Last Saturday we headed north to the Keane Wonder Mine. The weather was perfect, not as hot as Friday, and with an occasional breeze. Once again, on paper, the mile long trail didn’t seem like much, but it included 1500 feet of elevation change, which made for a 28% slope. It was sort of like walking up a mile of stairs—which we interspersed with copious breaks and photo stops.
So the Keane Wonder Mine was a gold mine that operated in the late 1800s. I believe it stopped processing ore around 1906, and so the remains of the operation have pretty much been sitting untouched for a hundred years. A major feature of the mine was the gravity-powered tramway used to bring ore down the mountain to be processed. So along the trail there are all these old towers, connected by cables, leading to the top where the ore was loaded up.
I think it took us more than an hour and a half to make it all the way up. A the top we stopped for a snack, explored all the neat old machinery, and poked our heads in the various mine adits. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a mine before, at least not a hole-in-the-mountain one like these. Stephanie mentioned that the run-down mines and scattered ruins were just like the Old West parts of Disney.
It was quicker coming down the mountain than going up, thanks in part to the promise of pretzel chips, cheddar cheese, and two cold beers back at the car. Once we made it down, we opened the tailgate of our Toyota Matrix Zipcar, kicked off our socks and shoes, and sat on the back-edge with our feet dangling out.