Saturday, July 25, 2009

16 July 2009 - Tungsten Mine

Today we hiked into the Pasayten Wilderness Area. Like all other days, we encountered no one else, but we did find an immaculate trail that is flat and easy to follow. Even though the trail has little elevation change, it is at 7,000 feet and is completely surrounded by mountains. Unlike many mountain trails, a good portion of today's route went though meadows, free from obstructions, leaving fantastic panoramas. The meadows were all full of a sea of wild flowers, helping make this my favorite day of hiking yet. Our guidebook raves of the Pasayten, and I can see why.

While walking thorugh this designated "wilderness area," it wasn't hard to grasp the wildness of the land. At certain vistas I could see for well over 100 miles through numerous mountain ranges. From afar, the ranges were all gree with blotches of snow and exposed rock. As the mountains got closer, individual trees became visible. Closer yet, gaps formed between the trees. More or less, we are walking through a huge land of wilderness, free of man's touch for miles in all directions...or so it seems.

Tonight we are cmaping outside some old bunkhouses associated with an old Tungsten mine which is a short walk from our tent. The mine was active circa WWI. Now all that remains are some old buildings which are used as shelter by the rare passerby. Apparently, this area isn't that wild if I am camping oin an old mine. Who knew what this land looked like in the past and how many times it has been altered? I'm sure it has been mined, logged, farmed, and only recently allowed to be wild. Can it even go wild in a land so touched already?

Following a cattle trail that leads into the Pasayten.

We carved our names on one of the doors inside the shack.

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