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Archive for April, 2006

A Really Stupid Mistake

Greetings bloggers. Why did I not make the connection between what sits in my flickr account and what appears on my blog? It is my understanding that I can upload a whole lot more pictures at the stroke of midnight on May the first. The account allows me to do this every month. I have been looking forward to that prospect all day. An hour ago (10 o clock)I got the brilliant idea of removing all of the pictures that I had used over the last month on my blog. What was I thinking? I have no idea. It would seem that the blog does not remain unattached to the flickr. Without my photos sitting somewhere in flickr land my blog does not exist either. Now you face the dismal prospect of clicking on an image only to read "Oops, some moron deleted this". I suppose I can try and upload everthing again. What a job. Well look forward to midnight and lets see what I can do; 53 minutes to go.

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Greetings Bloggers, Just thought you might like to hear that I am still alive and had a good day at the Hell Holes. I will provide details tomorrow night. There are a couple of really good pictures to show you and as my flickr account is renewed this Sunday night that is when you will see them.

In the old days the pioneers had the unfortunate task of crossing through this shattered terrain in their wagons. As Ron Storring (The owner) told me, the reason that they are called the Hell holes is that the settlers would say of a certain area that it was , “a hell of a hole to cross”. The upright rim of a rusting wagon wheel was offered as testament to the early hardships. It sat in the middle of the forest beside a winding track.

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Greetings bloggers, Some exciting cave related news has just come my way. I immediatly thought to share it with you. Greg Warchol and I have been communicating back and forth over the last few days trying to throw together some sort of reconnisance to the Hell Holes. It is a promising area of karst just north of Napanee. Some time ago I had spoken with the owner of the Hell Holes and he had indicated that he was interested in a cave dig. He remembers seeing a tunnel through a crevice in the bottom of the biggest hole. Today that crack is covered by debris but not forgotten.

It appears that we are to meet with Ron (The Owner)tomorrow morning at 11:30 to discuss the options. Greg will be bringing along some specialist digging equipment and hopefully “Lady luck is on our side”. As Ron said on the phone this morning, “I was thinking of calling some of those, what do you call them, CAVERS, to help us”. I assured him that we were indeed the right people and that my partners were well experienced in similar excavations. Greg is famous for his technical expertise with the microblaster. He has asked me to mention the microblaster site. (www.microblastercanada.ca) Check this out if you are in the least curious as to the nature of microblasting. I should have a picture in the archives from this month that shows the ladder in the largest hell hole. Check the bar to the side of the post, it lists the archives. The digging will take place beneath in a small room to the side of the main crevice. I suspect that a significant amount of water once passed down that hole but tomorrow should confirm or shatter that speculation.

An added bonus to the journey tomorrow is that Brad wilson should be meeting us up there, he is the Owner of “True North Gems” and an avid caver as well. Brad is Canada’s microblasting dealer and also possibly the best gem faceter that I know. I recall buying an especially fine sphene that he had faceted a few years ago and talking with him about his tourmaline claim in the North West Territories. Sphene is the gem form of the mineral titanite, it is usually found as a yellow wedge shaped crystal displaying great fire when properly cut. I am sure he would not object to a blogside interview tomorrow. He is what you might call, the “Rock” in Canada’s “Rock” community.

Please excuse me but I have to run, I start work in two hours and Friday nights are always a funny time. It pays to get there early on Fridays as one never knows how things will play out.

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IMG_1368
Originally uploaded by Mic2006.

This last summer my father and I had visited the old Bessamer Iron Mine near Bancroft. We had been looking for magnetite specimens. Apparently rare black octahedrons of that mineral can occasionally be found there.

Just as the sun was setting we noticed an indistinct path running through the woods. It was the now defunct remains of the Barry’s Bay and Bessemer Line, a spur line that had been constructed in 1906 running from the Central Ontario Railway out to the mine and ultimatly on beyond toward Barry’s Bay.

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IMG_1744
Originally uploaded by Mic2006.

This is the entrance to the Croft Mine. It was a wet wade into the tunnels which had been carved from within a garnet bearing pegmatite fissure. There was plenty of the pegmatite debris lying out in the forest dumps, strewn betweeen the trees and wooden beams that had once been buildngs. Beyond the tunnel entrance the stagnant air and smell of mold was overpowering. My shoulders having brushed the walls appeared to have released a cloud of spores. Bad air, rotting timbers and an unstable roof are but a few of the hazards that are encountered in an abandoned mine. In weighing the odds I felt it sensible to cut my underground explorations short.

I had ventured into the forest to photograph the head frame that was supposedly still standing. The land above was on a steep slope and at times the woods were almost impenatrable. In that crazy tangle the visibility was limited to a stones throw in any direction. I never did find the mine’s tower, I dont doubt that it was there, I just could not see it.

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IMG_1743
Originally uploaded by Mic2006.

The area around Bancroft is one of my favorite places for rock-related explorations.

This sodden swamp is a road if you can believe it. It once led to the Croft Mine. Pink zircons are said to be found in the mine dumps and I had ventured out here to see if I could find some. Thankfully I had parked by car on a hill about a kilometer back as the road was becoming to treacherous to drive. Maggie stayed behind and I continued on into the mire. Stinking marsh gas drifted up with every step. I was soon knee deep in a filthy, black, organic soup.

Later in the day as I trudged back from the mine I found Maggie in the car attempting to negotiate the incline. She was worried that I had been attacked by a bear and was coming to find me. Thankfully I cut her reckless journey short. There would have been no turning round at the bottom, just a one way trip into the swamp. My car still bears the scars of that day’s exploration.

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IMG_1873, originally uploaded by Mic2006.

This is it, the town of Cobalt as you look over the trench that was the Nippising Mine. Millions of ounces of silver had been dredged from the furrow in the foreground. In the background there is Long Lake and behind that, the station.

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