This was about three years or so ago. I was doing an eighty-foot rappel. This section was fun because you would drop down with nothing to touch for thirty feet. You can see that I just kicked off and am about to fly down. It's all kid's stuff, though.
This is an example of the stuff that I find off of the beaten path and why I really like finding mines. Pictured above is part of a steam compressor that has been abandoned for over a century. Oh, and the mines...They are a bit scary, I admit. But I am not too afraid to pop in and see what might be lurking in them. I occasionally find big ones; however, most are small prospects that either never produced or the ores were so poor as to not be profitable. Some mines later served as a hideout for moonshiners. Even more interesting are the mines that were used as scams. These played out or phony holes were "salted" with gold from a shotgun blast (the shot replaced with some amount of real gold or silver) or other method, so that crooks could lure in investors and then run off with their money. With gold at today's prices, you'd really have to con some serious money out of someone in order to make it worthwhile. It's these kind of stories that intrigue me the most, not the hole itself. I also like hiking to "death" cars. Having a couple of connections to search and rescue, I get the low down on these grizzly places. This one was particularly gruesome. Three guys came down a dirt canyon road at night and missed a corner. This is what a six hundred foot tumble looks like. Two guys died, with one of those guy's head getting completely crushed. The third guy was thrown out of the Jeep a third of the way down. Although he was seriously injured, he crawled up the incline to the road, nearly died, but then was found and saved. It may seem a bit weird, but I know of guys who have scavenged these wrecks to fix their own vehicles. Don't worry, I would never do something like that.
Then you have more appealing to the masses stuff: waterfalls. I would have to say that checking out waterfalls is my first love when it comes to hiking. Just to give you some scale on this picture, that rock on the right is about twelve feet tall. A sad story about this waterfall: A girl fell to her death here about ten years ago. She was with her boyfriend. They were walking around the rocks at the top and she slipped and fell head first down to the bottom. Her boyfriend scrambled down the hole (the bottom is a very treacherous spot to get to) only to find that he could not do anything to help her. So, he ran down the canyon as fast as he could to get help. In fact, he ran so hard that he broke some bones in his feet from the impact. It was not enough, though, and it was later determined that she had died instantly.
Well, I can't have a bummer ending for y'all, so I thought I'd include my other favorite thing to find on my expeditions: finding rock art. Now, this panel was not in the same canyon as the previous pictures, but is still in my hometown. These simple figures were probably drawn by some Shoshone or possibly Blackfeet--they were both in the area before the settlers came and pushed them out. I've found better examples of rock art outside of my backyard, but I still enjoy hiking up and looking at these little bunny-eared stick figures.
3 months ago