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Thread: Mabee Mines-Washougal WA

  1. #141
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    [/QUOTE]One thing my dad did mention is some of the mines over the edge of the windy road once you get over the skamania mines bridge, he said there is some holes and foundations of small buildings "ruins" if you will. Is this the general area of the 3000ft deep mine shaft you talked about?

    Next up, camping expedition to Mabee mines and bluebird hopefully. Possibly next week if the weather coperates. Anyone else planning a expedition up there anytime soon?[/QUOTE]


    Hi Jon, There are mines up toward the end of the Skamania Mines road, but most of those are on private property (the two at the very end of the road are not on his property). We have talked to the guy who lives on the property before and he was nice enough, but it sounds like he gets his share of partier's who cause trouble. So you may want to seek him out and talk with him instead of making him find you. The 3,000 foot mine is back down the road, closer to the house that is up the hill on the right. I believe those people own the property this mine is on, but I have never talked with them.

    There is a possibility that we might be able to go to the Maybee Mines on Saturday, but I am not sure of our commitments yet. You have the right idea about camping out there. That is something we have wanted to do, but hasn't happened yet.......

    Kirk
    Last edited by kvangeld; 09-13-2010 at 05:19 PM.

  2. #142
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    Alright, it turns out that I will be unable to go, but at least one of my sons (Jeremy) will be going. I took him to the mines back in 2002, and he is confident in his ability to find them again. So, what if we plan to meet up at the Heisson store at 8:30 on Saturday morning? From there, everyone can caravan up to the ridge. If it takes an hour to drive up to the ridge and an hour and a half to drop down to the mines, you should have another hour and a half to explore before you need to start climbing back up. I can send Jeremy's e-mail address to anyone who asks in a PM.

  3. #143
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    Yeah I won't be making it out this weekend, as I have caught a cold that is just bad enough to drain me of most of my energy. I am going to try for next weekend, weather permitting.

  4. #144
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    How was the trip into the mines last weekend? Who all went to the maybe mines.... did you got to any other mines in the area..

  5. #145
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    As I said, I didn't make it last weekend, but I'm going to try tomorrow I think.

  6. #146
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    If you go, take some pictures for the rest of us. We are tied up tomorrow with a conference and a barn painting, so we can't tag along.

  7. #147
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    I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO annoyed! I just wrote a long detailed response and hit submit and it said my token had expired and I lost EVERYTHING that I just typed! Gotta redo it all, and I'm going to try to remember what all I wrote!

    I made it to Mabee Mines on Saturday, although I was unable to take any pictures due to the fact that I broke my phone on the hike the last time I tried to go, so I left it in the truck this time. As planned, I hiked in from the top, and came back out that way as well. I parked right at the top of the hill, and descended down the mountain. The mountain has a combination of sections of softball sized rock, and other parts with vegetation. It is quite steep and the altimeter on my GPS shows that it was a 2000ft descent from my truck at the top to the mine, the majority of it being this part of the mountain! All in all the descent wasn't too bad. I always carry a side arm while hiking, and recommend it in general, but I especially do here as there were many huckleberry bushes on this part of the trip and I came across several piles of bear feces. Chances are a bear will avoid human contact at all costs, but chances aren't what I like to take.

    At the bottom of the steep portion of the mountain I could hear Shirt Creek, so I made a B-line to it to refill my water bottle. I found a pool on Shirt Creek about a meter deep at the top of a 40ish foot tall waterfall. It was like something out of a story book, and I sat for a few minutes resting, drinking, and enjoying the scenery. I climbed vertically down the face of the waterfall, and there were small 1-2ft wide ledges every 8 feet or so and small trees with sturdy branches that allowed me to hang on and lower myself down to the next ledge. It made for one of the more memorable parts of the hike. Once I had gotten down to the bottom of the waterfall I continued on down the creek bed, which I found was extremely littered with dead timber! Everything from medium sized trees to small branches and twigs had stacked up and interwoven to make a carpet over the entire creek bed, and care had to be taken to make sure I stayed on the larger timber, as it was suspended far enough above the creek bed that when I stepped in the wrong place my foot went through and I fell up to my hip. The dead timber was so plentiful and dry that it was a major fire hazard and that should be as good of reason as any to promote logging!

    I was glad to be past that portion of the hike and onto where the creek bed was more clear, and it was just rocks and an occasional downed log to navigate, and a few water falls here and there to climb down (much smaller, usually 6 ft at the most... none compared to the the 40+ft waterfall that I had climbed down previously). I probably crossed the creek 20 more times on slick rocks as I navigated the easiest route down. I definitely appreciated my hiking boots that are completely water proof as long as water doesn't go above the ankle. I wasn't paying too heavy attention to the woods around me, as my complete focus was on the creek bed and the best way to navigate it, and it wasn't until I went to cross the creek one last time that I went to step on what I thought was a small log, but then realized that it was actually an iron pipe. At that point I knew I had to be close and looked around me and noticed the tailings piles. I was ecstatic to finally be there after my 3.5-4 hour hike!

    It was amazing, and there is SO much stuff there! There are old parts to steam engines, including boilers, crank shafts, connecting rods (the connecting rods looked pretty much like those of modern internal combustion engines, only they were about the length of my arm), etc. There were pots and pans that some #$%^&*@ had put some .22 caliber holes in, a half buried mining cart, mining cart wheels, SO many mining cart tracks strewn about, pipes, plumbing fittings, and on and on and on. There were things I didn't even get to see because I only had 25 minutes to look around before I had to be hiking back. I knew that I would be battling daylight to get out. I've hiked through the woods at night before, and it's not something I care to do. The place comes to life, and you can hear so many animals moving and you never know exactly what is what.

    Anyway, I made VERY good time back up the creek. I was literally RUSHING to get out, because I knew that the mountain would take a lot of my time. I climbed the tall waterfall again, and stopped at the pool at the top to drink and refill my water bottle one last time before I began the part that I had been dreading. I don't know if I can say this on here, but that climb was ****! I didn't find any sandiness that Kirk described from his trip a few years ago, but it literally took everything I had mentally and physically to climb that nearly straight up and down section after I had been hiking for 8 hours! It's so steep that I first got sight of my truck when I was within 100 feet of it, and there is nothing that I appreciated more at that moment than climbing in and taking a seat. The 1st stars were already visible as I sat down, and the only thing that I would have changed from there is the fact that I had a clutch to operate down the mountain. I'm not an automatic transmission guy by any means, but if I was that worn out every day I might be.

    Ideally the best way to get the full experience without all the aching would be to hike in and get lifted out by a helicopter lol! Realistically speaking, however, I can definitely see why others have hiked in from the top and gone out the bottom across the Washougal River, but that takes a lot of prearrangement and somebody who is a great sport about dropping you off and picking you up. I have a friend who is interested in camping out and spending a few days digging because I would like to reopen the mine, and we might do that next year. The idea of being the 1st person in there since it was blown shut in 1916 is exciting to me, and I figure that if there's that much stuff outside, then there's probably stuff left inside as well. Anyway, it's just a dream right now.
    Last edited by 9812vCTD; 09-27-2010 at 11:40 AM.

  8. #148
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    On the road on the way up I ran across this den. I wanted so badly to look in it, but did not want to without someone watching my back, as I could hear something moving in the bushes around 100 yards from me. Fortunately a very friendly family game along and wanted to see inside as well, so we played the buddy system.







    It was quite large, and went back into the hill side about 15-20 feet. The opening was just large enough that a medium sized black bear could squeeze in and out. It seems too big for much else (maybe coyotes, but it would be the largest coyote den I've ever seen, and that would be a TON of digging for such a small animal), and too close to the road for something as reclusive as a cat. To be honest I'm shocked that anything would dig a den that close to the road. The ground was well trampled inside and out, although it was just packed well enough that no distinct footprints could be made out, so I'll have to come back once there's fresh snow and see what's been coming and going... or if there's a bear hibernating in there.
    Last edited by 9812vCTD; 09-27-2010 at 03:00 PM.

  9. #149
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    Tsarevna is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Very nice story and pictures, thanks for sharing!

    I'd be willing to bed that's not an animal den. Sure, animals could be dwelling within it now...but that just looks too sculpted to be an animal den. A lot of mine entrances look just like that.

    I wonder if it's a test adit? Or perhaps an adit that just caved in deeper inside?

  10. #150
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    Hey Luke, I feel your pain. Both on the Ghost Town forum timing out before posting (I had the same thing happen to me after writing about a page and a half a couple of years ago, only to have it vanish before my eyes. I now write it in Word and copy it over to the forum.), and on surviving the climb back up out of the Shirt Creek valley. It sounds like you followed the creek upstream and then climbed out. We climbed out the North side right at the mines and then walked the ridge West to the road. So the ground must be somewhat different in the two places. Either way it sounds like it took you about the same time to make the climb. What time did you start hiking down from your truck in the morning?

    All that work for 25 minutes. Argh. I think the longest we have been able to spend at the mines is about 2 hours.

    Did you actually go by yourself? Wow. I am too chicken to do that. I need someone who is well versed in CPR! J

    Its amazing how much stuff is still around there. But after hiking back out, you can see why people don’t want to be hauling stuff back with them. Its hard enough to get yourself out, without carrying a souvenir.

    Like you we would like to hike in and spend a couple of days digging it out and exploring it. My only concern is that if it has been shut up for that long, what is the air like in there? Is it safe? It would really be nice to let it air out for a time. No way I am hauling a backpack blower down there. .

    Nice pictures of the den/mine. We have stopped and looked at that probably a dozen times in the past 25 years. If you look at it closely inside with light, you can see that it was dug out from the rock. So it is man-made. I suspect they were checking the vein at a higher elevation to see if it was mineralized at that point. Since it is so short, I am assuming that they didn’t deem it worthy of continuing. Also, the opening has fallen in over time, it used to be much more open at the front when we first found it. Now you have to climb over the pile at the opening. But at least it is a nice easy mine to get to compared with the Mabee Mines! J

    Thanks again for sharing. It makes me relive that same adventure of physically and mentally struggling to lift my foot for one more step knowing that it is starting to get dark and I still can’t see the top…….I hope I don’t have nightmares tonight! But I bet you slept well!

    Kirk

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