Blue Cut Railroad and Price Canyon

Railroad through the Blue CutI did some hiking close to home today with my family. I’ve spent more than enough money on fuel the last few weeks that I decided it would be best to stick around this weekend. We started out at an abandoned railroad grade between Carbonville and Spring Glen. I had already hiked around there a bit in 2006, but I never left the railroad grade. This time we hiked around between the old and new railroad alignments, a space about 0.4 miles long and 0.1 miles wide. Apparently, before US-6 was realigned and widened to four lanes, the railroad hugged the cliffs east of the Blue Cut. When the highway was realigned, the railroad and a canal were also realigned, but the remnants of all three still exist in this small area that’s isolated by the cliffs on one side and the new railroad grade on the other. We saw an old canal flume, some fox dens, deer, parts of the old concrete highway, and some wooden culverts under the old railroad grade. It was a very interesting place, and it left me wishing I could see what it looked like 50+ years ago when the old alignments were still in use.
Tunnel under US-6We headed up Price Canyon after checking out the Blue Cut area. I’ve driven through Price Canyon a lot, but haven’t stopped much to really look at it. I stopped at a pullout just past the US-191 junction that has several historical markers. I was looking at some old mining buildings across the highway from the pullout when the kids asked why there was a section of fence just down the hill toward the Price River. I looked in that direction and wondered the same thing–there was a 10′ section of chain-link fence on the hillside, with no apparent purpose, but I couldn’t see the very bottom of the fence. I got out of the truck and walked to the edge of the pullout where I could see the entire section of fence, and it was anchored into what looked like a low concrete wall. I hiked down the very steep and loose hillside and was surprised to find that the concrete wall was just the top of a big tunnel. The tunnel extended at least a few hundred feet under the highway, and I couldn’t see the end of it. It was too dark (i.e., I was too scared) to walk to the end, but I went in about 50 feet until I was standing just under the truck. I’ll have to go back with a bright flashlight (and some reinforcements) to follow it to the end.
Sandstone block building along US-6We continued up the canyon and stopped at a side canyon with a short road leading up to a building made from sandstone blocks. I’ve seen the building countless times while traveling through Price Canyon, but never once had I stopped to check it out. There was another smaller building there that couldn’t be seen from the highway, and it looked similar to another building I’d seen that somebody told me was an explosives storage building for when they were widening US-6 through the canyon. I couldn’t tell what the larger building was used for, but it had a heavy-duty steel door like the explosives building. After playing around in (and on) the buildings, we drove farther up Price Canyon, across Emma Park Road, then down Willow Creek Canyon back toward home, finding several geocaches on the way. We had a fairly full day, and there are two more days left in the weekend. I’m hopeful that I can find something to keep me occupied the rest of the weekend, and that it won’t all be yard work! ­čśÇ


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