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Author Topic: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine  (Read 20207 times)

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Offline fred in montana

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Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« on: December 28, 2014, 08:53:56 am »
Thought I would share an adventure.

This past summer I bought a 20 acre patented mining claim in a remote part of Montana. It is totally surrounded by Federal Lands. There is no road or trail to the property. In fact it was so remote, the listing agent had not even gotten in to take photos. It was advertised using only maps and aerial photos for the pictures. The owner was from PA and had never been on the property! His great grandfather (or maybe grandfather?) had patented the claim in 1926. Anyway, on sort of a whim I made an offer on the property sight unseen. The realtor called me back after about 30 minutes and said the seller had accepted it. I couldn't wait to hike in and see just what I was buying. I hoped it had a spring on it because with no road, it would be much less usable if I had to always bring water in.

The following Saturday I hauled the atv to the National Forest, unloaded and drove way down a Forest Service Road. From there, I hit a trail that would get me to within a mile of the claim.

At one point I had to stop to let a family of grouse cross the trail.



I made it up to this old mine site where an old cabin stood. From here, I would have to hike up the mountain.

 

 

As I got closer to the property, I could hear the sound of running water. I was very happy to see a small stream at least near the property and I hoped it also crossed the property.

 

 

Eventually I made it to the source of the water-a large boulder field. There were no visible markings or fences to tell me when I had crossed the property line but I had entered in approximate GPS coordinates and soon I located the mine dump and tunnel site. The source of the water was located on the property and not far from the mine
 

 

There were quite a few mine relics laying around. Here is what is left of an old mine cart. I will show more of the things I found in a later post.

 

 

Here is the old tunnel, now collapsed. The old timers had at least 1500 feet of tunnel in the mountain according to the plat from the 1926 patent survey. I wonder how much silver they took out?


 



I won't be mining but I did want a getaway cabin so as I explored around, I looked for sites where I could build it. The timber is fairly thick- a lot of beetle killed lodgepole and some big spruce trees. The lodgepole are perfect for cabin building, and already dry.

  

 



I will have to continue this post later but I did get a good start on the cabin before winter hit. Right now there is about 3 feet of snow in there so I won't get back in until June.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2014, 09:22:44 am »
This is exciting and the beginning of an adventure for sure!  It will be interesting to follow your progress.
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Online barbender

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2014, 09:45:10 am »
Good to hear from you, Fred!  That is an awesome find 8)
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Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2014, 09:51:40 am »
What a great adventure ! Thanks for taking pictures and showing us  8)

How far did you have to hike ?
I can no way picture an ATV on Federal land around here  :o Is there a Right of Way ?
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Offline pine

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2014, 09:56:30 am »
Sounds like a start to a fantastic adventure for years to come.

Offline fred in montana

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2014, 10:02:06 am »
So, on my next trip to the land I explored some nearby mines. There was one that had a lot of old equipment still around. They must have had a big operation there at one time. I think the mine shut down around 1900.

 

  

  

 
 

 
I hiked back to my land.
 

  

 

I looked closer at an old cabin or tent site that was near the spring. The ground was leveled off and there were remains of an old wood stove, stove pipe, some sheet metal, an old ore bucket and some other stuff. Interesting that there were no logs. Maybe a cabin was here that burned down at one time?

 

 
 

 
This would be the spot to build on. Nice and flat already and easy access to water. Lots of dead standing lodgepole nearby.

I have a woodmizer sawmill but I won't be packing it in here on my back. I will have to build the cabin with limited tools and materials brought in and use mostly materials from on site.

I cut 4 logs and arranged them on the old site. I am using granite rocks for foundation stones. There will be 9 stone piers altogether. The cabin logs are 12 1/2 feet long. An longer would be too hard to manage by myself.

 

 

To be continued...
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Offline goose63

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2014, 10:13:51 am »
What a deal you have there thanks for sharing. I would love to find some thing like that :new_year:
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Offline fred in montana

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2014, 11:07:07 am »
Quote
How far did you have to hike ?
I can no way picture an ATV on Federal land around here  :o Is there a Right of Way ?

I was able to drive the pickup down a designated forest service road to within about 1.5 miles of the claim. From there I drove the ATV on a forest service trail to a point that is about 1/2 mile from the claim. I hiked that last 1/2 mile.

There is no right of way to drive in to the land- which is one reason I could afford to buy it!

That is ok though because I like that it is somewhat difficult to get to.
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Online MT logger

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2014, 11:29:09 am »
Fred I live outside Helena Is that in the Bullion Parks area of Rimini?

Offline Jeff

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2014, 11:33:43 am »
This is great!
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Offline Buck

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2014, 11:44:29 am »
I too will be following this story. Thanks for sharing Fred.
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Offline woodworker9

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2014, 12:03:00 pm »
What an awesome adventure and plot of land.  You must be grinning ear to ear.  I'm happy for you, and just a little bit envious.  8) 8) 8)
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Offline RynSmith

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2014, 12:03:23 pm »
This is very cool!  Thank you for sharing.  :)

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2014, 12:13:05 pm »
Looks like an adventure!  Is the terrain too tough to cut a trail the last half mile for the ATV to drag your WM in?
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Offline beenthere

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2014, 12:47:45 pm »
Great find, and venture.

Is this claim like gold claims, where I heard that the claim has to be worked every so often to maintain it? Met a fella once that had a gold claim in Idaho, and he had to go in to mine it once in a while to keep his claim.  Just wondering.

Time to get a pack mule to help out with the build.

Will the Feds maintain the boundary markers? Or just up to you to pick your own borders?

A Peterson or Lucas might be "packable" to your site. But then maybe not as much fun as without. ;)
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #15 on: December 28, 2014, 12:53:28 pm »
Thanks for the great pictures. What an adventure.
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Offline NWP

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #16 on: December 28, 2014, 12:58:14 pm »
That's really cool.
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Offline Troy Schon

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #17 on: December 28, 2014, 01:01:30 pm »
This is cool!

Offline ljohnsaw

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #18 on: December 28, 2014, 01:46:03 pm »
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I would have the water tested.  Out here, all the abandoned mines are causing a problem.  Somehow, they produce acidic levels, leaching out some of the nasties out of the soil.  The water tends to kill off aquatic life.
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Offline fred in montana

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Re: Remote Wilderness Cabin at an Old Mine
« Reply #19 on: December 28, 2014, 04:27:51 pm »
Quote
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I would have the water tested.  Out here, all the abandoned mines are causing a problem.  Somehow, they produce acidic levels, leaching out some of the nasties out of the soil.  The water tends to kill off aquatic life.

You make a good point. There is a lot of contaminated mine water in this area. I plan to get a sample tested this year. This is a natural spring and above the mine adits so I am pretty sure it will test good.

Quote
Is this claim like gold claims, where I heard that the claim has to be worked every so often to maintain it? Met a fella once that had a gold claim in Idaho, and he had to go in to mine it once in a while to keep his claim.  Just wondering.

Time to get a pack mule to help out with the build.

Will the Feds maintain the boundary markers? Or just up to you to pick your own borders?

This is a patented claim which means that I have surface rights to it. No need to work it to maintain the rights. If it were unpatented then I would have to work it. I would not be able to build a recreational cabin on it either if were unpatented.

I doubt if they will maintain the markers but I have a good idea where the boundaries are. I have located two of four corners.

I just sold my pack horse last year!

Quote
Looks like an adventure!  Is the terrain too tough to cut a trail the last half mile for the ATV to drag your WM in?

I can't legally drive off of the established trails so I will be having to do it the hard way!

Quote
Fred I live outside Helena Is that in the Bullion Parks area of Rimini?
I am wanting to keep the location private. I am sure you understand!

When I was digging the holes for the rock piers, I started finding some cool stuff. I hit metal in one hole so I reached in and pulled out a miner's pick head. I heard it scrape metal as it was coming out so I reached in and pulled out a long crosscut saw blade! Most fun I ever had digging holes let me tell you!

 

 

In another I uncovered a large wash tub. It was all rusted out except for the rim but inside was all of their chinaware. Plates, cups, bowls, butter dish, some knives, spoons and a fork. Most of the china was broken from years of freezing and thawing. Two cups and a plate survived. I use one for a coffee cup. Pretty neat to imagine the exhausted miners sitting down to eat. Food and drink is never better than when you are wet, cold and tired out.

 

 
 

 

I eventually got some work done on the cabin..

 

  


 
 

 

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