The title of this post should probably be "Burro Schmidt's Folly."
He began digging the tunnel in 1900. By 1920, a road was built around the mountain, eliminating the need for the tunnel. Schmidt's nickname wasn't Burro for no good reason. By this time, Schmidt had spent way too much time in the tunnel. Despite the existence of the new road, he was obsessed with finishing his tunnel. I guess he figured he was almost done, so why not finish it.
Finish it he did and it only took him 18 MORE YEARS! When he was done with the tunnel he sold the whole thing and moved on. He never did use the shortcut to move his ore.
It looks really dark in there!
Maybe I'll just go in a bit and check it out.
The sunlight sure doesn't reach too far into the tunnel!
My flashlight made it look pretty eerie.
It looks even weirder with a camera flash. It wasn't the eeriness of the tunnel that kept me from walking to the other side and back, it was the....
I'm sure it wasn't healthy to breath this stuff in and I'm sure it was even worse on my camera. I turned around after about a hundred yards or so. Must have been my hallway phobia again...
This is the view looking out of the tunnel.
I've run across a lot of odd things, places and people in the desert, but I've got to say, this was one of the oddest. This guy was as stubborn as they come...
Burro Schmidt's Tunnel was one of the stops on my day with Death Valley Jim. He was a gracious host and showed us several great places. Including The Old Dutch Cleanser Mine, this place and a few others.