Left Fork of Bull Hollow

Tunnel opening in the left fork of Bull HollowDespite having a four-day weekend, I haven’t done much so far. Today I rode my 4-wheeler to Kenilworth and hiked up the left fork of Bull Hollow. I’d been mildly curious about the canyon, but never enough to actually hike it until now–I suppose I was just bored today. It was a pretty easy hike, about 1.5 miles total, with a little scrambling and bushwhacking. I saw in the satellite imagery that it appeared to be a box canyon, which is exactly what I found when I reached a dryfall choked with boulders at the top, but what I didn’t expect to find is what I assume to be a mine shaft near the dryfall. It was a horizontal tunnel through solid sandstone, eight to ten feet wide, but only about two feet tall. I would imagine that it had to have been taller, but had been filled in and the fill settled to leave some room below the ceiling. I couldn’t see an end to the tunnel, even in the photos I took with the flash on. I was wishing I had brought a bright flashlight! The tunnel is very unusual in that all the mine entrances in the area were made directly in the coal seam, and this is the first tunnel I’ve seen dug into sandstone. There’s not a lot of evidence of the material that was removed from the tunnel on the ground outside, but the ground was covered with a lot of plant growth, so it’s difficult to get an idea of the tunnel’s size based on that. There’s no sign of a road, not even an old wagon road, in the canyon, so presumably the tunnel wasn’t used to move coal. More than likely it was a ventilation shaft. I may go back again someday, prepared to get dirty, to see where it leads.

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