Friday, October 14, 2011

Tunnel 13: A Hidden Jewel

I love adventures. I love off the beaten path fun. I love history. Tunnel 13 is all these things.

On a recent perfect, sunny fall day a friend of mine took me to this place of history and mystery.

This little known attraction is located off the freeway exit for Mt. Ashland and the trail begins just across the street from Callaghans Restaurant. We walked through the 3,000 + foot tunnel and back. It was dark and cold and water dripped on my head. There was a point in the middle that it was so dark I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. I could barely make out shapes on the ground and the thought went through my head.."that could be a pop can, or it could be a rock...or it could be a rat. Who knows"

After emerging back into the sunlight, we pulled out a book and read in detail the story of the Last Great American Train Robbery. Exactly 88 years ago, on October 11th, 1923 history was made in this tunnel. Brothers, Ray, Roy, and Hugh D'Autremonts heard a rumor that a train coming through here would be carrying up to half a million dollars in gold. They decided this was their chance to get rich and make a name for themselves. So they jumped aboard the train and blew it up with dynamite. Sadly, they were mistaken...there was no gold, many people lost their lives in the explosion, and after being on the run for several years the boys spent most of their lives in prison. You can read more details here if you are interested :)

Today, there are no signs to mark this place or tell the stories. It is just home to a bunch of lizards. But it's a great place to walk around, practice photography, and have a little mini adventure. I love it :)

So go out and do something adventurous matter how big or small. You won't regret it!