02 October 2010
The Mystery via Eagle Rock
A view from the back, taken a couple of years ago. The rock formation is called Eagle Rock. It is about five or six hundred vertical feet up an avalanche chute along the southern ridge of the valley. My daughter and I have been wanting to climb that rock for years.
We spend the better part of the mourning puzzling over our day's adventure before deciding upon Eagle Rock. Between my daughter and I, there was the joke it might just be cursed. This supposition was based on the previous two times we committed to climbing it, my daughter took ill.
This time our luck held. We took the ancient railroad grade to the avalanche chute. By virtue of finding some deer trails, the ascent did not take nearly as long as anticipated. We got to the rock formation in question, scrabbled about, and took in the views. Eagle Rock was sufficiently rocked.
However, it was what we found roughly one-hundred vertical feet below Eagle Rock the got our attention;
Dry stack. Something rather common within the mining areas of these mountains. It always gets me to think of Hadrian's Wall, which is what I call it within the walls of my skull.
We clambered back down to check out this new find. From all appearances, it looked like it might have been a wagon road. This was curious. We were at a point along the valley's southern side were the slopes were far too steep for mining. The ruins of the old alpine tramway were roughly a mile west and a few thousand feet above us. Fancying further adventure, my daughter and I started to follow it east, to see if it ended at any mine ruins.
The way it was overgrown in places, it was quite obvious we were the first bipeds on it in at least a century. Sometimes, we found where a rock slide had wiped out part of the track. Once or twice, it almost entirely disappeared, but then, either my daughter or I would spot more stack, and pick up the trail again. Eventually, the mountain did swallow this old road altogether. At that point, we started dead-reckoning our way down, knowing we'd eventually land upon the railroad grade.
And then we found;
A ruin. Either a miner's cabin, or perhaps an orifice.
There was a graded over and blasted-in hole nearby. The structure itself was marked with all sorts of warnings. I snapped the photographs, but listened to the whisper in my ghost about not going inside. The track leading away from it, as guessed, lead us back to the railroad grade. Right between another trail head and the side track to the township's water tower, in fact. I marked this side trail with piece of blue twine from my pack I keep for such occasions.
Altogether, the trek took only a couple of hours. When I told Sabina of our finds, she said she wanted to see the ruin at the very least. Warnings be damned. This could lead to another walkabout within just days, which is not unappetizing. Although, I want to take care about that ruin. At least until I know a little more about it.
That stated, there are one or two cats I could inquire with. Ones know things and tell fantastic stories of incredible places and forgotten times. Even and especially about the valley, and, more to the point, our Kashmir.