Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Ford Slope Mine Hike

I think this was my favorite part of our Memorial Day Weekend mini-vacation. Michael doesn't get a lot of time off, so we have to take our vacations on long weekends. This is a good thing because they end up being a lot less expensive that way. On Sunday we packed a lunch and headed up to the trails surrounding the abandoned Ford Slope Coal Mine for another awesome homeschooling experience. I've always had a fascination with the subject of coal mining. I so admire those men who would do that kind of work. What a hard life coal mining was. In this picture, Josiah and Hailey are showing off a couple of pieces of coal they found along the trail.Hailey, Megyn, Josiah and Everest being silly in a coal car.

Josiah, ever the budding geologist, couldn't get enough of seeing the outcrops of coal. Of course, being the pyro he naturally is, he wants to see if it will burn :o/

Here is the sealed off mouth of the coal mine. They had dug 3500 feet, 200 feet below sea level by the time the mine was closed in the 30s. It opened right at the turn of the last century.

Here are pictures of the Ford Slope Mine. It was hard to believe there had a been a whole town in the forest where we were standing. It reminded me a lot of the Valsetz story. They had a band, Sunday school, baseball team, etc.

Ventilation pipe coming out of the mine. Would love to see where the end of this pipe is.

We did some geocaching along the way. 

These are the hoist footings where 5 cars of coal would be pulled up at one time out of the mine.

 The date here, reads "1920". This was part of a collapsed entrance into another part of the mine.  

You can see the rails sticking out all covered with moss.

 Same collapsed entrance. The kids are sitting in front of the "1920".

Josiah and his coal fascination. We were all surprised at how light coal is. Every hiker that went by us had to see his coal. That kid ;)

Here is what is left of the meadow where they played baseball. They are now working at restoring the meadow. We found a geocache here. 

So much history in this trip! On the way home, we stopped at an antique mall where I scored a red, white and blue vintage-looking apron for $6. I'll have to post a picture of it later.

So now we are back home and working hard to get our garden planted. We're doing raised beds this year and making the garden a lot bigger. Now that we have a year of experience under our belts, we're making some changes. Will do a garden post soon.



Stacie, A Firefighter's Wife said...

I love history like that. Very neat that you got to go and see it.

Rachel and Family said...

Okay, I'm trying to be a better girl about commenting. I read blogs, and hardly leave a comment. How rude of me.

Yes, I'd like to see your garden. I love seeing others work the earth. I'm going to do tomatos this year for sure.

Great pictures. I think coal mining is fascinating too, especially the lifestyles that would go along with it. How far is Ford Slope from your place?

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

I love it when you comment, Rachel! It is wonderful to hear from you :)

I'm planning on doing a gardening post next.

The Ford Slope Mine is about 5 1/2 hours from our place (straight shot NW). With kids it took us about 8 hours to get there ;)

Robin said...

Gorgeous place. I miss those little educational get-aways now that the kids are so big and the oldest isn't even home *whaaaaaaaaa* (call the WAAAmbulance). :)

Kimberly said...

You found so much to do! I've lived in this area my whole life and never heard of the places you found to discover!

Cheesemakin' Mamma said...

the internet can be a beautiful thing! Simply have to check that place out. You'd love it. Talk about a cheap field trip!

I know I'm going to be missing homeschool field trips when they are over. I love any excuse for an adventure!

Justine said...

That looks like an amazing trip! It is so amazing to see how time almost erases some things... good luck on your gardens I think I can say we all would love to see some pics of the garden :-) hope it brings in a huge harvest!

Anonymous said...

Looks like fun, Jackie:) I love places that reflect hands on history. I love Josiah's remark about lighting the Josiah (much older, of course) tells me that "we boys" like to blow things up...Hmmmmm. Fortunately, he is mostly talk and no action in that department:-)

Nadine said...

That looks like a great time! It reminds me of the Old Robe Trail on Mountain Loop Highway up past Granite Falls, WA. We will have to check out the Ford Slope Mine trail some day!


RaD said...

I have a kiddo just like that, so don't feel bad (not that you felt badly about his personality). Ironically it's the one born just a few weeks before him :)

Your trip looks like you had so much fun. And yes, you did get some great pics with your new camera!

Lizzy said...

So pretty! I love learning about the past as well. Its so crazy to be in a spot where you know there was a thriving town almost a century ago. Looks like it was fun :)


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