Interesting and very accessible cultural/historical park, of which
we did only a bit

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