Saturday, August 25, 2007

Last night I looked up the names of all the mines officially recorded in Jefferson county, putting a star next to all of those located in Basin. For a small town it sure has many a mine. I have 24 on my list, but I know the name of at least 4 mines that were not on the list. Maybe their common names differ from their official names. I was reading an abstact from a paper online that said there are around 6,000 abandoned mines in Montana (RECLAMATION EFFECTIVENESS AT THREE RECLAIMED,
ABANDONED MINE SITES IN JEFFERSON COUNTY, MONTANA presented by Tara Tafi and Dennis R. Neuman). Yesterday I walked by the Jib mine again and really wanted to see pictures of it in its day. This is what led me to look up mines in Jefferson county. The search produced mainly coordinates no pictures or information. But after looking at several maps and remembering the information Randy told me at the potluck last week I decided to make a trip to a former silica mine site (it has been reclaimed). The site is about two miles from the residency.

I set out down the road. I had a nice time walking on the path that was a former railroad track and by the Boulder River. I found another mine adit across the river. Its opening was maybe 20 feet up the hill from the river and it looked a little grown in. I wanted to get closer but also didn't want to get my feet wet (ha, which is a rare thing). I might try tomorrow. I was looking at my photos from today and noticed something really eerie in the picture I took of its opening. I might not go. Don't hold me to it.

I came to the bridge that one crosses to get to the hill that contains the reclaimed spot. I walked up and up and up and as I neared the top I was thinking that it was going to be nothing extraordinary. It is a filled in mine the mine part is gone, big whoop. I was wrong, so very wrong. For starters the view from the ledge where the mine was is stunning. Turning the corner there a giant deposit of dolomite shimers from the back wall of the hill side (hill might be understating the size of the bump in the Earth, it may very well be classified as a mountain). I felt very small. The depth at which the Earth has been cut into is deep and this is only what remains open. The space was like being in an almost enclosed pit, open where one climbs up. I looked around them headed back down.

My pictures didn't come out so hot today.

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