Posts tagged “Days Fork Mine

Days Fork – III

This is the final post in a series in which I have shared my hike up into Days Fork Canyon, another of the tributary canyons that extend off of Big Cottonwood Canyon, just east of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA.  I’m not sure what this large piece of iron might have been during the mine’s operation, but it remains with us in its multiple pieces, somehow resembling a face-plate for a piece of machinery…brought west from Bridgeport, Massachusetts, in whatever year.  I have Googled “iron works Massachusetts” and have found a bit of information, but nothing with “Roberts” in a company’s name…so who knows what this is or might have been.

Another hiker has made a stack of remnant bricks atop the machinery, telling those who follow that this is part of the trail….

The hillside has begun to slide and cover the hoist…and the mine is slowly swallowing one of the remaining boilers….

I like the rich colors of earth and rust and the greening of Life that wants to take back what is hers…with a touch of pink on the Indian Paintbrush nearby….

I don’t know the proper name of this petalled piece of cog-ware, but we can see its former function in the third photo below this one…as it appears to have a twin on the left side of the hoist that is also pictured above.

It’s pretty up-close, too….

Empty boilers that have seen more productive days….

The trail continues to the left of the area shown in these photos.  It goes for another quarter of a mile or so into the terminus of the Fork…a sort of bowl-shaped dead-end that is littered with rocks and trees…and has some other mining tailing-piles up on the surrounding hills.

This is the last picture I took of the area, below, as the clouds that had been moving in my direction all morning had started to sprinkle and then rain.  I think it might have been just as well, though, because as I ventured further above the remaining snow and onto the lower portion, and then to the right on that slope you see in almost the dead center of the photograph, I had a feeling of sadness come over me and rather lost the desire to take any more photos.

I think the melancholy was due to witnessing the remaining damage that had been caused by our forebears’ attempts at industry…bare hillsides that must have been pristine and thriving forests before their arrival.  I don’t know how long the mining operations continued in the area after the burning of the Eclipse Mine in 1888, but if they were to have stopped immediately after that incident, this area would have had/has had approximately 124 years to recover.  Yes, we can see that Nature has begun to reclaim what is hers by slowly swallowing the boilers and with the hillside sliding down to envelope the hoist, but it seems like it’s going to take quite a long time before we can no longer see traces of ourselves out there.  We have the ability to obliterate forests in a couple of years…but they will take hundreds more to return on their own.

If you’d like to visit the two earlier posts, Days Fork – I and Days Fork – II, just click on their highlighted names to do so.  Thank you for stopping-by and spending a bit of time with me.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the hike….


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….