Mountain Mining Metals Adventure sounds exciting and back in the day this was an incredibly lucrative day-to-day 'JOB' and it wasn't all that long ago. Way up high in the mountains and hundreds of meters into the mountain tunnels, spending long hours with no daylight, hammering away to get those precious metals. It brings pictures of the great gold rushes, but even everyday metals we take for granted, though mechanised and automated today..took hard work.
I was remembering Fishing with my own family growing up and we would go fishing with those lead sinkers. Do you know what I am talking about: those fishing line 'weights'. These were some of my best memories my family would take a trip up to cottage country way 'up north' spending time together in nature, in tents, then cabins and eventually we built our own cottage with the luxury of running water and indoor plumbing!
...I mean no more OUTHOUSE ! ...Whew!
Some Fond memories though.
We are all so quick to forget where we come from, our past and what about all of that stuff on the store shelves?
Where does it come from?
How does it actually get there?
Though I started wondering about it...wouldn't you know I was about to re-connect with this piece of life learning...
A couple of weeks ago I was invited to be a part of a trip, a real Mountain Mining Metals Adventure into the southern mountains of Germany where I would learn and re-connect with those fishing 'sinkers' and where they actually came from. Mining for Lead inside the mountains. This would be a trip that I would love to take my whole family on and to actually live a couple of days learning about Mountain Mining for Metals. Even the shelves themselves...in fact all of our resources and our everyday things we take for granted, have been 'acquired' with lots of hard work and unique, creative and ingenious engineering applications.
We went into the South of Tirol in Bavaria Germany where several mountains where used extensively and lucratively for mining different precious metals. During those years in the middle ages known as the Bronze Age, it wasn't only silver and gold that were mined but even some of those often 'forgot of' basic metals for the industry needs of the times: copper, steel, iron, bronze, Lead and tin.
The Mine was really pretty cool, and being there with one of my own kids made it pretty special especially seeing his excitement of going into the mine and using a hammer and a pick. The mine we went into was really just a replica, and a smaller version and of course it was not up at the height on the mountain nor the depth of the tunnels of the real one but...to walk in and see what kind of a stone carrying cart they used and made themselves and did repairs on sight with their own blacksmith in his own on-site Smithy was a real sight to experience!
We could use the hammers and picks and break off some of the stones inside of the mine so we could 'hunt' for some metal ores in the rocks. You really 'felt' like you were back in time digging in the mine for some precious metals. It was really very cool. I loved seeing my boy run off, whenever he could from the 'tour activities' to pick up hammer & pick and get right back to work again. It was neat to see him excited and engaged with this. I am sure he felt this was turning into his own Mountain Mining Metals Adventure!
Once he had the rocks chipped away from inside the mine he got to work right away to start chipping away the useless shards of rock from the 'ORE' he had discovered in his PIECE of rock. He went straight from the mine into the 'cutting room' cabin and got his rock sample into the smoothy grooved cutting rock bed, and starting to work on hammering away at his find. It reality this cutting cabin would not necessarily be right at the entrance of the mine but further down where the woman and children would help as most of the mining men stayed up the mountain at the mine. Men would carry the rocks from the mine a couple of hours down the mountain for the cutting room work. It really was a whole 'team' effort in the process.
It was fascinating to see STEM in action hundreds of years ago, where these mining engineers used the power of water with a water wheel they would construct down the line from directed mountain water, which was always flowing out of the mine. I am not kidding, even in the mine, I was getting a soaker because of water constantly seeping out of the rocks inside of the mine to find a way to flow right on out .
These ingenious engineers used this 'Water Power' directing it to their water wheel to turn whatever they needed to free up their 'ManPower' whether to raise or drop hammers or sift away lighter shards of rock to help with the ore sorting process to finding their precious metals.
They would engage the water wheel by redirecting water to push and turn the water wheel attached to a sort of axle turning this cylindrical beam with 'lifting' pegs attached to it to slowly lift up heavy 'crushing' beams fitted with metal sheet covers to fall under the power of gravity and smash the rocks to shards, pebbles and to powders.
Once our miners got all of their crushed rocks through the cutting room and the automated 'CRUSHER' they could use water power with another water wheel connected to a huge shaker sifter. a bit like the old west gold rush stream sifting bowls but instead of using a stream directly, our miners would use an automated water flow by design to move the lighter powders and pebbles, layer by layer, dropping the heaviest pieces of the ore searched for, left behind in the trays to be scooped up, dried, carted away and stored under lock, key and guarded --after all it was the most precious commodities at the time and in the location.
As with all equipment, no matter what industry where tools are used in, maintenance to keeping all equipment in proper working order was no different for the miners and a Blacksmith shop or Smithy was on site to help keep everything in working order. Probably not the life you might imagine: as a Blacksmith you would invariably, receive the lifelong guarantee that you would, without a doubt become completely DEAF
Every SMITHY Blacksmith shop was fully equipped with every tool to keep all mining equipment functional for every day of the 'JOB'. Take a close look at the huge 'HAMMER' in the bottom left of the picture...that is driven upwards with the Blacksmith's own Water Wheel to raise it and drop it down with a Deafening blow onto the metal piece to be formed into whatever piece is needed. This hammer went all day every day...and it would hurt your ears no matter how hard you tried to press your hands against your ears.
BANG...BANG...BANG....BANG....BANG...ALL DAY LONG!
No wonder they all went DEAF.
They really have no choice there...
Mining was and is a tough way of life!
Long and full days of work, hard work and sweaty as can be.
After a long's day work 'out of the sun' in the wet mountain mining tunnels inside, miners come out to their 'shared' log beam house accommodations - which is really just 1 big room with a fireplace and beds...a whole 'lotta' beds.
What an amazing bunkbed!
It even sleeps our whole family on any 1 level that we would choose. The mining house that we visited on our trip fit 28 working miners.
Now THAT is a Full House!
So what do you think about taking a mining trip for you and your Family?
Love to hear some of your Family Adventures with MOUNTAIN MINING experiences you've had or are planning on doing with your whole family. There are many opportunities that are never too far away from your home. Maybe a day trip or maybe you make it a real adventure trip to enjoy and remember.
After all , being together is what memories are made of. Enjoy it!
Take my word for it, this might be just the Mountain Mining Metals Adventure your family could really grab on to. If it turns into a day trip or you take a few days travelling together take a few fun snacks and some god tunes for the trip.
A great road trip snack you can really sink your teeth into that hits the spot are our Homemade Sweet Belgian Waffles that we love to bring along on our short trips, but my advice is to leave out the sirup and just save that one for the table at home. Try out this quick and delicious snack. Click Right here: our Homemade Sweet Belgian Waffles Recipe and check back as I add in a butter and milk free scrumptious new waffle recipe for you to try for your next adventure.
If you are states side Click right here for a gem hunting list of some great potential places for some Family trip planning to find some gems.
If you are in the UK going through a tin mine could be lots of fun for your family. Just Click Here for the Geevor Mine in Cornwall in the UK
European families could really enjoy South Tirol living, mining from the middle ages, searching for gems or experiencing the Germany salt mines. Check out Click Knappenwelt-Gurgltal in South Tirol Austria for a cool Mining adventure experience with a group or for your whole family.
Enjoy whatever adventure you and your family go on...
Keep growing closer together and building up your family relationships with one another, and...
...As always, with Love from our Family to Yours...