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Thread: Mabee Mines-Washougal WA

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Near Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    77

    Default

    Hi Ryan,
    Questions and answers below and within. Kirk

    Quote Originally Posted by rwerland View Post
    Hi Kirk. Ryan here. I have been to the two little mines up the dead end road over the log (before the new bridge of course) at Copper Creek and hang a left and climb up. These two caves were pretty lame. A bear wouldn't even want to go in these . Those are great ones to find first since it is easy to be impressed by the next ones you find. As I remember those are pretty much out in the open on the side of the hill? Is that correct?

    I think some of your boys were in a cave (peeking out) that is along Road 41 just off the road. Good eyes, that is correct. I am constantly amazed every time I see that one. There doesn't seem to be any reason for it to be there, and there aren't any around it that I have found. I have been up Star Creek a little ways, but have yet to explore it further. That is a gorgeous valley. It has awesome waterfalls on it. My boys like going up there. I need to take a machete if I remember. I agree, it has really gotten bad toward the top of the climb and beyond. There is virtually no sign of the road anymore. I lost a nice pair of sunglasses on that old road next to Star Creek. I found an abandoned Isuzu Trooper there in 1995. I think I may have seen the same one.
    I noticed on the USGS map that there is what appears to be a huge waterfall at the end of Star Creek. Yes, it comes from high up on the North side of Silver Star and falls between a huge crack in the rock. This is the only trip I was able to take in the area this past summer. It was a tough hike to get there. Took us all day to make the round trip and we only stayed at the Waterfall for about an hour or so.

    I would be interested in know where the 3,000 ft. deep cave is and if and how far you have been into it. It is on Skamania Mines Road on a tributary off the West Fork of the Washougal River. It is easy to get to, but hard to find. You only have to walk about 200 feet off the road to get to it. I will leave it at that for now.


    Now, one thing to know about this one. I believe it is on private property. The last time I was there about 3 years ago, it had a no trespassing sign on it. But it was open.

    I have been all the way to the back of it about 3 or 4 times. It is awesome. Bring a good flashlight and batteries. Take a look up at how wide the quartz vein is in parts of it.

    Note: virtually all of the mines have water in them that range from a few inches to over a foot. So boots are nice, unless you just like sticking your nice warm feet in very cold water.

    Note #2: Many of the mines have vertical shafts either in them or near them, so be careful. But since the mines have water in them, you won't fall down hundreds of feet (some are this deep), but it would make for a cold dip. We've been in a couple of water filled mines that have a vertical shaft in them where the roof timbers have fallen down and partially covered the vertical shaft. Carefully climbing over them adds an element of adventure when you stop to think what would happen if you fell through the timbers, sunk down over your head and then had the timbers close the surface of the water......

    So if you go in any of them, play it smart, be careful, leave someone outside of the mine (with the car keys), and tell people where you are going. Then have maximum fun!


    I think my brother and I may go up this Saturday (weather pending) and try to find the cave you mentioned on copper creek at the Road 4109 car bridge crossing.

    Cool, go downstream from the bridge about 1/8th mile and look on the North side of the creek near the water level.

    While you are there, go through the camping area upstream of the bridge. I believe there are a series of mines on the north side of the creek beyond the camping area.

    Be sure to let us all know how it goes! And take pictures.

    Looking forward to more great information.

    No problem, my experiences with researching and finding the mines has been a high point for me. I hope it holds the same for you. Kirk

    Ryan

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Near Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    77

    Default Did you get up mine hunting on Saturday?

    Hi Ryan,

    I know the weather wasn't great on Saturday. But did you get up to Copper Creek and hunt for the Copper City mine? I am dying to know.

    A really nice day hike is to the Miner's Creek mines (once the weather gets warm (June'ish)). This creek is off of the east end of Copper Creek. There are about 6 or 7 mines up there, the longest is at least 200 feet long. There is also a couple of vertical mines at this spot, so that is kind of cool to see (filled with water). It is also a nice place for a picnic.

    Has anyone been to these?

    Kirk

  3. #23
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    12

    Default No adventure yet

    Hi Kirk, No adventure yet. My brother is willing to go and check some places out with me. The snow level dropped way down last week and I really didn't want to go out in the rain all day. I am definitely looking forward to going soon. I think sometime in March the snow level may move up higher and at least let me get to Road 4107 to park my truck. I'm not sure I can talk him into looking for the old "cabin". For some reason when I tell people I am going off the trail they don't seem trust me after the first few shortcuts that actually end up taking twice as long.

    I'll check back in throughout the week.

    Have you found any caves along hwy 14 ? I know of one that's near a pullout, I believe before Stevenson and you hike down and it's next to a waterfall. I have looked into that one. Very nice size opening.

    Talk to you soon,

    Ryan

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Near Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    77

    Default Hwy 14 mine

    No, I didn't know there were any along it. I don't get up that way very often but it sounds like it would make for a nice reason to go! Did you go in it? Can you give me a bit more info on the location? I am heading to Minnesota on Wed (lots of snow I hear) and will be gone until Sat, but will try to check in on this thread while away.

    I am still waiting to hear other people's adventures with any of the mines around Silver Star. I will post some of my other adventures with these mines when I get a chance.

    Kirk

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Near Vancouver, WA
    Posts
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    Default



    A Waterfall on Star Creek.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Camas, WA
    Posts
    9

    Default Waiting....

    Kirk.....You're taunting us! Please give us more directions, stories, etc. about the mines......I'M waiting in restless anticipation....... or....you could always write a book.......in either case...MORE, MORE, MORE!!!!!!

    Brian
    (lurking and waiting....)

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Near Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    77

    Default waiting....

    Hi Brian, No book, at least for now. Way too busy!

    There is a whole series of water falls, like the one pictured, on Star Creek, which is on the North Flank of Silver Star Mountain. You can get there by going up to Copper Creek on Forest Service road 41 (I believe). Then you have to go through a Green Gate to get down to Copper Creek. At that point you cross the creek on a walk-on bridge. Then head downstream following the old road/trail. Not too long after the trail turns up the Star Creek valley, and you hear falling water, you can climb down to Star Creek and see at least 3 or 4 very nice waterfalls that average about 30 feet each. This hike is not very difficult to this point. I believe it only took us about 20 - 30 minutes to walk from the bridge to the first waterfall

    If you are really adventurous, you can continue following the creek to the face of Silver Star mountain (which is what we did last summer on the pictured trip). Unfortunately, not much beyond these waterfalls, the trail disappears in an expanse of brush. We stuck to the creek and pushed our way through the brush for the additional half mile or so to the base of the mtn. At that point there are piles of large boulders that create some nice pools, with a bit of a waterfall falling about 100 feet into a pool. It was very hard getting to this point. It took us about 3 hours to travel from the previous waterfalls to the base of the mtn. And it was very hard going. No trail, crawling through brush, climbing over fallen trees, climbing over large rocks and boulders, climbing up waterfalls, and walking in the creek. We were very tired by the time we got back to the van.

    A friend, John, and I had made this hike at least once before about 15 years ago. At that time there was a reasonably nice trail that took us to the base of the mtn. But we couldn't make it out anymore. Too bad, since that made for a very nice day hike.

    As it is, I would recommend the lower falls to just about anyone. You can do them in a half day depending on how long you want to spend at each waterfall.

    If you want to go all the way??? Make sure you start early and expect a challenging hike (this might not be the right word). But I can pretty much guarantee that you won't have to worry about running into others at the end.

    I will have one of my boys post an article from the Columbian I cut out several years back regarding this general area. But don't blame me for causing "Gold Fever"

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    Near Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    77

    Default




  9. #29
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Near Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    77

    Default Any adventurers yet?

    Hi all,

    With the lengthening days and warming weather, has anyone ventured up into the hills yet? I am curious about the snow levels.

    And for those of you planning mine expeditions, I will tell you that there are some very nice ones on the West side of Silver Star Mountain, along Rock Creek (well, the mines are not very close to Rock creek, the ones on the creek side of the gravel road, are fairly close to the road and go under the road.) There are a couple of them at that place. In order to get into them you have to crawl over the collaped roof of the mine (dirt at the opening and then becoming rock) and then crawl down into them. When you get in and turn around and look, you can see that a large chunk of the roof has slipped a few inches and appears to be nearing collapse, so make sure you leave someone outside with car keys and a shovel.

    There is also another one or two mines on the opposite side of the road from the creek, a bit up one of the valleys. These are definetely off the beaten path and not easy to find.

    When I get a chance I will post a crude map that shows the general location of these mines.

    Happy hunting!

    Kirk

  10. #30
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Posts
    12

    Default Update from Ryan

    Hi Kirk, Glad to see you are keeping this thread alive. I actually went out last Saturday with my brother and did some coyote hunting/calling up around Ariel (east of woodland). We were able to get up around 2200 ft level in a few of the clear cuts.

    With the warmer temps, one could easily reach Rd 4107 and maybe a little further to the rock climbing rock/viewpoint rock on Rd 41 I spoke of. Here is a photo of the viewpoint from about 1994 if I remember correctly.
    http://iinet.com/~ryanandwendy/images/Little%20Baldy-Small.jpg
    My brother on the right and a friend (who moved to Oregon years ago) on the left. My how time goes by fast.....

    I am excited about getting up to the Copper Creek area. It will probably be next month
    before my wife will let me escape again.
    I also may have some info on some caves from my brother's brother in law Gary. He was in a caving group when he was younger and knows some inside info on some of them. I'll check into that. looking forward to seeing the map and hearing more.

    Ryan

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