Posts tagged “Mill D South Fork

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.


Cardiff Fork…beginning….

At this time of year, it’s nearly impossible to hike anywhere in the Wasatch Mountains and not find wildflowers of some sort or other growing in near profusion along the trails, out in the meadows, or up on the literal sides of the mountains.  Cardiff Fork is no exception. Cardiff Fork flowers My older, hiking son and I found ourselves deep in the canyons toward the end of June and this group of flowers is what greeted us on our happy Sunday morning.  The above photo shows Horsemint, Agastache urticifolia (the bottle brush looking flowers), Leafy Jacob’s Ladder, Polemonium foliosissimum (the ones in white), and Sticky Purple Geranium, Geranium viscosissimum (the purple ones).  The below image has some of the same Leafy Jacob’s Ladder with a bit of the reddish-pink Indian Paintbrush, Castilleja, thrown into the mix. Cardiff Fork Trail I’m pretty sure that the yellow flowers in the below photo are not Arrowleaf Balsamroot, Balsamohriza sagittata, but I do feel rather confident suggesting that they are part of the Sunflower family, Asteraceae. Cardiff Fork Wildflowers You might have noticed the uiae ad metalla in the second photo, the roads leading to the mines, and wondered at the Latin name for that, too, so I provided it for you at no extra cost.  And with that, I’ll pronounce myself finished with the high-highfalutin, Google-translated, proper names…… Cardiff Fork Abandoned Mine Cardiff Fork, also referred to as Mill D South, is one of the tributary drainages that heads south from Big Cottonwood Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains just east of Salt Lake City, Utah.  If you’ll click here to go back to the map that I shared in an earlier post, you can find Cardiff Fork at the third pink pin from the top of the map, in the center area of the image, just below the pink and yellow pins that are close together.  It is also the pink pin at the top of the second image in that post, the close-up of the canyons.  So now you know where we are…heading back into Utah’s mining history.  My son is looking into one of the abandoned and filled-in shaft openings in the above photo…. Cardiff Fork crumbled cabin remains And while it may appear that he’s surveying the aftermath of his own destructive forces in the above image, my son is simply standing there in the middle of the ruins that were likely a cabin in another time.  There was an electric water-heater off to the right of the image, so, while we know the enterprise existed and functioned in the past, we also know that it was recent enough that the people had some fairly modern amenities.  The information that I’ve been able to find in various sources indicates that mining activity was conducted in the area beginning in the 1870s and continued, off and on, until about 1967. Cardiff Fork private road As you can see from the sign in the photo above, the land of Cardiff Fork is privately owned…rather, much of it is…and some of it is owned by Salt Lake City…and some of it is also National Forest property…and there have been longstanding legal conflicts over who gets to do what in the area.  The Salt Lake Tribune reported in May of last year that the National Forest Service and the Cardiff Canyon Owners’ Association had come to an agreement that allowed hikers and skiers access to the private property for recreational purposes, while they respected the landowners’ property and their right to operate their motorized vehicles on the roadways of the canyon.  During my two explorations of Cardiff Fork, I’ve yet to see someone riding an ATV and have only seen a handful of hikers this far up into the canyon. Cardiff Fork tailings pile with mountain backdrop You can see the large tailings pile in the above photo, and the remains of what I believe is the main Cardiff Mine in the below photo.  The Cardiff Mine is located a bit to the left and up the mountain from this tailings pile that is from actually from another mine site.Cardiff Fork Mine Tunnel wrecked remains In the below photo, you can see the basement remains of the old two-story bunkhouse where the miners lived/slept when they weren’t working.  The bunkhouse is located between 200-300 yards to the right of the main mine that’s shown above.  I read somewhere that there was actually a tunnel connecting the bunkhouse to the mine that the workers used during the winter months.  I believe it was in Charles L. Keller’s book, The Lady in the Ore Bucket, which I’ve used as a reference in several other posts.Cardiff Fork bunkhouse foundationTo give us a little historical context, my son found this bottle bottom with the date of August 5th, 1919 in the bunkhouse.  It was actually sitting on the windowsill of the middle window facing us in the above photo.
Cardiff Fork bottle bottomAnd the below image shows us the old boiler that would/may have been used to heat the water in the bunkhouse…among other things, as it appears to have been connected to some other apparatus near the bottom right side of it.
Cardiff Fork bunkhouse boilerMore to follow in a little bit….