Buckeye Mine


In 1898 copper bearing minerals were found perched in a narrow canyon not far from the now defunct settlement of Halford, WA. Eight years later in 1906, the Buckeye Claims, as they were known, were surveyed for patent.

Much improvement had been done in that short time; bunkhouses, cookhouses and barns had been constructed on the site, in addition to trails, bridges and three tunnels totaling about 1500′ in length.

Then as now, access to the Buckeye is a little remote, which required any ore wrested from the claim to be carried out to the nearest railroad depot by miner or by mule.

Despite the hardships of transport, and difficulties involved in driving tunnels through the Buckeye’s particularly hard rock, work continued. However, the miners discovered only dwindling amounts of unspectacular ore as they chased the vein through the mountain.

These less than stellar mineral showings coupled with a tunneling cost of $25/ft (about $650 in 2018 usd) had conspired to halt further diggings at the claim by 1907, with the vast majority of the Buckeye’s hard won ore ending up in the tailing dump.


Scattered chunks of iron pipe and metal debris can be seen here and there on the way up the steep gully, as well as tell tale ore samples amongst the rock.

Most relics and such, including the ore cart mentioned in DWHM #1, have long disappeared from this site

The tunnels house cart tracks and ventilation piping throughout, with one drift in the back used as a store room for now decaying timbers.

One of the more memorable features of the Buckeye’s tunnels is a high pressure jet of water literally screaming out of a crack in the wall.

Honestly it’s a little unsettling at first, as you hear it before you see it. “W…t…f… is that?!?”

Around the adit one can see metal bars set into the cliffs which once supported a timber roof to protect the miners from whatever might come tumbling down the gully.

A quick peek inside the adit reveals it to be a widened chamber perhaps a dozen feet back and about five feet wide. The remains of a wooden platform are set in the mud.

Just outside, you’ll notice a narrow ledge leading off toward the gap in the cliffs, where the miners dumped their ore carts into the gulch.

This narrow cliff could easily dump your ore cart into the gulch as well. Stay out, stay alive!


The journey to the Buckeye begins in the vicinity of the popular Lake Serene Trail.

Follow the trail to a junction with the old forest service road 6020 at about 1200′ elevation, a little before the Bridal Veil fork. This road, or what’s left of it leads to an old BPA powerline road which skirts the long east arm of Philadelphia Mountain.

The BPA road can also be accessed from the Index River Sites, but it is a private community with strict access rules. Know before you go!

Just uphill of the Index River Sites, where the BPA road meets the 6020, the road will climb steeply to a gate. From here you’ll travel eastward and up and down a lot of hills, but at least it’s a navigable road!

If you can get a mountain bike out here, that’s the way to travel imho.

After about three miles from the gate, you’ll see the rusting hulk of an ancient jeep at the top of yet another down hill section.

Luckily this is the last hill.

At the bottom, an old road can be found leading off toward the mountain where you’ll be looking for a…


At the base of Buckeye Gulch is the remains of a clandestine backwoods campsite known by some as the “Meth Camp.” This eyesore is probably one of the best clues that you’re on the right track.

An absolute cacophony of debris are strewn around; cookware, coolers, tarps, clothes, children’s toys…? Gradually the forest is burying the mess with duff, but it ain’t going anywhere soon.

An earlier adventurer shares his impression:

“I first saw the camp back in ’08; wasn’t as bad as it is now but I still thought a meth lab blew up. Got up past that ugly scramble to the mine and the freakin’ ore cart was gone. Tweakers jacked it I bet!”

-Davey Leghorn, enthusiast

So what was really going on at the Meth Camp? Was it actually a deep woods drug den? A mountain meth mill? A tweaker-fest in the timber?!?

Old maps suggest that the area may have been the site of some of the aforementioned bunkhouses, cookhouses and barns that supported operations at the Buckeye.

It’s unlikely that Meth Camp ever served as any kind of alpine amphetamine (ah)peration, however the true details remain shrouded in mystery…

Which really, might be for the best.


If you’ve found “Meth Camp” then all that’s left is to head up the gulch…

At first it’s not too bad, heading up through comparably light brush via the canyon’s main drainage channel, which by late spring may be running dry.

Eventually you’ll break out into open talus and have a good view up the canyon, which you’ll notice gets very narrow. As you approach the squeeze you’ll notice the lightly vegetated ore dump appearing on the canyon’s western wall.

Where the steep granite walls pinch together, you’ll find yourself faced with a scramble up a 15-20′ wall of wedged boulders. This will turn some people back, and rightly so. You’re now a very long way from a hospital. Especially with a compound fracture!

Just above the scramble, you’ll find the adit of the Buckeye No.5 blasted into the center of the canyon, which forks steeply beyond this point.


  • 10mi+- (16km) rt
  • Travel time could be significantly reduced by riding a mountain bike.
  • The gully contains a scramble up a steep boulder jam that is sometimes also waterfall.
  • Potential rock fall danger while traveling in the canyon. Got a helmet?
  • Off trail travel and routefinding skills and equipment a must.

•¤•¤•¤•¤•¤HAPPY TRAILS!¤•¤•¤•¤•¤•


Woodhouse, Phil; Jacobson, Daryl; Petersen, Bill; Cady,Greg; Pisoni, Victor, Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines Vol.1: The West Central Cascade Mountains. Oso Publishing Company, 1997

More pictures: Buckeye Mine Pics


This information is for historical purposes only.

Jefferson Oil Seep

There are a handful of places along the Washington State coast where petroleum naturally oozes from the ground. Not in grand tar pits, but in small seeps.

Early in the 20th century, the seeps inshore of Jefferson Cove attracted the attention of oilmen, eager to exploit the resource and sell it to an oil hungry world.

A few relics and ruins still dwell out there in the coastal forests, a remote monument to an oil boom that never really was.


Local tribes have long known of the oil seeps in the area. According to some texts the native people knew the mixture of oil and dirt as “smell mud”, owing to the sometimes pungent, petrochemical aroma detectable near such deposits.

Wild animals also knew of these oily seeps, sometimes using them as mud wallows. In the winter of 1906-07, a survey party discovered petroleum seeping from one such “bear wallow” near Hoh Head.

In 1911 the first attempts to collect the seep oil were conducted by locals who used explosives to redirect the flow into a nearby shaft where it would pool up to be collected.

Earlier that same year, the settlement of Oil City began to spring to life at the mouth of the Hoh River. As it’s name suggests, it was to be THE city for the speculated oil boom. Talk of a deep water port was in the air, drilling was right around the corner, and the newly platted properties were selling.

A few years later in 1914, the Jefferson Oil Company landed a steam donkey at Jefferson Cove. After the heavy iron contraption was wrangled onto the beach, it was placed at the top of a 300ft terrace to pull equipment up a quarter mile long skid road to the drilling site.

Two wells were drilled; Hoh #1 & Hoh #2. However, neither well ever produced quantities that would make further investment worthwhile.

Over a decade passed when beginning in 1931 renewed interest saw almost a dozen wells drilled at the site, some of which showed potential to the tune of a hundred barrels a day. However, dreams of a lucrative strike faded in step with quickly diminishing yields.

By 1937 drilling had ceased, and the area was protected from future mineral extraction when it was incorporated into the Olympic National Park in 1938.


During a 2017 survey of the area, several pipes were found still sticking out of the forest floor. A few are full of stagnant “mystery water”, and one of them still gurgles with escaping gas.

Another pipe juts out of a spongy depression filled with alder leaves and a creamy, oily substance. A bit like a paraffin bog maybe.

There are a number of shallow mud filled shafts around the site, some partially filled with the natural seepage. A few show decaying cribbing.

What appears to be a moss covered wooden framework lies on the forest floor, along with a number of rusted pipes and fittings.


Jefferson Oil Seep lies right along the border of Olympic National Park and Rayonier logging land. Both entities require a pass to access their lands.

With a Rayonier pass it may be possible to approach the site via a maze of logging roads and a good map. Otherwise it’s probably best to begin your journey from the trailhead at Oil City and make your way up the beach and the bluffs. (National Park Pass)

The journey to the Jefferson Seep is not for the inexperienced or unprepared, timing the tide is critical and no trails pass near this remote site. The weather at the coast is often wet, and the underbrush can be burly.




More Pictures: Jefferson Oil Seep


Hidden in the woods near the hamlet of Port Hardy, BC is an interesting collection of mining ruins dating to a time before Canada became a nation…


In 1849 on the north coast of Vancouver Island, the Hudson’s Bay Company established a fort (Fort Rupert) in order to exploit a large coal seam not far away at Suquash.

Mining began in 1851 but was very short lived, ending only a year later in 1852 following the discovery of a higher quality coal deposit at Nanaimo. Digging resumed in 1908 under new owners, however the call of the great war left the mine want for labor and production halted.

After the war, mining efforts began anew but by the 1930s work was intermittent at best. With the outbreak of the Second World War, mining ceased altogether. These days there are only ruins.


There are some impressive artifacts to be seen; A pair of large chimneys and the foundation to what was once the mine manager’s house stand amongst the trees.

A steam donkey and the ruins of the headhouse can be found jutting out from the duff and undergrowth. Ore buckets, and a massive spoked wheel are among the other large ruins.

Various rusted bits of this and that are strewn around the site, and scattered ruins can also be found down along the beach.


The Suquash site is located on the northern end Vancouver Island near the settlement of Fort Rupert.

Just off the main highway, one can follow a modest maze of logging roads about 2 miles to the “trailhead”. A short walk into the forest and the artifacts should become immediately apparent.

Surprisingly, there are a couple signs for Suquash along the logging road, but nothing indicating it’s presence from the highway. It’s a “kinda sorta” secret.


I didn’t know anything about Suquash, but a “rural exploration” friend had given me a tip that there were coal mining ruins on the north end of the island.

When I got to Port Hardy I stopped in to eat at a restaurant and wouldn’t you know it?! There was a painting of the site hanging on the wall behind my table!

I guess some things are just meant to be!

After a bit of internet detective work and asking the locals, I was able to locate the ruins a ways out of town.

I’d give you directions but that’d ruin the fun, and you’d miss out on talking to the friendly Port Hardy townsfolk!

Driving: Port Hardy is a long ways up the island, but it’s a scenic drive and there is no lack of side trips along the way. If you have to take a ferry to get to the island, I’d strongly suggest making reservations. We went via Tswassen to Nanaimo and the waits going standby were a bit brutal.

Boating: I dunno but it sure sounds fun!


Port Hardy had plenty of lodging and a few restaurants to choose from. There’s plenty of good shoreline walking to be had in town as well.

There are also plenty of camping opportunities near Port Hardy for those who wanna pitch a tent.

Nearby Fort Rupert offers accommodations as well as good walking and beautiful views!

Happy Trails!




More pictures: Suquash Pictures

“The Hobbit Hole”

Perhaps you’ve made the short jaunt to Explorer Falls and noticed the small cave near it’s base. 

Is it a cave? Is it a mine? Is it a portal to another dimension?!

Whatever it is, and for whatever reason it came to be, I don’t know. Though I’d guess it’s an old mineral prospect.


The hole itself is very short, probably not much more than five feet, and is no more than a couple feet tall near the back. 

Venturing inside on my last visit I discovered a candy wrapper and a buckshot sabot…. so yeah, it’s that kind of hole. 

It is said that at one time there was a ladder up to the tiny adit, but the ladder has since gone MIA. In it’s place are some crude footholds carved into the perennially wet rock. Watch your step! 

In this hiker’s opinion, you could save yourself the slippery scramble to see the dark, musty interior of a five foot deep grotto… unless you just can’t. Obviously I can relate! 

But really, it looks much better from the outside…


Take the Snohomish-Wenatchee exit off I-5 onto Highway 2 in Everett. At milepost 10 turn left onto 100th St SE (Westwick Road). Just past the French Creek Grange, the road bears sharply to the left (north) and becomes 171st Ave. Continue on 171st Ave SE to a 4-way stop; turn right onto Dubuque Road (36th SE) go east on Dubuque Road for approximately 6 miles; turn left onto S Lake Roesiger Road; bear right at the Y to continue on S Lake Roesinger. Drive 2.3 miles take a right onto Monroe Camp Road. Drive 1.3 miles and then bear left at the Camp Edward (formerly Camp Brinkley) sign and follow the road to end. Do not go up the logging road on the left, stay on the pavement. There is a yellow gate blocking you from going any further and an area to park on the left-wta.org

“Mine Tunnel Hill”

Once again I was pouring over some maps and saw something that piqued my interest: “Mine Tunnel” written above a little adit symbol, and well off the beaten path…

As lonely as a Sears parking lot


Not far beyond the long, low bridge spanning the Carbon River at the same named entrance to Mt.Rainier, there is a logging road branching westward just before you reach a huge shooting quarry. This is the de facto trailhead for this trip.

Logging roads zigzag Burnt Mountain, if you follow the correct combination (think up and east), it’ll put you on the highest, furthest eastward landing. From here it’s offtrail to the ridge.

You may occasionally see flags, but it’s pretty much game trails through trees and brush. A couple wide open areas of scree/talus are hidden in the trees and can make a good place to ascend.  

There are also a few rock outctops hidden on the hillside that you’ll probably want to be avoiding. 

Burnt Mountain Pond, maybe.

Once atop the ridge I started coming down broken snow on the other side via an easy contour clearly visible on the map. 

A tea stained mountain pond (Burnt Mountain Pond?) lies at the base of the contour as does another logging road. 

Other amenities include; the remains of some aluminum lawn furniture, pieces of a TV and a fire ring.

From this small camp it’s a little less than three and a half miles to “Mine Tunnel” Oh Joy!

Hill 3361′ aka “Mine Tunnel Hill”


Again on logging roads, the hiking is non technical but you’ll really want a map out here. It’s a maze!

Much of my walk was amongst low clouds this time around, but I got a clear view to Tacoma at one point, and there were some interesting basalt columns in a roadside quarry. 

Eventually a rather large hill appeared a distance away, “Mine Tunnel Hill” presumably. 

Before reaching the hill, the correct way makes a hairpin turn and is marked by an orange gate. Shortly thereafter the road crosses a railroad flatcar bridge spanning a fork of Gale Creek.

Right around where the “Unsolved Mysteries” vibe begins


Just up ahead was the site. I won’t lie, my expectations were low. I figured there probably wouldn’t be anything at all, so I was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was in fact a hole in the ground!

Right along the road, half covered in crap is a little adit, pretty much exactly where the map said it’d be. It’s not too deep, maybe ten feet if you really tried to stretch it. 

Peering into its depths I could see such historic artifacts as; a few discard plastic bottles and a half buried piece of wood. 

“Well that was that, time to walk my ass back up the hill!”

Well I’ll be damned, there really is a tunnel. Sort of.


  • Approx 7.5mi; 6.5 mi on logging roads, 1 mi off trail (One way)
  • Map or navigational device is a must.
  • As a historic mining site, probably not worth the time to all but the most devout. Good destination for wandering esoteric types.
Untold riches my ass!


    On the way up the roads on the south side of Burnt Mountain I ran into a fella up at the landing before jumping offtrail. 

    He told me about other trails in the area and we both agreed how strange it was to see another person on Burnt Mountain. 

    The fellow wanderer also mentioned that the logging roads on the north side are sometimes accessible from Wilkeson with a high clearance vehicle… So if you’re interested in a logging-road road-trip, there’s an idea for ya. 

    There’s a nearby area on Gale Creek marked “falls”. If for some reason I’m ever out here again, I’d probably check it out. 

    Off trail in yellow


    Mines and mining ruins are inherently dangerous and should NOT be entered.

    ¡STAY OUT, STAY ALIVE! & Happy Trails!

    Mt.Phelps Prospect

    This prospect, while named for Mt.Phelps, is actually hidden on the flanks of the McClain Peaks.

    There is some longstanding confusion/disagreement over which big lump of rock is which. So if you’re interested in learning more,  I covered something of this naming debacle in my bit about Mt.Phelps. Give it a read!

    Looks like somebody read the Hanford manual on hazardous waste disposal.


    Unfortunately I can find little about the history of these claims. 

    What I do know is that the main metal of interest was zinc with showings of copper, gold, silver and lead. 

    Hopes were high based on early diggings, at one point there were even 50 claims in the area. 

    When assayed however, dreams of a bonanza turned into a bust, as the ore was valued at only $5 a ton. Such were often the fortunes of the Cascade prospecter. 

    They don’t make ’em like this anymore!


    There are a few items of interest laying around the area and inside the short tunnel. 

    A rusty wheel barrow and some drill bits are the main attraction at the adit, which is found at about 1800′.

    The tunnel itself is pretty short, I’m guessing 30ft or so. The interior is mostly dry and home to the usual cadre of moths, spiders, gnats…and Mountain Goats?! 

    I don’t know that the goats live there, but they’ve been using the back portion of the tunnel as a toilet. Many inches of goat droppings silently attest to this filthy fact. 

    Goat Leavings

    The remains of a cabin are slowly sinking into the forest duff a few hundred feet below the adit, alongside an abandoned road. 

    A collapsed compressor shed can be found in the cabin’s vicinity, as well as a prospect hole. 

    Scattered amongst the cliffs and downed trees one might also find a few decaying steel barrels. 

    In Seattle this would cost at least $500,000.


    You’re gonna hate me, but you’ll have to find this one on your own. It’s an interesting, yet little known site, so better to let the general laziness of the seething masses keep ’em out… and keep what’s left out there from walking away or otherwise being destroyed. 

    The goats would also appreciate the privacy. Make sure to knock first!  



    Woodhouse, Phil; Jacobson, Daryl; Petersen, Bill; Cady,Greg; Pisoni, Victor, Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines Vol.1: The West Central Cascade Mountains. Oso Publishing Company, 1997

    Kitanning Mine

    Kitanning Cabin
    Kitanning Cabin

    The Kitanning Mine is located not far from the tiny hamlet of Index, WA, and can be found just off the long washed out Index-Galena Road.


    (Disclaimer: These directions are for novelty purposes only)

    Winter walk
    Winter walk

    The washout makes for two different ways to reach the Kitanning; either from Beckler Road, just past Skykomish or by driving to the washout at the end of Index-Galena Road and hoofing it along a rough hewn path through trees, mud and some post-apocalyptic looking sections of washed out roadway.

    "Road Closed"
    “Road Closed”

    In the wintertime hiking is sometimes the only way, and makes for a nice winter walk anyway.

    Either way you go you’ll wanna end up at the east side of the wash-out.

    ♪♫Ooh, ooh, ooh looking out my back door♪♫
    ♪♫Ooh, ooh, ooh looking out my back door♪♫

    Maybe ½-1 mile or so east of the washout shore exists a curve in the road from which a faint trail leads off into the woods. Follow it and you’ll start gently gaining elevation.

    At this point mine finding experience is a good thing to have. (A copy of Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines Vol.1 really helps too)

    To the best of my recollection I followed the little trail until it disappeared beneath thigh deep Oregon Grape.

    Lonely miners...
    Lonely miners…

    I found an ephemeral stream bed to my right and followed it up, staying left when an obstacles came and eventually began reaching small cliffs, working my way around the them.

    When I first went some years ago the sight of the old cabin meant you were there. However I’ve heard in recent years the old Kitanning cabin has collapsed, possibly making the mine more difficult to find, and sealing the hodge-podge of relics and ancient pornography within.

    The upper adit
    The upper adit


    The first adit is right around the corner from the remains of the cabin, literally. It’s right there.

    The tunnel is a couple hundred feet long and is blasted into what seems like pretty stable rock. Turquoise colored mineral staining can be seen inside, as well as a couple scattered artifacts.

    The upper adit is approximately 500ft above you, amongst steep and sometimes cliffy terrain. An old miner’s trail fades in an out, occasionally leading the way.

    This tunnel is a couple hundred feet longer than the lower one and boasts more impressive mineral deposits.

    Tessbo Biped deep in the Kitanning
    Tessbo Biped deep in the Kitanning

    An interesting side note is that this adit does not have a corresponding tailings pile. Strange, no?

    According to DWHM#1, the entire tailings pile was hauled off to the smelter by the Twentieth Century Alaska Copper company in the early years of the 1900s.


    Copper was what was sought after at the Kitanning and is found in the ores; chalcopyrite, bornite, chalcocite and pyrite.

    Since there isn’t a tailings pile, specimens are mostly limited to what you can knock from the veins inside the tunnels.

    As always, leave it the way you found it (aside from some mineral samples perhaps)

    Good luck and happy trails!

    Nuclear Patina
    Nuclear Patina


    Woodhouse, Phil; Jacobson, Daryl; Petersen, Bill; Cady,Greg; Pisoni, Victor, Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines Vol.1: The West Central Cascade Mountains. Oso Publishing Company, 1997

    Mount Rainier Mining Company

    Phlox in bloom
    Phlox in bloom

    In the early days of Mt. Rainier National Park, mining and prospecting was still a legitimate pursuit within the park boundaries due to Section 5 of the Mt.Rainier Park Act which kept the park open to the Mining Law of 1872.

    This however was in direct conflict with Section 2 of the act which sought to keep all mineral deposits in their original natural condition.

    In short, it was a real $#!tshow.

    Cast Iron debris
    Cast Iron debris

    While there were many claims within the park during these early years many of them were simply charlatans and fly by night hucksters. Often a claim would be made with little or no minerals to be had, instead the claim being used as a cover for less than legal logging operations or poaching camps.

    The Sundry Civil Appropriations Act of 1908 brought to a halt the influx of new prospectors, but didn’t eliminate existing claims within the park. However it did give park officials greater power to annul these existing claims when the claimants failed to do their yearly assessment work, or when a claim was improperly marked.

    Trail shot
    Trail shot


    In addition to this, other changes to park regulations in 1908 severely limited claimants rights to construct buildings, cut timber, divert water flow or dig without the permission of the Secretary of the Interior.

    One man's junk...
    One man’s junk…

    The end was in sight for mining within Mount Rainier National Park, but some of these claims would continue for years to come, perhaps most notably the Mount Rainier Mining Company of Glacier Basin.

    In 1902, Peter Storbo and B.P. Korssjoen staked forty-one claims in Glacier Basin and in 1905 formed the Mount Rainier Mining Company.


    By 1908 much development had taken place including two tunnels, one at 73ft long the other 700ft in length. Two cabins, a blacksmith shop and a barn were also on site. Later development included a sawmill, powerhouse and a 13 room hotel that was said to house up to 35 miners and feed 120!

    Looking up at the tailings
    Looking up at the tailings

    Some years later in 1913 the Mount Rainier Mining Company relinquished 32 of it’s 41 claims in exchange for an annually renewable permit for it’s existing structures and underground workings. In addition they gained the right to build a road along the White River to their claims in Glacier Basin.

    Storbo and his uncle Ole P. Kulberg aggressively sold stock in the company, much of it to Scandinavian farmers in Minnesota and the Dakotas. So much so that Kulberg earned the moniker “Copper King”. They claimed that the ore from their mine was of the richest variety “Peacock Ore” otherwise known as bornite.


    However by the 1920’s the mine was producing much more waste rock than copper ore, and in 1927 Peter Storbo took the last load of ore from the mine. The last load was not to be however as that day the truck tipped over along the road and sank into the White River. Luck was on Storbo’s side though and he survived the crash.

    Storbo’s aggressive marketing of his mine came back to haunt him in 1930,when he and a partner, Orton E. Goodwin were convicted of mail fraud for selling phony stock certificates. In one correspondence Storbo had claimed a fortune of more than 2 billion dollars worth of ore at the Glacier Basin claims.

    Looking down the hogsback
    Looking down the hogsback
    Old timbers now flowered
    Old timbers now flowered

    Storbo served a little more than a year at McNeil Island federal prison for the crime, but later it came out that Goodwin and an ex-con named Chester Cresser had framed Storbo by forging his signature on the phony stock certificates.

    Peter Storbo passed away in 1956 at the age of 82.

    Esoteric junk
    Esoteric junk

    Nowadays not much remains of the Mount Rainier Mining Company, but there do exist some interesting things to see. The foundation for the old hotel is still there at the Glacier Basin Campground, as well as some pipes and large cast iron debris along the 3 mile trail to Glacier Basin.

    If you hike above the Glacier Basin Campground, you will eventually see a large tailings pile. This presumably is the site of the aforementioned 700ft tunnel. The adit has long since been buried by years of slide debris, but the view from the tailings pile is much more remarkable than some old hole in the ground.

    Glacier Basin itself is the real attraction here, impossibly steep walls, high snowy glaciers, all the while Mt.Rainier looming above like a silent deity. If you catch it during the right time of year the wildflower display puts the finest gardens to shame.

    Hiking up the hogsback
    Hiking up the hogsback
    Beauty and the beast
    Beauty and the beast

    I’ve heard that there exist other workings in the basin, however I neither saw them nor sought them on my last trip up there.

    Of note is an interesting rock near the trail through the lower meadows of the basin. It bears an inscription which reads: “Mt. ↑ R.M.Co 1 P”

    Looking down from the tailings
    Looking down from the tailings

    I believe this indicates other claims amongst the timber in the direction indicated, however I did not investigate this time around. I find the carving personally interesting as it bears a distinct impression of the individual that carved it. In a way it feels like a very direct connection to the mine and the men that worked it.

    A trip to Glacier Basin is unlikely to disappoint anyone, in fact if it disappoints you, I suggest you get counseling. The scenery is world class, almost unearthly. I highly suggest this hike to anyone.

    For those of us who for whatever reason feel drawn to history, and especially mining history, Glacier Basin offers that much more. While so far as I know there no longer exist any underground workings to explore, you should still put Glacier Basin and the Mt.Rainier Mining Company right at the top of your list.

    Happy Trails!

    The Inscription
    The Inscription




    Alice Claim

    Ore Crusher
    Ore Crusher

    Along the way up the McClellan Butte trail you might stumble upon the remains of the mill site and adit of the Alice Claim… that is, you would have along the old trail.

    Nowadays you’d probably only find it if you were looking for it.

    The adit
    The adit
    The adit from the trail
    The adit from the trail

    At one time in the not so distant past, the trail up the butte passed right beside the claim, but now that trail has been abandoned in favor of another, and is slowly being reclaimed by nature.

    Rusted "thing"
    Rusted “thing”

    Interestingly enough, hikers still pass right by the site, albeit on a different path, though I imagine only a few oddballs ever notice.

    The abandoned trail and mill site are found along Alice Creek, which as a matter of interest was named Revington Creek during the time the Alice Claim was in operation.

    Abandoned trail
    Abandoned trail

    The adit itself is collapsed and flooded in addition to being dug into steadily decaying overburden. Which is to say, even if this thing were open, it would be exceedingly dangerous to enter.


    Ore crusher detail
    Ore crusher detail

    According to Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines Vol.#1,  there once existed three tunnels totaling 500ft of underground workings. However, during my visit I only located the one.

    El Crush-o
    El Crush-o

    A Seattle Times article from July 1900 stated that construction of a surface tram had begun at the claim, linking one of the adits to the mill site. At that time, the mine working machinery was already in operation and the milling equipment was on order. The capacity of this mill was said to handle 10 to 15 tons of ore per day.

    Old wood pile
    Old wood pile

    Nowadays not much remains, though what does is impressive enough.

    The first major artifact seems to be some sort of furna.. You know, honestly I have no idea what in the hell it was exactly, maybe a furnace/boiler something. It looks as though it handled high temperatures at one time, judging by the decaying wrap on the pipes and a mixture of ash and brick underneath it.

    Moss toupee
    Moss toupee

    Feel free to school me on this one!

    The second, and in my opinion, most impressive artifact is what I’m very certain is an ore crusher. It consists of three large metal pestles set in a large cylinder with an ore chute on one side. I imagine this thing was as loud as hell when it was running.

    (The ore crusher is known as a Huntington Mill, designed by Frank Atwood Huntington, learn more about the man and his machine: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frank_Atwood_Huntington)

    Stove bits
    Stove bits

    Other artifacts include what appears to be a smashed wood stove and a pile of cut wood in addition to the miscellaneous corroding pipes, bars and various chunks of rusted metal that litter the site.

    The Alice Claim is worth a visit for those of you interested in such things and luckily the star artifacts are too heavy to be carried off, so they will likely be there awhile. Though some jackass tagged one of them… yeah.

    Anyway, as always, don’t be that jackass, leave it the way you found it.

    Happy Trails, Harry Biped

    Inside the Ore Crusher
    Inside the Ore Crusher


    Woodhouse, Phil; Jacobson, Daryl; Petersen, Bill; Cady,Greg; Pisoni, Victor, Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines Vol.1: The West Central Cascade Mountains. Oso Publishing Company, 1997





    Damon & Pythias Mine

    Exploring the Damon Vein
    Exploring the Damon Vein

    The Damon & Pythias, one of the very first mines I ever visited and usually the first I bring folks to visit when they are just becoming interested in mines.

    Before I ever even knew of the Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines series or really much of anything about mines, I stumbled upon a trip report to The D&P on 2drx.com , a great site with lots of trip reports and photos (unfortunately as of this writing the site is down, but hopefully it’ll be up again soon)

    View from the adit
    View from the adit

    I remember being captivated by their pictures of the relics deep inside the mines depths and glued to every word I read as I imagined exploring the abandoned abyss.

    Intrepid explorer
    Intrepid explorer

    They included a hand drawn map as well, which I printed out and carried along with me on that first trip.

    Well, it’s been a long time since then, and I’ve visited the Damon & Pythias dozens of time since, and I keep coming back.

    Simply put, it’s a combination of ease of access, mine complexity and abundant relics that keeps the D&P at the top of my list.

    Ye olde ladder
    Ye olde ladder

    At a time in the not too distant past it was possible to drive all the way to the D&P (albeit with a high clearance vehicle) but the final 100yrds of the road have now been blocked, with future blockages coming in the future.

    Deep in the Priestly Vein
    Deep in the Priestly Vein

    One of the first things you’ll notice when you arrive at the site is a very large culvert pipe kinda just sitting there. As you approach further, the tailings pile and large rusted ore hopper will appear to your left.

    Climbing up the tailings pile you’ll see another culvert piece, this one covering the adit a la Quonset hut.

    Cool effect man...
    Cool effect man…


    Also on the top of the tailings pile is the charred remains of what used to be a sort of covering over the tracks leading to the end of the tailings pile.

    The miners here were seeking gold and silver as well as lead found in the ores arsenopyrite, chalcopyrite, and galena. Samples of these ores can still be found in the mine and tailings pile today.

    Disclaimer: Mines are extremely dangerous, stay out, stay alive.

    Ahem, upon entering, a dilapidated gate halfway blocks the door. I’m sure at one time it kept people out, but it’s purpose is much more passive these days.

    Twisting tunnels
    Twisting tunnels

    Walking along the cart rails, paralleling the drainage channel and old ventilation pipe you’ll probably begin to think “How deep is this thing”?

    Eventually you’ll come to the first drift.

    It’s not very long in either direction, the floor is pretty muddy, there are no artifacts and the rock looks…questionable. Typically I explore this one with a flashlight beam.

    Interesting switch tracks
    Interesting switch tracks

    Continuing along the main tunnel you are again in store for a decent walk before coming to the next drift. This is known as the Damon Vein. You’ll immediately see a large rusted air compressor tank. It’s rivets speak of it’s age.

    The ore chute
    The ore chute

    There some other debris of note in the area, but none more interesting than the huge wooden structure to your right.

    As you approach the moldy wooden giant, you might notice that it sits directly below a very high raise. Shine your light into the darkness to try and see the top.

    The compressor tank
    The compressor tank

    Also of note is the bucket from an ore chute, at one time this would be supplied with ore dropped from the raise above, once the bucket was filled, the handle pulled would have dumped the ore into a waiting mine cart. Good lesson to learn here, let gravity do the work.

    The rest of this drift is mostly barren, but worth the walk.

    Heading back down the other direction of the drift, one follows cart rails down a sometimes twisting tunnel, past a couple old ladders (broken in recent years, thanks geniuses) to an uneventful end.

    rails and rails
    rails and rails

    Back at the intersection with the compressor tank you may have noticed a creepy door further down the main tunnel. Enter if you dare, but be warned, some say Dracsquatch (Dracula and Sasquatch’s unholy progeny) dwells beyond this point…. but I’ve never seen him, in fact I just made that up.

    The tunnel continues on, and eventually the cart tracks give up the ghost, but not before passing a pile of rusted cable (Which is the last artifact of note from here on out)

    The Drac-Squatch door
    The Drac-Squatch door

    You’ll eventually end up at another large intersection. This is known as the Priestly Vein. The drifts here are slightly shorter than in the Damon Vein and largely uneventful.

    The adit from the old rusty cables
    The adit from the old rusty cables

    Heading back to the intersection, turn off your light and look toward the adit, this tunnel is so straight, you will be able to see the tiny pin prick of light over a quarter mile away.

    Well thats the Damon and Pythias, and I’d like to keep it that way so as always, leave everything just as you found it, take only pictures and leave only footprints.

    Phew! Made it out alive
    Phew! Made it out alive

    Happy Trails- Harry Biped


    Woodhouse, Phil; Jacobson, Daryl; Petersen, Bill; Cady,Greg; Pisoni, Victor, Discovering Washington’s Historic Mines Vol.1: The West Central Cascade Mountains. Oso Publishing Company, 1997