As I’m sure some of you have noticed, it’s been a while since the last post. The combination of working tons and having limited internet access has been a challenge in sharing our adventures.
But this one is a fun one, promise!
Jake and I decided to stick around Kantishna for our days off since the low clouds and sporadic rain showers didn’t make for great backpacking weather. Instead, we decided to do a local trek to an abandoned mine.
Right near our workplace there’s this washed-out gravel road that leads back into the Kantishna Hills. During the gold rush, hopeful prospectors used this road for mining purposes. About 5 miles up the mountainside is a cluster of abandoned buildings they call “The Old Banjo Mine” or “The Red Top Mine”.
In 1905, a mass of people moved to the Kantishna hills in the hopes of striking big. However, the gold proved too sparse to satisfy the hundreds of tough miners who flocked there. A number of buildings and roads that were developed to support their mining ventures were deserted.
Decades past their use, they offer some fun exploration for curious kids like Jake and myself.
We had to do some bushwhacking beyond the old mine road to reach Old Red Top nestled in the mountainside. As soon as we approached the dilapidated building, a sort of eeriness penetrated the air.
(and not just because people aforementioned it was haunted)
A sweet scent – what we were warned of as large quantities of arsenic leftover from the mining days- met us as we made our way to the entrance.
Inside, it was dark. Real dark.
We used our flashlights for the first time all summer long.
What we saw was a lot of old, rusty mining equipment and tools. And a bunch of drippy graffiti of the initials “KM”.
We poked around awhile, and found a very tall, very narrow staircase leading upwards into even more darkness.
It seemed like every other decrepit step was going to collapse under my weight. At the top was another room, more exposed to the light, with a big machine and a ladder going down into a giant empty black room. I figured I’d go down the ladder until I felt certain that a black-haired grudge girl would grab my ankle and drag me down to my death.
Just kidding, it really wasn’t that scary. Mostly, it was just super neat to see history firsthand, and also to realize how abruptly mining operations like this one were all abandoned.