Look forward to several more posts about this weekend’s adventure! I took the RV out for it’s maiden voyage and went down to visit Elizabeth at school this past weekend. We decided that it would be an outdoor weekend, and planned to get some biking and geocaching in. I had seen the geocache GCPBY6 Snoopy’s Mine Blowing Experience while looking through the listings for some of the caches in the area and decided I had to go see this one.
So, Elizabeth and I decided to do this one on Saturday. Boy, I’m glad we did. The geocache is just inside an abandoned mine near Dayton TN in an area that I’ve seen referred to as the Bowater Pocket Wilderness and the Laurel-Snow Pocket Wilderness. Tennessee DNR calls it the Laurel-Snow Pocket Wilderness. Locals tell me that it “used” to be called Bowater… In any case, you can find the DNR site on the place here.
What we found when we arrived was nothing short of amazing. I’ll have some other posts on the Wilderness and other geocaches here shortly. As for this one though, we had the opportunity to meet one of the locals who was busy picking up some trash. I think his name was Arthur. He told us all about the history of the area and in particular of the mine that the geocache was in. It’s called the Richland Mine and back in the early 1900s there was an explosion and collapse at the mine that trapped and killed 21 miners. He tells me that his grandfather was one of the men working in the mine, although he wasn’t one of the ones killed. Apparently, a number of the bodies of the miners were not recovered and are still entombed in the mine. Others who were recovered and some that died later of injuries sustained are apparently buried in wilderness near the mine. Arthur tells me he has looked for evidence of those graves and so far has found none.
Among other things he told us, he indicated that we should use extreme caution if we choose to venture off the marked trail, especially above the mining areas. Apparently there are a number of ventilation shafts for the old mines that open up above them, and most are not covered. It would suck to fall in one!
After chatting with Arthur for a while, we finally got to venture into the mine a short distance. Arthur had warned us about venturing too far into the mine, because there was a shaft back in there that dropped an unknown distance. That wasn’t an issue for us though (not that we would have anyway) because the mine was flooded and we couldn’t get much further than about 20ft in without getting into the water. We ended up not finding the geocache because of the water. I would have waded a bit, but I couldn’t be sure about the depth and didn’t want to do anything foolish. We got a bunch of pictures too:[Not a valid template]