Gin Lin Mining Trail - Applegate Valley, Oregon

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Real Estate Agent with Century 21 Harris & Taylor

Gin Lin Mining Trail - Applegate Valley, Oregon

Gin Lin Mining Trail

 Taking the well known Gin Lin Mining Trail our dogs did find the ticks, we did see lots of poison oak, but no rattlesnakes.

This area had already been deemed by the local miners to have been thoroughly mined in 1881, when Gin Lin, a Chinese mining boss, purchased several claims in what was known as the "Palmer Creek Diggings."  The Chinese did not come here with the idea of staying, or of owning land, as it was illegal for them to do so back in those times.  They came here to make their fortunes and return to China.  Chinese laborers were known for their hard work, as evidenced by the building of our transcontinental railroad system. 

Gin Lin purchased these claims, and the white miners moved on to more profitable diggings, assuming this area to be worthless.

Gin Lin Mining Trail

 The parking area is surrounded by large, riveted pipes that were used in the hydraulic mining process.

Gin Lin Mining Trail

 The entire area is surrounded by "tailings."  These "tailings" are huge mounds of rock that have been culled from the ground, as the high-pressurized water drew out the gold bearing gravels. 

Gin Lin Mining Trail

This area housed a series of sluice boxes that were used to separate the gold from the gravel as it coursed over the baffles.

Gin Lin Mining Trail

Gin Lin Mining Trail

Overlooking the Applegate River, which began in the Siskiyou mountains.  Thousands of years before this, the river flowed over the area on which we are standing, leaving the gold that man would eventually live and die for.

Gin Lin Mining Trail

Another of Gin Lin's hydraulic mining areas shows how the rocks were rounded by the ancient river.  A myriad of these tailing piles can be found throughout this valley.

Gin Lin Mining Trail

Gin Lin Mining Trail

There are numerous shallow depressions to be found all along the trail, which were "prospect holes" that the miners used in their searches for the "mother lode."  Naturally this was the most sought after source, since this is where all the other gold would be washed down from.  If anything was detected, they would sink a mine shaft to try to follow the gold vein inside the mountain.

Gin Lin Mining Trail

Gin Lin Mining Trail

In order to successfully use hydraulic mining, a constant supply of water is necessary.  Hundreds of Chinese workers dug ditches by hand to bring water from the mountains down to the mining areas.  Mile after mile of these ditches can be found leading from major streams, from as far off as they had to go to find the water.  They course along hillsides, which as you can see was also a good source of water for trees to sink their roots into, as there are rows of them along all of these ditches.

Gin Lin Mining Trail

This is part of the Palmer Creek ditch that once carried water to further mining sites located way down the slope.  This ditch also continues north to Gin Lin'sother claims at China Gulch and Flumet Gulch, about five miles away.

Gin Lin Mining Trail

At one time, on this spot, there was a massive wooden structure that was called a "headbox."  Water flowing down the ditch entered this "headbox" and as it filled, it became a very large reservoir, which when flowing out to a pipe that lead straight down the slope, created a tremendous amount of pressure, which was necessary to blast the mountainsides.

Gin Lin Mining Trail

Gin Lin Mining Trail

These rocks were carefully placed, as if to mark a gravesite, but no information was found.  It just appears as a lot of graves in those days, so I included the photo for your imagination (or mine).

Gin Lin Mining Trail

Gin Lin Mining Trail

The large pipes, as you see in the distance, carried water from the "headbox" to the valley floor, where the water was constricted further by consecutively smaller pipes, culminating at a nozzle, which was oftentimes referred to as a "giant."  The water under such intense pressure that it could move huge boulders with ease.  There is evidence as you travel through this valley where entire mountainsides have been washed down.  It appears that the only reason that they didn't level the whole mountain range was when the gravel stopped producing gold.

Gin Lin Mining Trail

This is an example of the large sluices that they built in the ravines and man-made gullies to wash the gold bearing gravel down.  From here it went through an actual sluice box once the gravel and gold bearing silt had been reduced in size, with the larger cobbles being cast aside. 

Gin Lin Mining Trail

Gin Lin Mining Trail

The larger cobbles were carried by the water flow out of the mining area, and deposited in piles at the end of a wooden flume, which was similar to a sluice box, but it had no "riffles" as its' entire purpose was to move discarded materials out of the area.  We are walking on these tailings today.  Every few days, the miners would have to extend this flume that carried the tailings, as the piles grew higher and wider.  What you see, is the end of the mining activity, and you can find these long, high mounds of cobbles all over the area.

Gin Lin Mining Trail

Gin Lin Mining Trail

The end of the Gin Lin Mining Trail is near, and Gin Lin's end came soon after he finished his mining operations.

Although history is not clear, it was known that Gin Lin returned to China each year to select a new bride, and once he brought her back, he sold the "old model."  It was reported that when Gin Lin finally completed his mining career, he withdrew over a MILLION dollars from the Jacksonville bank.  After that, he returned to China, and from there the story turns to rumors.  It was reported that upon his arrival in Shanghai, that Gin Lin was robbed and murdered on the dock just after he left the ship, but no one knows for sure. 

His accomplishments were looked on with envy and hatred by the white miners in a day when the Chinese had no rights, but the Gin Lin Mining Trail serves as a monument to the man's tremendous accomplishments.

 

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Rainer
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Patty Luther
Rock-n-Roll Realty - Lewiston, ID
Lewiston ID Real Estate, Idaho-Washington

~ wow thanks for the walk ... via the nice pictures~ This would be a great place to visit!

Nov 07, 2010 02:53 PM #1
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Todd Clark
Keller Williams Realty - Beaverton, OR
Broker - Beaverton, Oregon Real Estate Expert - (503) 524-9494

We maybe your way around the 20th or the 21st, may have to meet up and let you show me some good photo spots.

Nov 08, 2010 10:52 PM #2
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Mike

Amazing write up and pictures. I am looking at purchasing a mining claim in this area to try my luck. Best wishes!

May 27, 2011 08:27 PM #3
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Rainer
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Gary Swanson

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