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Thread: Mabee Mines-Washougal WA

  1. #51
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    Default Going to the Rock Creek mines on Monday

    Hi all,
    We just had a break in our schedule (after fixing the broken sewer pipe under our house on Saturday). We will be heading up to the mines along Rock Creek on the West side of Silver Star on Monday morning. If anyone gets this in time and want to meet us up there, email me a phone number to call at atsnw@aol.com and I will call you. We will be up there until about noon.

    I don't think I've told the group much about these mines. They are pretty easy to get to, but a bit difficult to find. It has been about 6 years since I was last at them so it will be interesting to see how they are still doing.

    What is interesting about these mines is that the mine tunnels start in dirt (instead of directly in rock, like virtually all of the others in the area). And since they aren't shored up, the entrances have collapsed over the years and partially blocked the tunnel. This means that you have to climb up over the dirt pile and then slide down the other side between the dirt pile and roof of the mine. When you get all the way in and look back toward the opening, you can see where the next 3 feet of the roof has slipped about 3 inches in the process of collapsing. Kind of ratchets up the level of adventure. It will be interesting to see if more of it has collapsed over the last 6 years. Hopefully we can still get into it.

    Then there are a couple of more mines up one of the gullies on the west side of the road about 1/4 mile south. There really isn't a trail to these, so not many people have been to them even though they are not very far off the road.

    I will try to get some pictures for the forum.

  2. #52
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    Default

    Well, I have put the pictures up at:

    http://skystryder.googlepages.com/rockcreek

    It just has the raw pictures right now. I will add some captions soon.

  3. #53
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    Default Rock Creek Mine Trip

    Hi all, I tried to post this a couple of weeks ago, but it timed out as I went to submit it and I lost it all. So I will see if I can do it again from memory a month after the excitement.

    Anyway, my 7 oldest kids and I were able to get away and see if we could find the mines up around Rock Creek (near Dole Valley). There are two spots where we have found mines before, but it has been at least 8 years since we have been there. A lot can change in that time, so we knew it would be a bit of a challenge.

    We decided to look for the downstream mines first since we were coming from that direction. We found a graveled turnout that had a new road running down toward the creek that looked to be in about the right spot, although it was a new road. We parked at the turnout since the road was a bit steep for the í84 Toyota van we were driving. So we got out and walked the road down to a newish bridge which crossed the creek. From there we started scouting around for the one or two mines and their tailings piles that used to be there. We searched all around, but didnít find anything that looked like a mine. We did find a washed out portion of hillside the looked a bit suspicious, but the pile of dirt that had sloughed away didnít look big enough to conceal the opening of the mine. Plus, there wasnít any remains of a tailings pile that we knew used to exist. So we figured we had better head further upstream to see if there was a more likely spot to continue our search. And if not, we would come back and investigate this spot more diligently. So, in the van we piled and headed further upstream looking for another place to search.

    It was evident that the trees and undergrowth had grown a bunch since our last visit, so it was hard to distinguish any familiar landmarks. But we kept looking as we continued upstream.

    Soon enough we came to the switchback at the end of Rock Creek that I knew was beyond both sets of mines. So we had obviously missed them. It was time to turn around and look closer at the landscape. I knew that the upper mines were on the opposite side of the road from the creek. So we looked for a valley about .4 miles downstream from the switchback (a fact I was pretty sure of from past visits). Sure enough, a little over .4 miles we found a valley that was about the right size. So out we piled from the van. I decided to let the kids go by themselves up the valley to search for it and experience the thrill of the discovery (plus, since there is no trail, it looked like hard work for an old man!)

    Before they left, we decided on some signals so I could monitor their progress, call them back if necessary, and let me know if they found the mine. I watched them pick their way thru the brush and up the side hill of the valley. It wasnít long before they got out of sight, but I could still hear them talking as they were looking. After about 10 minutes, I heard the signal that one of them found the entrance to the mine, then sounds of the others coming that way.

    A minute or two later all heck broke loose and I heard lotís of screaming and the word ďouchĒ yelled over and over by Heather and Joshua. It seems that Jonathan (who found the mine) stirred up a yellow jacketís nest in the ground as he got close to the mine. He didnít realize that as he got past it before they came out. Unfortunately, Joshua got to that point and decided to stop and take a rock out of his boot, right on top of the yellow jacketís nest. Heather was right there with him. The bees, not too happy to have visitors, decided to discourage their stay and stung Josh 14 times and Heather about 7 times. Josh was in such a hurry to get out, that he left his boot laying by the nest. And then they made a hasty retreat, getting encouragement by angry bees who kept up their assault. Needless to say, that put a damper on going into that mine as the bee nest was only 10 Ė 20 feet from the entrance to the mine.

    So, if you go out looking for this mine, and find a new-looking rubber boot, you will know you have found both the beeís nest as well as the opening to the mine. I suspect that you could get in the mine if you can avoid the nest and have a great time of discovery.

    After they got back to the van and we picked off some remaining bees we decided to go back downstream and look for the other mines. We knew that the area we started in earlier in the day had to be the correct spot. So downstream we headed.

    We scouted the area again and decided that the washed out area did show some promise. So we started to dig down into the pile of dirt right along the fracture zone in hopes of finding the tunnel. Kevin did the digging with an old fold up shovel he had brought. After about 10 minutes of digging he announced that the shovel broke through to an empty spot. A bit more digging and he was able to uncover enough that he could see the top of the tunnel of the mineshaft. We didnít have much more time, so we took some pictures and decided to try and come back this fall with some full size shovels and dig it out big enough to climb inside. If one of you beat us too it, we wouldnít mind. J Actually the digging is very easy as it is virtually all dirt and no rock. We reckon it would take about 30 minutes for one or two people to dig out.

    Warning. If you do dig it out, it may have bad air in it as it has been bottled up for at least the last few years. So I would either want to let it sit open for a day or two before going it, or use some sort of ventilation device to force good air into it (thatís what leaf blowers are made for, right?)

    By reading this and looking at a contour map, you should be able to locate these two mine sites. If you need some more clues, let me know and I will see what I can do.

    Surely some others of you have made it up to one or more of the mines this summer??? If so, we are dieing to know about it!

    Kirk

  4. #54
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    Gravelrash is offline Rawk Crawlin GPS Totin Ghost Towning Expert
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    Quote Originally Posted by kvangeld View Post
    .......
    Anyway, my 7 oldest kids and I were able to get away ....
    Kirk
    7 "oldest". My Gawd, how many do you have!!! It's a wonder you have the energy to get out of the house, let alone go mine hunting! Good on ya, mate!
    Your posts are great, btw - I'd offer to go get the rubber boots, but I doubt I'd get in there on my crutches!

  5. #55
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    Quote: 7 "oldest". My Gawd, how many do you have!!! End Quote

    I have 11 kids, with another on the way in Feb. Never a dull moment around here.

  6. #56
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    bad bob is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
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    Quote Originally Posted by kvangeld View Post
    Quote: 7 "oldest". My Gawd, how many do you have!!! End Quote

    I have 11 kids, with another on the way in Feb. Never a dull moment around here.


    Wow! Do you adopt? I know a 60 year-old "kid" in BAKErsfield that could use some parenting.

  7. #57
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    Yeah, but Bob, are you handy around the house?

  8. #58
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    bad bob is offline Rock Crawlin GPS Moving Map Totin Trailblazing Expert Ghost Towner
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gravelrash View Post
    Yeah, but Bob, are you handy around the house?


    Yep and I even do windows.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by kvangeld View Post
    I have 11 kids, with another on the way in Feb. Never a dull moment around here.

    Well they say you should never go exploring alone.....
    "I have a .44 and a shovel, I'm sure no one's gonna miss you" - Virginia City, NV

    http://community.webshots.com/user/GBodell

  10. #60
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    What's one or two more? You would probably just blend in, except for the window washing part. That would be a dead give away that you are not one of us!

    Still hoping to get back to the Rock Creek mines once more before the end of the month and winter locks us out. I think we can dig the one out in less than an hour, if someone hasn't beat us back to it yet?

    Let us know if you do.

    Kirk

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