Days Fork – II

This photo picks-up exactly where we left of in the earlier post, Days Fork I…the image is only slightly different, providing just a touch of another perspective…anyway, here we are, heading toward the mine near the end of the road/trail…and we are enjoying the journey…because that’s what it’s all about….

I think I turned around and looked behind me more on this hike than I have on most others.  This is the only trail that I’ve been on in the Wasatch Mountain canyons that border Salt Lake City where I’ve seen a sign warning that this was BEAR COUNTRY.  The sign was posted in the Spruce’s Campground area where the Days Fork trail actually starts.  So it was a little freaky for a bit of the hike, especially walking on the trail that skirted the woods…and then went into the meadow…and then skirted the woods again.  I was trying to imagine where I would be more likely to see one…would it be in the open meadow, on the mostly clear hillside, similar to where I saw the moose in Cardiff Fork…or would it be in the thicker pine woods…?  I mentioned all of that to say that this is a shot of my back-trail.  The tree in the immediate right foreground is the same smaller tree that you saw in the above photo, just to the left of center.

And the beautifully textured bark in this photo is from the tree that you can see to the left of the trail in the above picture….

This almost looks like some of the red rocks that one can see in Kanab, Utah…or in Bryce Canyon and Zion National Forest in the southern part of our state.  If you’d like to see some beautiful photographs of those last two areas, stop-by for a visit with Kerry Liebowitz at his Lightscapes Nature Photography Blog.  He just completed a series of his twelve-day photo-excursion to southern Utah and northern Nevada…stunning photography.  The below photo is my version of a red-rock canyon wall…but from the inside of a decaying tree stump….

Indian Paintbrush flowers come in at least two varieties here in our Utah mountains…this wide-petalled version and another with more spikey petals.  I’ve noticed the spikey version at higher altitudes than the other….  Wikipedia says that there are around 200 species of the flower, ranging from Alaska down to the Andes Mountains in South America, as well as in northern Asia and Siberia….

I want to say that this is a White Pine laying in a bed of Lupine, but I could be wrong on both counts….  Whatever they are, they struck me as beautiful…and notice the “baby” pine tree tucked against the side of the downed tree…more of that fascinating circle-of-life stuff.

I would say that this was essentially the first sign of the mine after I rounded a bend and came up the hill a bit….  You can see the pile of tailings there in the middle of the photo.  It’s my understanding that all of that dirt and rock came out of the mountain, shovel-full piled upon shovel-full and after a bit, it became a platform upon which the men worked as they dug their mine…or in this case, dug a shaft a couple of hundred feet down to a tunnel that had already been dug into the area from the other side of the ridge.

Remains of something…maybe just a retaining wall to prevent the earth from spilling back down onto the now almost non-existent road.

In his book, The Lady in the Ore Bucket, author Charles L. Keller tells us that mining activities were conducted in Days Fork for many years.  He also mentions that the “best-known remnant from those days is the remains of the Eclipse Mine” (p. 205)…the rusted contraptions of what-not that we can see in the following photos.  While there was something about all of this that I found (and still find) incredibly fascinating and interesting, I still had the thoughts going through my head about why it was all still out there….  It struck me as being analogous to “space junk,” all of our left-over pioneer, trail-blazing garbage that we just didn’t want to drag back home with us.  But then I kept taking pictures, and kept walking around, kept getting eye-ball-close to the tangible remains of a history that helped make the place what it is today.  Keller said that the mine operated from late 1877 until early 1888 when it was reported to have burned to the ground…nothing remained but what you see in the photos of this and the next post, along with some huge timbers and cord-wood that managed to return to the earth in one fashion or another.

I understand that these are the remains of the hoist motor that lowered lumber and supplies down into the tunnels that connected with those of the Flagstaff Mine that was being operated on the other side of the ridge that you can see in the background.  Within a couple of years of this mine’s discovery and subsequent addition to the other mine’s tunnel complex, about 10 tons of ore were being extracted from this mine per day…none of it came up this shaft and out through Days Fork, but it was extracted from this mine.

Below is another view of the hoist motor (probably/maybe?), one of the three remaining boilers, and some miscellaneous pipe.

More to follow….


32 responses

  1. Fascinating post, and beautiful pictures. I enjoyed getting a bit of the history, and thinking about that mine myself. The photos of pieces of the old equipment with greenery growing around an in between was a pleasure to behold. From my experience, the bear would be more likely to be noticed in the thick of the forest. The best is just to stay still for a while till he gets used to you. There have been cases where they were hungry and bothered people. I’ve heard about that, but never seen such a thing. I’ve had quite a few meetings with bears, and they were always very nice. A little curious once or twice. But never really threatening.

    August 21, 2012 at 7:26 am

    • Thank you, Shimon…I’m glad you enjoyed the photos and the bit of history. The book I mentioned in the post is a wonderful reference for the canyon areas…incredibly detailed…it’s easy to get lost in the book.

      Thank you for the information on your experience with bears, also…I’ve heard/read things from both ends of the spectrum of possibilities with encountering them. I met an older gentleman coming back from this hike and we discussed the bear situation…he said he’s been hiking these canyon and mountain trails for over twenty years and he’s never come across one…. I think it would be exciting…. 🙂

      August 22, 2012 at 6:47 am

    • I found it a very positive experience, and I’ve had the pleasure of sitting with them on a couple of occasions. On the other hand, I saw someone mentioning deer, and it reminded me of an experience I had with a deer. I was trying to photograph her. She got nervous, and gave me a well aimed kick that I felt for about a week. Getting to know animals, and learning to communicate with them is sometimes real work.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:12 am

      • That sounds like an experience to treasure, Shimon, to sit among bears and have them be ok with it…seems like the reaction of the deer would be more of what one could expect in such close company, unless they had become used to our presence. I can imagine that it would be a very timely process, getting to know animals well enough to communicate with them…but then the rewards would be unmatched.

        August 23, 2012 at 6:45 am

        • Even with the deer, we had reached an affinity. But then, when I raised the camera, I scared her. She was not sure of my intention.

          August 23, 2012 at 7:27 pm

          • How nice to have had those moments, though.

            August 24, 2012 at 7:08 am

  2. Very nice . . . and you should buy some bear spray.

    August 21, 2012 at 7:37 am

    • Thank you, Emilio…and I’ve considered the bear spray…and that other type of “protection” that you’ve mentioned…still pondering both.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:49 am

  3. Wow! Another series of stunning shots. Thank you for taking us along!

    August 21, 2012 at 8:15 am

    • Thank you, Melanie…I’m glad you could come along with me. 🙂

      August 22, 2012 at 6:50 am

  4. Excellent Scott. Really enjoyed the history and the photos are lovely. 🙂

    August 21, 2012 at 9:03 am

    • Thank you, Chillbrook…I’m glad you enjoyed them. 🙂

      August 22, 2012 at 6:51 am

  5. Fascinating hike and some nice shots of the back country.

    August 21, 2012 at 11:20 am

    • It was a wonderful hike, Andy…thank you.

      August 22, 2012 at 6:51 am

  6. Know that spooky feeling only too well. The previous place where we lived adjoined miles upon miles of tree farms. We often saw signs of cougar and bears and lots of elk and deer. Oddly enough the only close encounter we ever had was when our older pup happened to get between a deer and its fawn one time. The pup almost got stomped. He managed to escape, but it was very scary for what seemed forever, but might have been moments. About a year later, the neighbor’s dog was essentially eviscerated in much the same situation. Them deer hooves can be extremely sharp and lethal, so even Bambi isn’t altogether safe. For the most part the critters don’t want much to do with us humans unless offspring are involved… usually.

    Lovely shots of the hike…. especially loved the tree stump pretending to be from red-rock country! I bet it preferred the weather up in the mountains. 😉

    August 21, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    • I’ve not thought about the deer being such a concern, Gunta…but it makes sense, especially in regard to their little ones. I’ve encountered one or two deer several times out here, but they’ve always been more startled and anxious to get away than I was. I will have to keep that aspect of them in mind during the spring and early summer months…thank you.

      I thought that red tree stump was quite something…immediately struck me as a miniature red-rock canyon. And yes, I’m sure it preferred the mountain weather, as well…would probably be nothing like it is if it were down there…. Thank you, Miss Gunta. 🙂

      August 22, 2012 at 6:57 am

  7. Hey, Scott, I was just getting ready to comment on your fourth shot, how much it resembles a sandstone landscape, and then my hovering cursor told me how you had entitled the photo. What a great mind you have! It could be an early slot canyon-to-be. Very well seen and photographed! Also love the fallen tree and the lupines.

    August 21, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    • Thank you, Gary…those are two of my favorite shots from the hike…I’m glad you enjoyed them, too. 🙂

      August 22, 2012 at 6:58 am

  8. I love those indian paintbrushes and the fallen trees. I imagine the mining equipment was more expensive to remove than it was worth. We’re over run with black bears here-they’re even walking down the streets-so I can imagine how you felt. I stay out of the deep woods when the berries are ripe and I bought a small air horn that is supposed to be loud enough to scare them away. I figure if it doesn’t work I’ll only have a few seconds to regret not buying a side arm instead.

    August 22, 2012 at 3:44 am

    • I hadn’t considered that info about removing the old mining equipment, Allen…that’s a good point. And regarding your bear situation, do they ever attack people, or do they pretty much leave everyone alone? I hadn’t considered an air-horn, but it sounds like it might work…and yes, if that kind of regret does come one’s way, hopefully it would be very short…eesh.

      August 22, 2012 at 7:03 am

      • The bears pretty much leave us alone but one woman was letting her dog out one night and a mama bear and two cubs were on her deck, waiting. The mama bear grabbed the woman’s arm and dragged her outside but the dog finally scared the bear family away. Fish and game think that the bears wanted the pot roast that the lady had cooking on the stove. They say that, due to the warm winter bears didn’t sleep much and because of that their internal clocks are all messed up and they were looking for berries a month or two before they ripened. I’ve seen them wandering through my yard, but they didn’t hurt anything. They’ve basically been destroying dumpsters and doing all of the other things you’d expect hungry bears to do.

        August 22, 2012 at 7:31 am

        • Hungry bears going for the pot-roast…I can understand that. 🙂 I used to be thrilled to have deer grazing in my back yard when I lived in Colorado years ago…can’t imagine having bears passing through…wow. It’s good that they normally leave everyone alone, though. I wonder how their activity is going to change if this odd weather keeps happening….

          August 23, 2012 at 6:48 am

  9. Victoria

    Stunning images (as always), Scott.
    I love these series of woodland and mountain images you share – makes me feel as though I am hiking the trail with you.

    August 22, 2012 at 7:59 am

    • Thank you, Victoria…I’m glad you enjoyed them so much…and glad that they could transport you out there, as well. 🙂

      August 23, 2012 at 6:49 am

  10. Love photo nr 3!

    August 22, 2012 at 9:10 am

    • That is a fascinating shot of the tree-bark, Yvonne…I’m glad you like it. Thank you. 🙂

      August 23, 2012 at 6:50 am

  11. What great hiking country, and wonderful photos to go along with the outdoor adventure. Thanks for sharing.

    August 23, 2012 at 4:16 pm

  12. I just can’t get over all of the lush vegetation there! You have certainly changed my impressions of those mountains!

    August 24, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    • I’m glad I could help with that, Terry. 🙂 A little bit of local paradise….

      August 26, 2012 at 7:13 am

  13. settleandchase

    Looks like a wonderful journey!

    August 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm

  14. Brandon Johnson

    Did you do any carving on the inside of the tree stump, to make it look like a canyon? I was thinking about doing something like this for a mini landscape.

    February 4, 2013 at 11:33 am

    • Hello Brandon – I did not do any carving on the tree stump…what you see in the photo is just what I found out there. Thank you for visiting.

      February 4, 2013 at 11:46 am

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