A Wilderness Visit to the Kinzel Mine


Little Badger Creek burbles and sings as it travels east through stands of oak trees with their resplendent autumn leaves in reds, oranges and yellows.

A four-mile grin-inspiring trail stays in the valley along the creek before reaching a secluded meadow.

This is where Kinzel built his cabin. It’s difficult to imagine a nicer location on a warm summer day or a sunny afternoon in the fall. Not much is left of the cabin – – – young cedar trees dot the dirt floor.

A short hike up the trail leads to Kinzel’s old mine shaft. The amount of effort to hike many miles from the nearest road, build a cabin and bore a large mine shaft is almost incomprehensible in today’s world. I marveled at the stamina and drive of the folks like Kinzel who opened up the Northwest.

Resting with my back against a tree and the sun in my face, the spirit of the old miner was almost palpable.

I said to myself, Kinzel was a kindred spirit.

Remains of Kinzel's Cabin

Remains of Kinzel’s Cabin

A Ceanothus velutivus or sanguineus (thanks Tom)

Snowbrush (Ceanothus Velutivus)

The old Kinzel mine shaft

The old Kinzel mine shaft

Mature Pondorosa Pines with blackened scars from wildfires

Mature Pondarosa Pines with blackened scars from wildfires (Their thick bark protects them from most wildfires)

Oak leaves covering portions of the Kinzel Cabin

Oak leaves covering portions of the remains of Kinzel’s Cabin

Agoceris in bloom near the Kinzel Cabin in late October

Agoceris in bloom near the Kinzel Cabin in late October

Inside the Kinzel Cabin

Inside the Kinzel Cabin

Colorful Oak Trees lining the trail

Colorful Oak Trees lining the trail

Lichen

Lichen in geometric patterns

Blazes the miner cut in tress to find his way to the cabin and mine

Blazes the miner cut in a tree to find his way back to the cabin and mine

Thistle in bloom in late October near the Kinzel Mine

Thistle in bloom in late October near the Kinzel Mine

Entrance to the Wilderness

Entrance to the Wilderness

Categories: Oregon Cascades HikesTags: , , ,

11 comments

  1. Fantastic post however I was wanting to know if you could write a litte more on this
    subject? I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more.
    Kudos!

    Like

    • I just published a new post about a hike to the Kinzel Mine area in 2010. Hope you enjoy it.

      Like

    • I’ve worked in the area and really enjoy it, even now, from Portland and from years gone by. You’ve got to remember that when Kinzel vut that hole, transportation was on the backs of men or, a bit easier, by horse and mule. It wasn’t really any easier, horsepower just enabled them to get more done. EVERYbody worked to their limits in those days. Government wasn’t always looking for a reason to shut him down, and dynamite could be purchased at the local feed or hardware store by anybody who could reach up to the counter, lay the money down, and carry the stuff out. If course, the local supply was a fair piece away, and there were no roads, paved or otherwise. He had the dream, found the money, he took the risk, and he busted his hump making it happen. Good on yeh, Mr Kinzel!

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    Like

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