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Thread: Mabee Mines-Washougal WA

  1. #1
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    Default Mabee Mines-Washougal WA

    Hi All, I was reading a local history book called "Across Rushing Waters" A history of the Washougal River and Cape Horn.

    I was curious if anybody has been to any of the old mining sites that are in the book (Skamania Mine, Last Chance Mine, etc. ?) The one I am most interested is Mabee Mines. According to the author (written in 1982) there are still lots of things that were left behind, partly due to it's remoteness. The mine would be over one hundred years old now.

    And last, if anybody is interested in checking it out (spring or summer would be best). I am going to post a map from the book on the web. and USGS Topo for GPS users. I guess it's easy to get lost in the wrong canyon up there.

    Best regards,

    Ryan E.
    Last edited by rwerland; 01-12-2007 at 07:00 PM.

  2. #2
    Tsarevna's Avatar
    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Sounds like a fun trip. I live near Beaverton, wouldn't take much more than an hour or two to get to Camas. I've got a couple friends who might be interested, and we could take a Jeep or a 4x4 Kia.

    BTW, what did they mine there?

  3. #3
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    I have tried several times, without success to find this mine. I have done quite a bit of research on old maps and have thought that I had the location, but have been unable to find it. It is an extremely rugged area and very difficult to hike. I've found several other mines in the area that are much more accessable, but not this one.

    In regards to what they mined for at Mabee mine, it was most gold, silver, and copper ore coming out of this area.

  4. #4
    Tsarevna's Avatar
    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Ah, copper ore makes sense, I drove from Vancouver to Washougal last week and saw the current mining/quarrying operations on the eastern edge of Vancouver by the Columbia river. It seems to be above-ground work, and entire hills are gone, half eaten up by the mining. You can come from the north and see high hills with trees on them, pass them and see from the south that sheer drop-offs are on the other side. Like the mountain Half-Dome, in Yosemite. The results make it appear that hydraulic mining has taken place there, I suppose the end result is the same; they are just killing the hills in a much slower manner...

    The dirt there looks reddish-yellow, and wouldn't surprise me if it contained copper.

    Anyway, have you guys heard of Mabee Mines road? It's on the Mapquest/Googlemaps sites. I got excited about it, until I found there's a car dealership on that road, sounds too urban.

  5. #5
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    Default Mabee Mines

    Hi Gixxerdawg and Tsarevna.

    Gixxer, Do you have the book I refered to in my first post? The author drew a map of where Mabee Mines is supposed to be. He has other mines on his map as well. I am assuming he hand drew this map. It looks like Mabee Mines is on Shirt Creek. He has some pictures in the book of some of the junk he found up there as well.
    I also have the author's phone number. I was thinking about calling him and seeing how to get to Mabee Mines.

    Here is the map from the book.
    http://home.pacifier.com/~rwerland/images/Mabee-Mines-Map.jpg

    Tsarevna, It sounds like Gixxer would have to be our guide. I have input some waypoints into my GPS to locate Shirt Creek. I looks like we would have to wade across the Washoughal River from what I can tell.


    I was thinking that in the summer we possibly could come in from the north via the Bluff Mountain trail ? Of course it looks steep and I don't know what the terrain is like.
    I was checking out the area via the 3D terrain from the Google Earth program.

    Talk to you soon,

    Ryan E.
    Last edited by rwerland; 01-31-2007 at 01:12 PM.

  6. #6
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    Hey Ryan,

    Yeah, I have that book. It was actually what got me started with the whole thing. I used the maps in there and tried to overlay with some actual USFS maps to determine the GPS coordinates.

    I have tried it a couple of times, from a couple of different starting points, in different seasons.....and I think I have gotten pretty close, but never hit the jackpot.

    The terrain is crazy rough....slick in winter, brushy as heck in the spring/summer. Also alot of blind canyons, so its easy to get going up the wrong one and have to backtrack. At one point, I came to a cliffy area that would have required ropes, and that turned me around.

  7. #7
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    Tsarevna,

    About Mabee Mines road.....its not really anywhere near the mine. My Dad has some property up there, so I know it pretty well. Its also not very "urban". I think the guy with the so called "car dealership" is just a guy working out of his shop that buys and sells alot of cars. Its not the traditional type of car dealership!

    There is also a pretty neat old dam site up Mabee Mines road on McCloskey Creek. It has long since been dynamited, but alot is still there, and there is 18" iron pipe running all along the upper part of the road that used to carry water from the dam down to a powerhouse. All this stuff is right off the road and is easily accessable.

  8. #8
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    Default Maybee Mines

    Hi all,

    My son found this site while researching for a college project and told me about it. I have been to the Maybee mines about 8 times over the past 20 years. The last time was about 3 years ago when I took my 3 oldest boys (10 - 15) and some family friends.
    A friend and I got interested in the Maybee mines while researching the Copper City mines over on the Copper Creek side of the Silver Star Mtn. In fact, we have been to almost 50 mines surrounding all sides of Silver Star mtn. We have them all plotted on a map we updated as we found them. Many of the mines are fairly short (20 - 50 feet long). But at least one we got into was close to 3,000 feet long.
    As far as the Maybee Mines go, they are blown closed, so you can't get in them currently. And yes there is a lot of stuff laying around including boilers, mining cart track, and a lot of other stuff. I have some pictures from the last time we went up there.
    As far as getting there, you don't want to do it until the water goes down, preferably July or later. And the old trails that were pretty good when we started in the mid 80's are almost obliterated as of 3 years ago.
    There are a couple of ways to get there. The easiest way, if you can get permission, is to go through the green gate up the Washougal river where there are houses. One of the property owners gave us permission the first time we went to find it, but unfortunately we took a wrong valley and wasted that day. But that is the easiest way as there is a bridge across the Washougal and still part of the original road that ran up there. So it is easy going for a little while. We've not been able to get permission to do that since, so we go around it from the north. There is an old trail heading south from up above (very overgrown now, but passable with work). You can take it for about a mile and then cross the Washougal on the remains of an old log bridge (now only a couple of huge logs spanning the river). Then you need to go either overland to connect into the aforementioned road, or head back upstream on the Washougal until you come to (Bluebird creek, I think it was called on the map). Then walk it upstream (very hard going) until Shirt creek peels off (very hard to see), follow it upstream for about a quarter mile, and then you will run into a huge tailing pile on both sides of the creek and lots of metal things up from the creek. You can see where the openings to the mines were by the depressions in the hillside on both sides of the creek. There was supposed to be another opening on the North side up higher, but we aren't sure we found it.
    The other way in is from the top from Bluff mtn. When we first did that around 1990, the trees and brush was very small. In fact, we pretty much sat down and slid down on top of the brush and trees to get to the bottom. It only took us a bit more than an hour to get to the mines. The bummer was climbing back up. It took us about 8 hours to climb back up as the ground was sandy/gravelly and so it was like climbing a sand dune. Unfortunately, the brush grew downhill a bit then curved upward. Pushing through that on the sandy ground about killed me. I seriously thought I was going to have to spend the night there. It was way after dark when we got back to Bluff mtn and our Motorcycles. This last time, we thought we would be smart and have some one drop us off up at the top of Bluff mtn again. But then walk out to the Washougal river and have that person pick us up at the bottom. Unfortunately those small trees and brush had turned into 30 foot fir trees planted tightly together with huge amounts of dead branches that we had to push through. Instead of taking one hour to get down, it took us about 6 hours to get to the Maybee mines. About the same time it takes from the bottom, but much harder.That is not the way to go anymore.
    My boys wanted to go up there again this past summer, hike in, spend a night of two at the mines and explore them further. But we never made the time to do it. They are talking about it for this summer again.
    How do I post pictures on this forum? I can show you some pictures we took on the last trip up there.
    I look forward to continuing the conversation. Kirk

  9. #9
    Tsarevna's Avatar
    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Default to post a photo

    Your adventures sound neat. In order to post a photo to the forum, you can go to www.imageshack.us and upload it.

    Then you click on the "Insert Image" button when you are replying on the forum (looks like a little mountain with a sun in the sky behind it.) There, you enter the http: location that your image is stored at.

    Once you've got your image on imageshack.us, you have a list of http: web addresses shown next to the photo. Some are for viewing from a forum (as would be the case here) some are for putting it as an inline image on a website like ebay...just choose the correct purpose for your photo.

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    bad bob's Avatar
    bad bob is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
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    Default post pics

    Check FAQ above, #3. "Reading & posting msgs", then go to "attachments" part.

    After typing text, scroll down past "submit/preview" button to Additional Options and "Manage Attachments". Pic's sizes are supposed to be limited to no larger than 59kb, IIRC, so you may have to resize.

    I use a program called ACDsee to move & change pics around, etc.,but there are others available to do the same thing. You can get free downloads that are 99% safe at Downloads.com Go there and look around, or type "subject" in search box.
    Last edited by bad bob; 02-18-2007 at 12:40 PM.

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