Thursday, September 26, 2013

White Knob Mining Site (Mackay ID) - Part 1

After leaving the bar-b-q in Mackay we followed the directions from the person at the historical society booth, and found ourselves heading up into the hills behind the town.
It was all new territory for both of us, and LC stopped the truck briefly so that I could take pictures of both the mountains and river................
As I stood on the bridge overlooking the Big Lost River I looked around me in wonder.
If I had been blindfolded and dropped in this place I wouldn't know if I was in Idaho or Wyoming.
The mountains, the color of the mountains, the desolate areas filled with trees at higher elevations and dotted with trees at lower elevation (that told me that water must be close by), the sage, all reminded me of both the North Fork and South Fork outside Cody.
4 wheelers passed us as we stood on the bridge. 
Headed up into the mountains for adventure on a very beautiful and warm early fall day................
As I climbed back into the truck I glanced one last time at the river, and for the first time noticed that we were being watched.
This beautiful and very curious guy was intently studying us...............
Five minutes later we found the sign telling us that we had reached our destination - the White Knob Historical Mining Site.
We were still close to town, but in the short drive we had just taken it felt as though we had traveled to a whole different world.
God, it looked just like Wyoming.
I didn't know why I was so surprised.  After all, we had only moved 300 miles west of Cody.
Maybe I was so used to the desert and buttes of Atomic City.  Or Number Hill in Arco.  Or the Alaska-like green and trees of Salmon.
But regardless, I found myself constantly looking at the terrain around me, and feeling as though I was out in  the rugged mountains of Wyoming.................
As we turned left onto a long dirt and gravel driveway I scanned the museum grounds.
There were two large buildings.
A large crane resting at the side of the driveway on one side and a huge ore cart on the opposite side.
Some huge and rusty........somethings.........mining somethings...............
For a region that is primarily LDS and deeply religious, I immediately found it amusing that the ore car had the numbers 666 painted on its side.
And then I found it curious.  Because there is a submarine tower located in a park in Arco just down the road, and painted on ITS' side is also the number 666.
The first time we stopped in Arco when we were house hunting, we stopped at that park and took many pictures.
It's not every day that you see a portion of a submarine in the desert.
A link to the pictures we took of the sub tower during that trip:
Wandering into the closest and smallest of the two main structures I was surprised to see this old truck..............
When I lived in Juneau, one of the many things I loved about the place were the many old and rusty remnants that spoke to the area's gold mining history.
There were old mines, old wooden and partially falling down structures, old railroad lines hidden all through the mountains, and on hikes it was very common to come across them and be able to explore and enjoy them.
One of the many beach fronts that we walked was over on Douglas Island, across the channel from Juneau proper.
From the parking lot your hike would begin either on trail or along the sandy beach, but within just a few minutes you would come across an endless array of mining artifacts - hidden in the trees and bushes, along the trail, buried and half buried in the sand.
Because I knew very little about tools and mining I found myself looking at whatever rusty thing I came across and all I saw was art.
Rusty, weathered, molded and bolted, wonderfully shaped and intriguing and
And so it went on this day as well.
A lifetime away from Alaska, and a totally different person from who I was then, but still knowing nothing about tools and mining, and still only seeing art.
As  I continued to slowly wander the grounds I absently and quickly snapped pictures of informational signs without reading them.
If you click on any picture it will enlarge................
I was loving this place.
Partially because it was a quiet place nestled among quiet mountains, partially because (at least when we first arrived) we were alone and could wander slowly without the distraction of others, partially because of a love of old and rusty, and partially because LC WAS reading the signs.
Learning about smelters and skimmers and blast furnaces.
Oh my.
He was excited to see the old truck.  Excited to learn the function of each large piece he came across on the grounds.  Excited because he loves tools.
Very quickly I was glad that we had made this unexpected and unplanned side trip.............
The huge pieces had been placed outside, and it wasn't until we entered the larger of the two buildings that I realized that we had barely touched the surface of what they had at this museum........
It also wasn't until after we got home (and I had a chance to do a little research on the mining history of Mackay) that I found this information and this website.  
LC and I climbed only a short way before finding this little museum.
It turns out that further up into the mountains there is much more to see:

A link to the Town of Mackay:

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