Sunday, December 15, 2013

White Knob Mining Site - Mackay ID

In September LC and I drove up to the small town of Mackay.
Mackay is located up the Big Lost River Valley, about 50 miles from Atomic City.
The drive was flat and fast for the first 30 miles as we traveled through the snowy desert, and once we hit Arco (and the base of the mountains) we traveled on increasingly winding and quiet road past the small community of Moore, until we reached beautiful Mackay.
We stopped briefly on the way up so that I could take pictures, and I will post them another day.
We made many stops on the way home so that I could take pictures.  And those will also be a blog entry for another day.
In September we went to Mackay to attend a free community bar-b-q.
It was a very warm and sunny day, and as we sat in the community park and ate our lunch we listened to a small local band play music.
We were headed back towards the truck when we stopped at one of the booths that were also set up in the park.
The booth was for the local historical society, and as we chatted LC and I learned about an old mine museum that was located in the mountains behind town.
It was only a few minutes drive from where we were, and on the spur of the moment LC and I decided to try and find it.
Blog posts from that trip:
We learned during our visit that there was more to the mine that the two buildings we had spent a lot of time roaming, and as we pulled out of the parking lot of the museum we debated briefly whether or not we should drive further into the mountains to try and find the rest of the mine.
We had left our pup Jamie at the house, had been gone for longer than planned, and decided at that moment that it was better to just head home.
A couple of days ago LC, Kory and I drove back to that place, intent on finding the rest of the mining remnants.............
Driving through the sweet little town of Mackay we traveled the way we had a few months ago, headed towards the back of town.
Quickly we picked up the winding road that would take us up to the mines.
We bypassed the museum we had stopped at in September and continued climbing up the mountain.
Down in Mackay there was little snow, and we were surprised just how short of a climb we had to do before we found more and then still more snow.
Within 15 minutes of leaving town we found ourselves rapidly moving into a winter wonderland.
This house had an old mining bucket strung from two trestles across the entrance of their driveway............
Looking down over the town of Mackay..........
And the rugged mountains that surround this town............
10 minutes after we left downtown LC and I found this sign declaring this to be Mine Hill.
Behind the sign was the first of a series of trestles that lined the road as we continued to climb up the mountain.
The trestles (just as we had seen in miniature at the house with the mine bucket) carried buckets of ore from the mines down to the town....................
We are only 300 miles from Cody Wyoming (where we lived until the end of July of this year), and this area very much reminds me of Wyoming.
But THIS place always reminds me exactly of the terrain around the area we lived in Wyoming.
If I saw pictures of this area without any descriptions attached, I would not be able to tell which state I was looking at.
The mountains were rugged, snow capped and ominous looking on this day, with clouds hanging low............
Continuing to climb..............
The side mirrors of the Tahoe are bigger than the GMC we had, and as I looked back at the mountains behind me I saw Kory in the reflection.
It was cold outside and we had both windows rolled down in back just a little.
Our pup had her head stuck out one of the windows and I snapped this picture of her reflection.
She is a sweet spirit and she makes me smile............
We drove beyond the mine buildings curious to see what the winding, climbing road up ahead looked like.
Not too long after passing by the buildings though, we decided to turn back.
It's winter, there was snow and ice, we were in the mountains, we didn't know the area or how our still untested Tahoe would respond to the icy incline.
Finally finding a wide spot in the road, LC turned the truck and we headed back the way we had come............
It was cold outside, but it was a beautiful day, and as LC and Kory began to post-hole through the snow I stood beside the truck for a moment to survey the scene.
Beautiful, old, rusty, abandoned buildings.
Remnants of old wooden structures.  
Mining remnants laying haphazardly on the ground and partially hidden in the snow.
Pine trees and deep snow everywhere.
Good stuff.............
And beautiful views of the mountains that were located on the opposite side of Mackay.
The small town was down below.  Not visible from where we were standing, but as I looked out over this beautiful scene I enjoyed the fact that we were now living within easy driving distance of..........this...........
A look back at our new (to us) Tahoe.
It is a good vehicle.
No runs, no hits, no errors.
And good and solid in the snow and ice..............
Turning away from both the truck and the scenery, I focused on the very large, dilapidated and hugely interesting building in front of me.
No roof, no windows, boards falling in every direction, trees visible through the large openings.
I loved this place!.............
LC wandered with Kory while I snapped picture after picture of this structure.
Eventually we both found our way to this sign, and after quickly scanning it I looked to my right and saw the entrance to a long-abandoned mine shaft...............
Reading the warning sign, LC handed Korys' leash to me while I handed my camera to him.
I would stay outside the entrance with our dog while LC (not knowing what to expect when he walked through the entrance) would snap a couple of pictures of the inside.............
After a couple of minutes of silence, I walked inside the entrance to see what was going on in there.
Quickly realizing that the tunnel was barred (although some of the spaces between bars were wide enough to allow someone to climb through if they were recklessly motivated to do so), I realized that LC was enjoying himself greatly.
Nose pressed up to the bars he was looking as deeply into the tunnel as he could see.
He began to snap pictures.
I took a few steps through the entrance of the shaft and then turned back to see that my sweet dog was standing right at the entrance and had no interest in going further.
Smart girl.............
Curiosity satisfied, we left the mine shaft intent on exploring the area some more............
There were two other main buildings, and other items that I found partially buried on the ground.
The world around us was completely quiet.
As I stood snapping pictures of buildings and old, rusty, artistically shaped mining artifacts I realized that we had been on this part of the mountain for well over an hour and no other vehicles had driven by.
There was no wind or planes flying overhead, or even birds chirping.
Just a dead calm day.
I was glad that we were here in this place.
Was glad that we had waited for winter.
In September we found people in the mining museum a couple of miles back down the mountain.
Had passed vehicles on the road, and four wheelers on the trails.
In this most beautiful of seasons we had the world to ourselves............
It is said that in a certain faraway land the cold is so intense that words freeze as soon as they are uttered, and after some time thaw and become audible, so that words spoken in winter go unheard until the next summer....................Author Unknown

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