Jeff's Big 2010 Galena Adventure
I'll start this today, July 2, since I wasn't sure if I would even be in Galena this summer much. I was in Spearfish all winter, staying at the Canyon Gateway Motel. I moved back here June 1. I drove school bus in Spearfish, and did about 6 weeks' work with the Census that ended June 4.
We had about 300 people for the Galena walk, even though it was drizzly all day and threatening to rain. About 250 people signed in at the school, so that was a pretty good showing. I set up my table in front of the cabins again and showed people samples of galena from a local mine. Mark the state geologist came by for a bit and told me way more technical stuff about my ore sample than I could grasp. He also gave me a copy of his new geological survey of the area.
Forey was up in Deadwood so I visited with him a bit. He had the recordbook of shares sold of Anchor Mountain Mine, which was interesting. I showed him the names I knew, like Kenworthy and Turek. Gammy was listed as having 1000 shares, and I think Howard had 500, or 1500, I forget now.
Had dinner at Jeraldine's. Fred and his girlfriend Joy were visiting, so that was nice to see them. The phone company came out and FIXED the hum on the phone line. Before hum, 26.2kps. During hum, down below 14.4kps. After hum removal, 26.4kps. It did go up to 28.8 once. Oh, and I'm using blackhills.com now as my internet provider for dialup instead of mato.
Mowing the yard today. Ken fell off his bike a few days ago in Phoenix and got banged up, so I guess he won't be coming up. Eric should be here Tuesday for a bit more than a week.
What have I done in Galena? Scraped, primed, and painted the parts of the cabins and outhouse that needed it. Moved my stuff from Gammy's into a storage unit in Deadwood. Finished up some rock work. Learned how to do time lapse with my camera. Drove my bike around a little (it started right up, no problems). Looked for work. Planted my tiny garden with peas.
Here's a time lapse of poppies. And here's an HDR photo from Four Corners.
I was going to take the bike up to Kim's to watch the fireworks and take photos. First the weather looked kind of iffy, then Janet emailed me that they were giong to see Ken and would have him talk to me on the phone. So I stayed home. But then Ken was too tired to talk to me, so that was a bummer.
This morning I heard a ruckus outside Gammy's. I looked out to see 2 robins attacking a squirrel in the tree in front. The squirrel would run up and down the tree as the robins dived on him. I have no idea what the argument was about, but unfortunately my camera was in the other cabin. Then on the way back from Deadwood, not far past Wild Bill's, a mink ran across the road! I stopped and went back to try to get a photo, but after 15 minutes of looking and watching, I never saw it nor any evidence of it so I went home. Chester said he'd seen minks in the same place I saw it.
Eric called a bit after 5 to say he was in Deadwood, so I went there and we ate together at Taco John's.
It was cool and drizzly today. Only about 60 degrees.
I still don't know if I should go to Rapid or Phoenix. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Eric has been here for his school reunion. He's taking me into town because there's no oil in my transmission. I had the CV boots replaced a few weeks ago, and now it appears that the repair place forgot to put a washer in with the bolt. It seems deliberate to me since the bolt was put on WAY tighter than it needed to be, and in fact, I couldn't even get it off with a cheater bar on my ratchet. So the oil has gradually leaked out. We might go to Annie Creek off Spearfish Canyon as well.
It's cool and cloudy. It's been a pretty cool summer so far, with only a few days in the 80s. Tourism seems down to me, though I haven't seen any statistics yet.
I took another time lapse yesterday up above Jeraldine's where you can see Bear Butte. It looked like a storm from Wyoming would go over Bear Butte from the radar, but after I set up, it went over and behind me instead. So I got boring cloud stuff at Bear Butte while a huge black storm went east behind me to the south. I did learn, though, to set photo to fine, not normal. And set the focus on manual, since you're not moving the picture anyway.
Somebody just dropped off a huge ditch digger by Joe's pond. No idea what's up there.
Still trying to decide whether to move to Rapid or Scottsdale.
A cool and somewhat wet day. We went to Deadwood, then up to "find" Anchor Hill, since neither of us remembered exactly where it was. We found it near Anchor Mountain Mine. The "AH" has been changed to "AP" by somebody moving a few of the rocks. And that's about all that's left of the fire lookout except the pedestal for the directional finder is still there.
Robins have a nest above the cellar. I set up the step ladder near the outhouse and waited for the mom to come back to feed the one kid in the nest. Got a few photos, including this one:
She had just fed the kid but he apparently wanted more. I missed this part but saw it. After mom fed the kid, he turned his butt into the air and pooped. Mom grabbed the poop and flew away. Ick. But good housekeeping I guess.
Also, a western tanager bird has been hanging around lately. It is yellow with a red head, so you can't miss it when it's nearby. Here it is taking off from behind the outhouse:
Eric came back with tranny fluid for my car. After I put it in, it was leaking from someplace. After about 1/2 hour the leaking seemed to mostly quit, so I drove it around. All the noise and sticking issues have been resolved just from the oil. Hopefully the leaking has stopped and I didn't hurt the tranny from driving without oil for a while. I'm guessing this is the fault of the mechanic who changed my CV boots, but I don't know whether it's worth complaining if there's no visible damage nor way of proving it's their fault.
This morning I was over near the well looking at my peas, when suddenly a deer toward Jeraldine's snorted and started running right toward me! She saw the fence and turned and ran through the lillacs, snorting and running toward the creek. I have no idea what spooked her so much but it certainly wasn't me, because she ran toward me!
I rode my bike into Sturgis to get gas and food, then went to the sinkhole on the way back. It is still growing, and the place where the water goes underground changed a bit as well. I'd like to know just what the underground there looks like. So I drove back via the road behind Jeraldine's. About halfway to that road, I saw a map on the road. I figured by the time whoever lost it discovered it was missing, they'd be long gone, so I took it with me. I got home, took a shower, caught up on email, and piddled around for a bit. After that some ATVs stopped near the cabin, so I went out and asked if they'd lost a map. They had! They were happy and surprised to get their map back. We talked for quite a bit about what there was to see around here.
Eric and I went to the new hotel where Casey works for supper. I had a great buffalo burger, the juiciest one I ever had!
I took my car into the auto repair shop in Spearfish that replaced my CV boots recently, because the transmission was leaking. Actually, it had dried out and I was driving it around like that. The repair guy said "the axles blew out" meaning they both pushed away from the transmission farther than they were supposed to go. He fixed it and replaced the tranny oil, for free!
Eric and I then went to 11th Hour Falls in Spearfish Canyon, then up Annie Creek Road to a pretty falls there. I didn't have my camera so you'll have to get photos from him. I want to go back and follow that road to the ends.
Today we went into 3 mines, including 2 in Lost Gulch. I think the Lost Gulch mines west of Perli's are the Aurizone mines. This was another company with bold claims and big ambitions that didn't go anywhere. One of the mines was filling with water more than when I was in last year, so you can't go in very far without getting your feet wet. Here's Eric about to make it to safety:
In this mine was a pile of turkey feathers inside the entrance, and some big poop, so we assume a mountain lion had stopped for a light snack at some time this winter.
Did laundry. Ate at Stamp Mill. Came home. A good day.
Eric left early. I was going to go over and see if he wanted to borrow the new book on Homestake but he was already gone.
Went into town job hunting and apartment hunting. Then went back to Annie Creek on my bike. I went right first, which supposedly goes to the Reliance, or New Reliance, mine. The road splits several times, but the main road goes to a Wharf gate. The split to the left is almost as bad a road as Camp 5, but it does go by an old building made out of railroad ties. It's a strange building also because it has slits instead of windows, and also apparently had a cement roof that collapsed. I went past that and wound up in a field just down and west of the Terry Peak towers. 3 roads split off there, and I had no desire to follow any of them all the way.
So I went back to the rail bed and followed it. About 1/2 mile along, it suddenly "ends" since there was a bridge there that has long ago collapsed.
I took pictures, then followed one more road that goes downhill. It just ends at a really pretty part of Annie Creek:
I then took photos of the falls, then actually found the dump site that Eric and I had run into. There are lots of cans and large animal bones, but when I dug under the cans and bones, there was nothing. I looked around and found a wooden foundation and a chicken wire cage. Inside the cage was a rusting Kraft Mayonaise lid, so I'm gonna guess people were living there in the 1960s. It was a great hideout at any rate. They had a cellar too.
Ran shuttle bus in Spearfish yesterday for the Arts and Crafts Festival. People tipped like crazy and I didn't even think about that, so they kept asking "where's the tip jar?" It really wound down after about 4, so I left an hour early since we didn't really need 2 buses for that route. It was around 90 degrees all day, but nice. There's a chance of rain tomorrow, so I plan to one more time at cloud time lapse.
I dug out the entry to under the Clarks' kitchen. Even after pushing the concrete wall over a couple of inches and digging out the entrance, it's still a tricky entry just the way the concrete sits. So I stuck my new camera under and took a bunch of flash photos. Even the joist under the stove has mold on it, but it looks like the plywood is ok though. Didn't do much the rest of the day even though it was really nice weather. Looking for work + apartments in Rapid today.
I made a list of 3 jobs to apply for tonight after going through several web sites this morning. I had an interview last week and handed in an application at another place on Friday. Saw Inception too, which was almost too difficult to follow.
I went to Bear Butte Lake about 1pm or so to take more time lapse photos. It worked out pretty good for the clouds, except about an hour into the recording (it took 2 hours) a big wind came up from the east. that was strange because all the cloud activity was in the west. At any rate I think this one will be my best cloud one yet.
It was fun watching all the birds at the lake. There was some sort of plain brown smallish duck that would chase bugs, especially dragon flies. It would hunker down in the water and almost like a submarine head toward a dragon fly sitting on a stalk of grass, then at the last second it would speed up, and even jump after the bug. I think I saw one actually grab a dragon fly, but mostly they got away.
There were about a dozen pelicans, two great herons, sea gulls, swallows, canada geese with 3 kids, and so on. The pelicans would almost land at the same time as they ducked under the water for a fish. In the bay in Clearwater they would dive straight in like bullets, tucking in their wings at the last minute. But this lake is pretty shallow so I would guess they're smart not to try that here.
I packed up to go north to Newell, and it was only then that I noticed an amazing wall of black and broiling clouds to the north. I turned on the radio in case there was a tornado warning, but there was only warnings for around Custer and farther west in Wyoming. So I headed north. Suddenly a bit past Bear Butte the wind really picked up and the rain came down so hard I almost lost sight of the semi ahead of me. There was a turnoff right there, so I parked and videotaped some horses across the road trying to weather the storm. The wind blew so hard it shook my little aerodynamic Civic quite a bit. It let up after about 10 minutes, and since there were cars still coming south, I headed to Newell to eat supper. By the time I got there the storm had moved on east. Tonight the radio said there had been inch size hail one place and a tornado near Wasta, which is farther east.
I went into Rapid to look at some apartments. One near Wilson school was cheap, but it was a basement apartment squeezed into every nook and cranny of the basement. There were beams and doorways that I would have had to duck around constantly, so I don't think I'll take that one. I have to go back tomorrow to look at some others. When I got home I hiked up to Anchor Mountain for some exercise, then met Collette who is here doing research on a relative's mine.
I had one of my food episodes tonight and can't for the life of me figure out why. Once in a great while seemingly innocent foods will trigger the problem.
I'm all set to start driving in Rapid August 24. I just need a place to stay by then, and to move.
Rode my bike past Pillar Peak yesterday. It's about 4.2 miles from the cabin to where you park to hike up. I followed an older trail near there and found some diggings at a place where the porphyry has tiny flat black crystals or whatever they are. Where they dug the porphyry also had some sparkly specks that I don't know but assume it's mica or something. I then went to Boulder Canyon and talked to some campers there who were carrying pans. they said they found one reasonable sized speck. I wonder if that's how they make a living? They seemed kinda poor, but said they'd been panning for 2 years. Went into Sturgis where the merchants are already setting up their tents. It's supposed to be a big year according to room bookings and such, so they are trying to get an early start.
Still planning my move. I'll have to decide this week if I want something that I really want. I have to decide about 6 vs. 12 month lease (don't need the apartment in the summer), 2 bedroom or 1, distance from work, etc. There are a couple near W. Blvd. that I'll try to see today.
A few days ago I went back to Iron Creek and sat by where the dippers had their nest in the spring. I didn't see or hear them, so packed up. Near the parking spot a lady was sitting on a rock with a notebook. I told her no dippers, and she said somebody had just discovered some rare nightingale was there, and it was the only sighting in the US of this bird. I didn't think much of it, though now I wish I'd tried to get a photo of the bird. 2 days later there was a big article in the Journal about the bird and that people had already come from Indiana and eslewhere to try to see it.
Went to Spearfish and did laundry. I had to hand in some bus paperwork there. Called around about apartments but nobody called me back, so I'll have to make more calls tomorrow.
Colette and I went to the poor farm today and got a "tour." Every room is just a big open room with 12 foot ceilings. It was dorm style and I'd guess each room could fit probably 20 people in it for sleeping. I took photos. The place was built in the 1890s and has been in continuous use since built. I went to the county and the city after looking for the ledger to see when Thomas Houlette had lived there, but nobody had any records like that.
Poor farm upstairs dorm room.
I went to the Lead library to use their wifi. It started raining huge drops before I left. After I got groceries it was really raining. On the way up Strawberry Hill there was small hail. A bit after I got home it quit raining, but those bubbly clouds were overhead for quite a while. This is the 3rd or 4th time I've seen those type clouds this summer. Usually I don't see them at all. It's still been a cool summer though the last 2 days have been about 90 or so, finally.
I signed up for the 2 bedroom on the west side. It was a 6-month lease, and not TOO much more than some of the 1 bedrooms I was looking at. I think it was the best deal.
Then I went up to the mill that was "restored" near Hill City. Basically they just fixed what was left up so it wouldn't collapse. The Gates rock crusher is still in place, and the shaft is right next to the mill, which is kind of strange. There weren't many tailings there so I suppose it didn't run much.
I went back to the silica mine to take more photos. Some came out pretty good. Actually, I think I could easily spend a whole day taking photos there. Here's a ghost pic...
And here's the mill. You go to Hill City, then go west on Deerfield Road, which I think is highway 17. 3.6 miles there's Road 389 which goes north (Burnt Fork Road). Go 1.7 miles to a fork in the road. The road going up the hill to the left goes to the mill.
Didn't do much today. It was hot out, so I wrote my will and took it up to Jeraldine's for her and John to witness it. Then I drove by Golden Crest mine on my bike and took the road downstream to the Two Bit road. I stopped and talked to two guys looking at a property they just bought. They were debating where to build a house. It started raining just then, so I looked at the clouds and figured Deadwood was better than going back via Lost Gulch. It quit raining when I got to Taco John's.
Woke up at 5am, which is not unusual. Felt something crawling on my butt so I squished it in my underpants. Took off underpants and looked. It was a black widow spider. One of the nuisances of Galena.
It rained about 2/10" this morning. I was going to mow the yard but will have to wait for the grass to dry out a bit now.
This squirrel has been eating spruce cones like crazy! He was happily munching away and I got pretty close, then suddenly he finished his cone and seemed to just notice me. He made this look then scampered up the tree.
I prop gammy's screen door open when there's activity outside, so I can snap photos. I heard something and went to the door, and here was a chipmunk just walking into the room. that's the first time I've seen him around Gammy's this year.
Was going into town, when at the top of Strawberry Hill I saw dark clouds and lightning. I took video of the clouds, hoping to get lightning but didn't. At the bottom of the hill going to Deadwood, it started raining so hard that I had to stop. I couldn't see the road stripes or anything at all. In town it looked like there had been some hail. Just past the goofy golf place it started hailing, so I pulled off and parked. It hailed pea and dime sized hail for about 15 minutes, then just rained. Charles Street and above all had water on the road. A few trees were knocked down.
The library was closed. The librarian came out and said the basement was flooded so she had to close. Taco John's had no electricity, so I went up to the Lead library. It rained there for another hour and a half.
The road to Galena had a lot of hail and fog. The cabins were splattered with dirt and leaves, so it must have really hailed for a brief time anyway. Behind the cabins were drifts of hail. Here's under the spout at Clark's:
It was dime and maybe quarter sized hail. The rain gauge showed 1.8 inches. And it cooled way down, to 50 degrees!
Deadwood had 4" of rain yesterday!
I went up to the open pit in Lead last night to see if I could get some northern lights photos. Nothing happened, so I'll try again tonight, since they don't seem to know when the lights will appear for sure. Meanwhile, I practiced taking sky shots for the first time. This is from Gammy's. The up and down streak at the top right is a satellite going by.
today I went to the Greenwood mine, or whatever it's called. It's off Nemo Road. On the east side of the road is what must have been a shaft, with a pretty big tailing pile. Below the tailing pile is a rail track that goes south a ways, and must have gone across the road somehow because the mill was on the other side. The mill was across the road and across the creek (I took off my boots and waded across). There are two mines above where the mill was that are now sealed with angle iron. There also appears to have been a shaft right next to the mill. All that's left of the mill are some concrete walls. The tunnels blow really cold air, so they must go back quite a ways.
A strange thing happened when I tried to take flash pictures through the gate of the left tunnel. Whenever I took a flash picture, I heard a thud inside the tunnel. This happened about 4 times. Weird.
There are tons of motorcycles around now. Weather is great.
Drove my bike through Lost Gulch and into Sturgis yesterday. It's incredibly busy, with hardly anyplace to park. The guess is there will be about 750,000 people! There aren't many ATVs around. Also, the robins seem to have left. Nice weather.
Yesterday I drove to Rapid, parked my car at my new apartment, and walked over to Uhaul. I drove the 10' truck to Galena and loaded up, which took a little over 2 hours. Today I drove in, parked the truck at the apartment, and went off to pick up the day laborer I had arranged for. He was a good guy who worked pretty fast, so we finished in about 45 minutes. I paid him for 2 hours though, as agreed, since I didn't figure I'd get anyone to work for just one hour.
After taking the truck back, I went to a very stupid movie called The Other Guys, in which almost every joke fell flat. Then I set up the puzzle that is my computer table, which took about an hour and a half. It's sort of counter-intuitive how the metal frame and 3-part top go together, and even though I've done it 3 times before, it's still a puzzle to me. The cable guy comes tomorrow, so I'll have high speed internet once again!!! Joy!!! The apartment seems ok so far. I've met a few of my neighbors and they seem fine. The area is reasonably quiet, so things should be fine. It's been hot today and there's no air conditioner, so that's a bit of a drag.
Cable internet installed this morning. I went to see Scott Pilgrim, a fun and inventive movie. Then at the mall they had that traveling show of dissected bodies, so I went to that. It's very informative and didn't freak me out at all that those are real bodies. It's just amazing how all those different systems - circulation, nerves, glandular stuff - all fit together tightly and perfectly to make a functioning body.
Well that's about it for the Galena Adventure this summer. I'm going up tomorrow to mow for the last time and clean up. The hiking group comes out on the 22nd to go up to Anchor Mountain. From there I plan to go up when I have time to start working on the Clark's kitchen floor. I'll pop open a hole and see what's going on down there, then figure out the best way to replace the rotted stuff.
Ok, a couple more things. Today 9 people and I hiked up to Anchor Mountain Mine from the cabins. I posted on the local meetup.com hiking site that I'd lead a hike and act as tour guide. Unfortunately, I picked the hottest day in 3 years! It probably got up to 100. I gave a quick story in the cabin, showing a sample of galena, the mining stock, and such. Then we headed out. We stopped at the Hercules mill walls, then took off again. I was going to explain more things, but people just went their own speed, which put Vials' and me at the back of the pack. At the mine I showed them the bunk house and arrastra, but nobody wanted to crash through the bushes to see other stuff except one guy. So we headed back down again at different speeds. Vials and I went over to look at some tailings, so we got down last. My ears had pressure problems as if I'd been on a plane for some reason. At the bottom everybody had waited for us, but then took off.
I went up to a mine at the cliff north of the ice cave. I had been there before but this time looked more closely. There is an obvious horizontal intrusion that's about waist level in the mine, pretty much just on the right side. Above the intrusion is the mineralized rock (looks like cooked rock, which it is). There's also some really pretty quartz here and there. This is the best example of what to look for when looking for ore that I've seen, all in one place. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much actual ore there. I think there might be a little galena, and maybe in the back there's copper. At any rate, the mine only goes back about 20 feet.
Meanwhile, there was a ditch digger and a bulldozer parked near the old tailings spot by the creek. I have no idea what they're going to be doing.
Just as a conclusion to 2010, I moved to Rapid City in August and got a job driving school bus. It's been fine. I'm living on Dakota Drive, just west of Baken Park near parks and a track. I've been looking for full-time work and trying to learn Excel, though I've been lazy at that. All in all things are going all right.