Sunday, August 1, 2010

212/365 - Old Copper Falls

View down a two-lane road.
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

People in a narrow rocky cut, with metal detectors
Click the photo to see it on Flickr.

Yesterday, I set out to find the old Copper Falls Mine. The Copper Falls property is extensive, and there were at least 5 different mines on it -- mines, not shafts, because each mine had several shafts, adits, and many buildings.

The Old Copper Falls mine is very old indeed, and it's located right in the bed of Owl Creek. It's also about a mile (through dense woods) away from anything even vaguely like civilization. By "civilization", I mean, a road -- of any kind -- paved or not.

So, when I bushwhacked my way down to the old mine, I felt very proud indeed -- until I realized that I wasn't the first one there. Three prospectors were already standing in the streambed, just below where the stream disappears into one of the old shafts. They were examining what they thought was the original Copper Falls Fissure -- the seam of copper which started the mine.

They had apparently walked up the streambed from the mill sands below. I chatted for a while, watched them do some very dangerous prospecting (standing over a shaft!), and then bid them farewell and started bushwhacking my way back uphill.

The top photo is a shot of the nearest bit of civilization to the Old Copper Falls mine, about half a mile uphill. It's the Eagle Harbor Shortcut road, and it runs past a very large number of old mines.

After taking this photo, I continued on to my car. Just as I was getting in, a jeep containing the three guys who I had met at the mine came past, jaws dropping as they saw that I had beat them (bushwhacking uphill!) to that corner. One of them yelled "did you HIKE all this way?!" as they went past!

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