Micah, Ed, and I did a lengthy cross-country hike out to a remote log cabin high up in the mountains. It was an impressive find and there was no sign of anyone having been there in years.
I named the place after the mineralized spring nearby. The cabin must have been built near the spring for the water. I haven’t found any history on the old place or the mine above it. So, for now, they both remain a mystery. Judging by the tin cans, bottles, and cabin furnishings, I’m guessing the cabin was built sometime around the 1900. The logs are all hand-cut by axe and appear to be from local trees. A crude wood sled rests against the outside of the cabin and was probably used to haul trees to the site. The roof was once covered in soil. Tin cans tossed outside the cabin are mostly Hole-in-Top style, which came into use after about 1900. An aqua-colored bottle I found was probably made before the 1930s Great Depression (see my notes on Dating Historical Sites).
Inside the cabin, the dishes date from before the Great Depression as well. The remains of canvas still hang on the walls, used to keep the place warm in the winter. The newest item I found was an insect sprayer hanging on the wall, which I'm guessing dates from the 1960s or 1970s.
It seems reasonable to think that the prospectors built the cabin to live in while working at the mine above. They may have later used it for hunting or just getting away. Any road or trail that once led to the site is long gone, washed away by floods. I don’t think anyone has used the place for forty years or more.
The mine was quite a bit higher up the mountain than the log cabin. We found the entrance almost completely caved, with the adit only goes back a few hundred feet. Outside on the mine dump, we found lumber and rails still waiting to be used underground.
On the way back, we took a different route to avoid bushwhacking in the creek. All was going well until we topped out on a high dry fall. Luckily, we could skirt it by crossing some cliffs.
But Mother Nature wasn’t done with us yet. As we got closer to our vehicles, a quick-moving storm rolled in and the temperatures dropped dramatically. A howling wind kicked up and our faces were soon numb from the cold. It was freezing by the time we got back to our trucks at sunset. We were exhausted and headed for our camp for the night. We sat close to the campfire. An icy wind filled with tiny crystal snowflakes made for a short evening. These are the good adventures.