Cardiff Fork…middle….

I suppose this is right about where we left off at the end of the other post, “Cardiff Fork…beginning….”  You can see my son standing on the remaining basement wall of the bunkhouse where the miners used to live and sleep.  That bit of a brown line near the stumps or logs in the foreground of the image, the part that looks something like a saw-dust trail, is actually a decomposing tree that is headed back into the ground.

Cardiff Fork remains of miners' bunkhouse

We found about a half-dozen established camping areas throughout our hike in the largely privately-owned canyon of Cardiff Fork.  This was something very unusual, given that all of the other hiking locations in the canyons of our local Wasatch Mountains are essentially wilderness areas and the most we might find is a recently used fire-ring.  My son is examining a metal arrowhead that he found laying atop the stump/post next to him.  It seems the landowners have put quite a bit of work into having a nice place to sit and cook for their camping/hunting excursions.

Cardiff Fork Private Property campsite

The below photo is looking further, or deeper into the fork…

Cardiff Fork Mountain backdrop

…and this next photo is looking back at the trail from somewhere near the base of the trees in the above image.

Cardiff Fork meadow

I would imagine that the hole was larger when the mine was being worked, but it seems to have been filled-in a bit, either naturally or intentionally, over the years since it was in operation.  There was a bit of a cool and wetly metallic breeze coming out of the ground here….

Cardiff Fork mine - Keep Out

The boiler and bit of a foundation with re-bar sticking up from the ground is all that remains of the Baby McKee mine.

Cardiff Fork hillside boiler

I’m not sure why, but it was kind of neat walking across these huge slabs of rock on the hillside.  I’ve not encountered anything like them in the dozens of other locations I’ve hiked here in the Wasatch….

Cardiff Fork mountain slab

It’s fascinating to contemplate the geological forces that must have combined to cause the canyon to appear as it does today…such mind-boggling power coming from inside the earth.

Cardiff Fork distant figure

We were nearing the end of the Cardiff Fork canyon at this point.  You can see that there’s a bit of a bowl up there above the wormy line of trees near the upper center of the photo.  We actually headed up the slope on the left side of the rock slabs toward the right of the image…our goal being to make it to the top, or right side of the line of trees and then to look down into the bowl or cirque.  We imagined that there might be another mine up there, although there were no roads leading up to it…so maybe there was no mine.

Cardiff Fork cirque from afar

My son and I couldn’t see it from the vantage point where I made the above photo, but if you’ll look at that darker spot of rock just down from nearly the very center of the line of trees in the photo, that’s where we found the shaft and broken rock structure that are in the next two photos.

Cardiff Fork grated shaft

Cardiff Fork hillside stone structure remains

Stay tuned for the next and final post in the Cardiff Fork series.


18 responses

  1. How exciting to “discover” all these old things……old is good!

    August 21, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    • It is very exciting to be out there discovering the history and its remains…and yes, old can be good, too. 🙂

      August 25, 2013 at 6:40 am

  2. A remarkable place. I must have missed the post telling me what they were mining? And why did it stop? Maybe I forgot.

    August 21, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    • I didn’t mention those bits in the post itself, George, but someone asked a similar question in the first post of the series, regarding what they were mining. If I’m not mistaken, they did find a bit of silver out there…thought they got all of it, but then went back and had another very successful run at it. Supposedly, the various mines were worked in Cardiff Fork until sometime in the 1960s.

      August 25, 2013 at 6:45 am

  3. Very cool post I love exploring abandoned places, reflecting on the people and times that made it what it is today.

    August 22, 2013 at 3:34 am

    • Thank you, Laura…I enjoy it very much, too. 🙂

      August 25, 2013 at 6:45 am

  4. It looks like you’ve got to be on your toes hiking there with all of those holes in the ground. It’s the same here with old mica, fluorite, and feldspar mines here and there. I came very close to falling in one with my son one day.

    August 22, 2013 at 4:24 am

    • With the exception of a few tunnels, everything I’ve found out there has been barred or gated, but I imagine that there could be some remote ones that were missed. Falling into an abandoned mine could ruin your afternoon…. 😉

      August 25, 2013 at 6:50 am

  5. Great place to hike Scott. I love hiking through the wilderness but it’s good to stumble across some human history too.

    August 22, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    • A wonderful place, Finn…so nice to be out there.

      August 25, 2013 at 6:51 am

  6. Those old miners had a very hard life, but sometimes some beautiful surroundings too.

    August 22, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    • Hopefully they could appreciate their surroundings when they came out of the ground….

      August 25, 2013 at 6:53 am

  7. A fascinating place Scott.

    August 26, 2013 at 1:24 am

    • Yes, it is, Adrian…so much for the senses…and so much for the mind.

      August 29, 2013 at 8:04 am

  8. A beautiful canyon to explore. It always amazes me when you come across rock strata that have been tilted so dramatically – the forces that contorted the earth’s surface are unimaginable. Are you following easy to follow trails in a canyon like this, or is it a matter of just picking your own way up the canyon?

    August 26, 2013 at 7:09 am

    • Hello, Andy…most of the destinations I have shared in the blog do have established and maintained trails leading to them, as this one does. There are occasions, however, in which we will go off-trail to explore significant landscape features…or just to wander, like we did in this post. It seemed that the canyon continued for quite a ways, but there was no trail taking us there, so we just kept hiking…and marvelling at what we found. 🙂

      August 26, 2013 at 8:19 am

  9. smackedpentax

    What an amazing place it is…I would love to spend a lot of time around there hiking and exploring. We have a lot of old abandoned lead mines where we live…I spent many a good hour exploring them. I would love to grab a helmet and lamp and go in yours….

    August 31, 2013 at 3:46 am

    • I’ve read a bit about your caving expeditions, James…and I’m sure you’d have a great time in our old mines, as well.

      September 2, 2013 at 8:29 am

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