Wednesday, June 20, 2018

June 2018 Family Vacation: Part 3 - Crystal Gold Mine, Kellogg, ID

 On our way back home from Glacier National Park, we stopped in Kellogg, ID at a privately owned mine called the "Crystal Gold Mine" where they give tours through it. It is an old 1880s gold mine rediscovered in the 1980s, I believe. Josiah is fascinated with all things to do with mining so we decided to fill his love tank and take the tour as a family. So glad we did! It was an absolutely amazing piece of history, plus wonderful geology lessons were involved, too.
 Dave did a great job as our tour guide. He was showing us some drills that came from the mine. You could still see where the rails were for the cart(s) to ride on.
 Old hand drills mixed with rock and quartz.
 There was water in this area of the mine and to prove it was safe, the owner kept it stocked with huge rainbow trout that Rina got to help feed.

 There actually ended up being more silver in the mine than gold, but the original miners passed up the silver. It's the dark areas you see on this rock. The red is iron being leached from the rock.
 Here are some stalactites beginning to form on some of the walls. They called these bacon stalactites, because they looked like strips of bacon.
Here is an offshoot that they tested out, but didn't find gold. 

 Dave was demonstrating how the miners would drill by hand the holes in the rock to put the dynamite to blast more of the rock away. What a hard job, and so very dangerous.
 You can see the manganese that is leaching out of the rock here. Such a pretty purple color.
 There was gold in this quartz! So small you had to have a magnifying glass to see it. But it was there!
 You can see copper leaching out of the rocks here, making a beautiful blue color.
 Here is wire silver which apparently is very rare. 
 This is an old wooden brace used in the mine, it looks like it will become petrified wood in no time.
Hailey is looking past the wood bracing log and down the tracks to the back of the mine. 

 Rina found some fools gold and Dave told us all to rub it for good luck. 
 Then we found some real gold and he told us all to rub it for good luck, too. 
 This was the end of the main shaft. There was a shaft that they built going 60ft straight down but it was filled with water. The original miners left very suddenly and they never had an official claim on the mine filed.
 This is the original pump the miners used to keep the water pumped out of that deep shaft. I love that the original wooden plug is still intact.
 As you walked up to this offshoot, you could smell a difference in the air. They used that room as a place to store their dynamite. This is one of the original boxes (now empty) they found in this offshoot.
Dave took a couple of family pictures for us. We had such a good time and would recommend this tour to anyone! We got to meet the current owner who is a veteran. Super nice man!

The tour included a chance to gold pan for an hour. Thank goodness it stopped raining just as the tour ended so we gold panned and found some fun stuff. 

The kids found some pretty rocks and even a few gold flakes. Love doing this kind of stuff as a family. They even let us stay in their parking lot and eat dinner in the trailer. Like I said, nice people.

After that we stayed at our friends' house in Spokane again. We lovingly call it the KOJ now. Thanks again, Laci and Andrew for letting us stay. It was so fun to see you again.

The next morning we headed for home, bucking a wind and almost running out of diesel. But we made it!

Mom and Larry took great care of our animals for us while we were gone. A big thank you to them indeed.

God Bless,

Saturday, June 16, 2018

June 2018 Family Vacation: Part 2 - Glacier National Park

 Stealing a kiss on the banks of Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park. 

This smooch was much needed as we had a very stressful time getting there because I gave wrong directions landing us in an extremely hard spot to turn around a 32' toy hauler. Yikes! All I can say is Michael is amazing (with Ernie spotting for him), and he managed to get us out of the pickle I put us in. After a good cry when we got to Fish Creek Campground (thank you, Kay, for letting me cry on your shoulder), all was better when we walked down to the lake and saw this beautiful view.
Lake MacDonald
 Hailey had a lot of fun playing with her cousins Jasper and Zeke. 
 I think they thought her antics were pretty funny. Here she is walking along a log going over Fish Creek.
 Always the gymnast! 

 She even practiced bars on this cool root that was in the bank. 

 Rina had a lot of fun playing with her cousins, too

And her sissy, of course!

 This is now one of my favorite pictures of all time!
 Privileged to have Crystal call me "Aunt Jackie". We had so much fun together! She was really brave to come camping with us without her husband. We love you, dear niece!
 Awww, aren't they cute?! My favorite picture of my in-laws...ever. Love my new camera!

Rina and Grandpa Ernie

It was really nice for Rina to get to play with cousins she doesn't see very often. They had so much fun on the beaches of Lake MacDonald.
We got the kayaks out and paddled around Lake MacDonald. We were excited that Kay was able to try it despite her recent back problems.

You get a whole different view from the kayaks.

 Was really glad Michael got to go kayaking with his mom. 
 Lake MacDonald.
Josiah and Hailey tried their hand at gold panning. Found some pretty rocks, but no color.

Josiah, Dylan and his friend, had a great time kayaking and riding mountain bikes all over.

 We roasted elk back strap on sticks over the fire, courtesy of Josiah's successful hunt last fall. This was a treat for everyone. Of course we had s'mores every night.
Michael's older brother, David, met us at Glacier. He brought along his dog "Weeble". It was great to get to spend time with him also.

 Josiah taught the boys how make their own musket balls for black powder hunting.
We didn't see any bears in our campground, but we saw a deer.

Morning snuggles in the camper with Dad. It was a wonderful place to escape the mosquitoes when they got too thick.

 We drove the "Going to the Sun Road" as far as we could going east, but we were stopped at Avalanche because it still wasn't open due to the amount of snow they had that year. So we stopped off at a few falls along the way.
 Josiah was fascinated by the big holes in the rock created by cavitation and powerful water.
 The boys had a great time skipping rocks off the white water. Dylan has a special talent for it.

 Gorgeous, rugged mountains on either side of us. Clearly David doesn't enjoy his picture taken, but I got one anyway, ha ha!
 Hailey, looking like a big girl instead of a little one. 
 Kay and Ernie beside the "Going to the Sun Road".
The next day, Michael and I decided to leave the older kids in camp with their cousins and uncle and we drove with Rina, Kay and Ernie down and around Glacier National Park so we could enter the "Going to the Sun Road" from the East Entrance and travel as far as we could on it from that direction. What an incredible drive! We also stopped at "Running Eagle Falls" and hiked up to it. It was a short hike and perfect for Rina especially.

Running Eagle Falls - named after a famous Blackfoot maiden warrior who was killed and buried in a tree above the falls. 

 Rina and Michael are crossing the bridge that goes to the falls. 
Kay and Ernie at Running Eagle Falls

 Michael, Rina and I standing in front of Running Eagle Falls.

 Cutest little hiker - ever!
 Saw a toad on the side of the trial. 
Rina really wanted to smell the snow along the trail, so I let her. 

 Views from the "Going to the Sun Road". We could only go about 15 miles in before they made us turn around. So we probably missed a third of it, but what we saw was worth the drive.

 The east side of the park had been heavily affected by the fire last year, but it made it easier to see the gorgeous mountains.
 "Goose Nest Island" in St. Mary Lake.
A monument to the Blackfoot Nation in Glacier National Park near St. Mary.

We managed to pack all that you've seen and more in two full days. Next time, I would definitely try to be there for at least 4 to 5 days. Two days were not enough! But really grateful with the time we had with family in this beautiful country we'd never seen before. Wonderful memories were made! We had a few more adventures on the way home, which I will blog about next.

God Bless,


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