Saturday, April 17, 2021

BLUE SKY MINE 2021 04 16


 Super great day yesterday.  Tim & I missed the abandoned (Cobra Lake Hike) Copper Mine going in, and after realizing that we had, we continued to Blue Sky Lake anyway before turning back.  We initially missed the mine entrance because we coincidentally made a big detour around tree blowdowns and came back onto the trail just past the mine site.  It was easy to find it on  the way back primarily because of the very obvious garbage strewn around the entrance.  Some pieces were very big including tarps, jacket, 3 five gallon buckets, jugs, etc.  I eventually left carrying the buckets with trash inside.  Tim carried out a very big heavy duty garbage bag secured to his back rack in addition to his hiking harness with 27 or so various sized pouches attached to it (water bottle, trail clearing tools, med cabinet, 4-course lunch bucket, etc., etc).

The mine was extraordinarily interesting measuring about 6 or 7 ft wide and about the same in height.  The depth was about 150 ft. There was a few inches of water on the floor, some places a bit more, but still very OK walking along an edge.  
We brought flashlights and suspecting that there may be ice still inside, I had brought crampons and was consequently able to tow Tim over the relatively small  section of ice floor and around/through the ice stalagmites.
The very surprising discovery was that, around a corner and just out of sight of the main entrance, was a very elaborate and bountiful house set-up.  There were two campcots with cushions, sleeping bags, and blankets in a section where there was no water dripping off the tunnel roof.  There were numerous sealed unopened garbage bags which likely contained clothes,  many many sealed buckets containing misc supplies.  There was a small lantern between the cots, sunglasses, batteries with 2028 expiring dates, rusted propane cylinders on the floor, rusted cans of food in a closed bucket that the cover was no longer perfectly closed, etc., etc.  .....Generally, the housekeeping was very organized and very tidy.  Upon arriving at the cots, Tim had pressed down on the coverings to make sure that there wasn't a body underneath!  It was so surreal - just like someone, or two people, left about 2 years ago intending to return and, for whatever reason, just didn't?  
At the very back of the tunnel, there were many more properly sealed and organized stacked big black bags.  Garbage?  Or, belongings of a second person staying there?
Again, there were a lot of tree blowdowns on the trail.  We left Elliot Lake at 8:30 AM and returned 4ish.  After exploring the mine shaft there was ample time for an unhurried lunch and réflections of what we had discovered.  Not that we were the first to discover the entire length of the tunnel and the unsuspecting contents, but we presume that there had not been too many visitors before us - kind of a small miracle that others had not curriously, or worse, maliciously, torn open bags and strewn the previous habitant's possessions around.
All in all, a most enjoyable hike