Saturday, September 9, 2006

The Elusive Bluebird Mine

The Elusive Bluebird Mine - September 1, 2006
We got up early this morning and after packing up some sandwiches and cold drinks, we were on the road by 4:30 AM. Driving up to Greenback Valley on FR 71, it was a fabulous trip, cool and beautiful, with dawn just breaking. We'd studied the map and determined there was another road, a backdoor to the Bluebird mining site. The map proved correct, sure enough, hidden behind some brush was the remnants of an old road. It looked to be ok so we decided to try it. Rocky and heading uphill but passable for about a half a mile it then became rutted, tippy, off camber and very HIGH up. The worst part, we could see the beginnings of our ultimate destination, one of the miner's cabins we'd been told about by the forest rangers. There it was directly below us! (about a mile as the crow flies) The mine was only about a quarter of a mile from the cabin, so we were the closest we'd been yet. Since the recent rains, the road was washed out in places and since we were alone, we decided discretion is the better part of valor and turned back. It was a real disappointment, but now we know for sure we're on the right track, we'll either have to hike in, wait to go with the forest service when they go, or find someone to buddy with and attempt the trip again.
On the way back out and onto FR 71, we decided to ride a bit further, up to Greenback Mountain, beautiful area, lots of greenery, and canyon vistas. I had my hand out the window of the Jeep and all of a sudden, we heard a loud that same moment, we saw a flash of something just outside the window, I yanked my hand in, almost landed in my husband's lap in the process and let out a yelp that I'm sure echoed through the canyons. My husband slammed on the brakes and backed up the Jeep ... sure enough, still coiled to strike again was a big ol' FAT Western Diamondback. We'd disturbed his sunning session and he was in no mood to be messed with, so we just took a couple of pictures and bid him adieu. (I kept my hand in the window for the rest of the trip and was still shaking an hour later)
All in all, it was a nice trip, a bit disappointing, but now we know we're on the right track and we're going back one way or the other for sure.

Sorry for the lousy picture quality...I was a bit shakey

Mr Diamondback
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Miner's cabin Bluebird Mine
(the road on the upper portion going left, leads to the mine)
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The road leading to "our" Bluebird...if we could only get to it!
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Sunflowers Along Greenback Mountain Road
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Sunflowers with Greenback Valley behind them
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