Friday, December 18, 2015

Friday Hike Day: Big Horn Mine-into the mine

View of a tunnel leading straight up to nowhere, in the mine.
We headed back to Big Horn Mine, determined to explore the mine this time. There was more snow than last time we were here. It's not that big of a deal except it can create slippery conditions on some of the trail hills. My youngest took a serious dive on the way back and busted his lip pretty good. He was only traumatized for a little while.

Adventure Mom entering the mine.
Parking requires an Adventure Pass ($5). Restroom is a vault toilet. As most vault toilets go, it's gross. Don't look down, hold your breath or put your jacket over your nose and mouth. This time there was actually feces on the floor of the restroom. I'd rather attempt to find a private bush than venture in there again.

Small stalactites in the mine.
VEnturing into the mine definitely had a bit of creep factor. If you are claustrophobic, you may not like it. It's not too narrow and at the narrowest point, it suddenly opens up very wide. It is pitch black, flashlights are a must. The ground still has the old mining car tracks and possibly water at times.

A bit of stretch for a well-balanced mom, yah?
I don't know if it was the snow or what but this hike took us way longer than usual. HOURS longer. SOm eof our crew were really lagging behind and we had to keep stopping to wait. The cold temps and the slippery snow didn't help.

My brave adventure girl, in the pitch black mine.
For most of the mine, you can see the light of the entrance behind you. You will reach a spot with a paper map and a warning about an area that is no longer accessible and another warning to not *be stupid*.

We took that warning to heart. We reached a fork in the mine, straight ahead the ground was covered in water, to the left, and out of sight of the entrance, the mine heads a bit uphill. Call me chicken but that was far enough for me. I liked being able to see the light at the end of the tunnel--pun intended.

Take a kid outside and watch him grow.
The outside of the mine is still the perfect place to sit and have lunch, check out the view and take awesome pictures.

Adventure Kids! I love this shot. It's actually my partner in hiking crime's kiddos.
This time, along the trail, there were fresh and sturdy ropes to assist if necessary. This was nice but we didn't need them. I think with the snow and if it was worse, they would be very helpful

My girl and I being goofy.

Again, this hike is one of the more adventurous with olders. The mine steps up the adventure scale. There is also a historical cabin to look for. It was the home of the mine's original owner. We did not find it this time but after more online research, I realized it can be found if you follow the trail at the fork of the Big Horn Mine trail. Instead of taking the mine trail, turn left and take the Gulch trail.

We brought lunch and snacks as always. If you go in winter, dress in layers and wear sturdy shoes. I pulled out my hiking boots and they were a life saver. Everyone else slipped a lot more in their tennis shoes. Ten out of twelve of us slipped and fell today, including both Adventure Moms!

Being prepared for cold, wet clothes, I took extra scarves and hoodies--even teens can be forgetful--and they came in handy. I also kept blankets and extra socks in the car. This helps warm them up quickly after the hike until the heater warms the interior and in case anyone's shoes and socks get wet from snow etc.

We had a great time and it was a nice change to be in the snow. Don't forget to stay hydrated!
See you next week.

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