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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Fall hike to the Cordova Mines Erratic

Hi Doug & Marc,

That was a great hike behind Cordova Mines, despite the drizzle and overcast late afternoon. Thanks for persevering, Doug!

Where the trail forks south for the Ledger Mine was too flooded for us to go on without at least knee high boots. Doug and I decided to explore the right fork by the tailings ponds, where we flushed several flocks of ducks. No duck hunters or shell casings in sight, tho. We slopped thru shallow puddles beside the beaver dam, with the pond water level about 1 1/2 feet higher than our trail. It's amazing what effective engineers beavers are! We passed the driveway to the newer chalet on the hill overlooking the tailings pond. Fortunately the new owners appear tolerant, if not supportive, of people continuing to use this old trail, as they had a couple of signs reading "Stay on the Trail". Far better than "No Trespassing" or "Private Property: KEEP OUT".

This west trail leads to the old Crippen homesite, and it hasn't changed much in the almost 30 years I've been walking it. The intersection with a side trail was almost completely overgrown, however, so I suspect the locals aren't doing as much hiking and hunting in these woods as they did when I lived in Cordova a quarter century ago. Doug spotted the huge Cordova erratic rock looming thru the dark woods before I did. We walked up to the boulder and Doug circled it with his cam, getting some great shots (we hope). The rock is mottled with several shades of green moss, and possibly some lichen - hard to tell exactly what in the dim late aft light. 

There is something so powerful and primal about the ancient rock that we instinctively approached it at the same time to feel its vibration. Shades of the apes in 2001: A Space Odyssey   ; )-  Doug wanted to clamber up on the rock, but it was so damp from the drizzle he decided not to.

Marc, what would the approximate age be of an erratic like that? I know it's in the tens of millions years, but I may attempt a bad poem if I can more accurately date its existence there.

The erratic was the high  point of our hike, and a few hundred yards further along the trail we found almost nothing to show the old Crippen homesite had once been there. We did find some rotted lumber which I vaguely remembered being the site of an outbuilding such as a storage shed or pig shelter. The rusted wreck of the 1940s car which had greeted my first visit to Crippen has now completely rusted away. We followed a short overgrown trail heading south from the homesite to another large beaver pond, again flushing more ducks. Doug commented that the rugged scene of the pond surrounded by tall pines and a few hardwoods could have placed us in the middle of Algonquin Park. We had been protected from the wind on the trails, but by the pond gusts began driving sheets of pine needles and rain.

On my first visit to the haunted Crippen homestead almost 30 years ago, I'd been greeted by:

flashing white
from rusted wheel well:
snowshoe rabbit!

I'm looking forward to another attempt to find the Ledger Mine, but we'll need better gear. We could wait until freeze-up, but of course then snow might hide the mine's features and the huge chunks of quartz littering the hillside below it.