On Saturday Jeff and I drove the goldfield roads for hours exploring, and then we went on an ATV ride with our friends for over 7 hours yesterday visiting even more old sites and trails.

We live in an historical area, ripe with abandoned gold mines and cabins. We visited several sites this weekend that seemingly haven’t been touched in 40 years. Others likely twice as long. There were once thousands of people living out on the creeks mining for gold. Now there are far fewer, mostly family operations, some small, a few with maybe upwards of 30 employees.

Now a quick word first, about our exploring. Just about all of the land around here is crown land, so we weren’t trespassing. We enter old cabins only if they are open and unlocked. Some don’t even have a roof or a door anymore. We don’t take anything or cause damage. We make sure the that if there is a door, we close it when we leave, leaving everything more intact that when we arrived.

This site had a collection of old YCGC (Yukon Consolidated Gold Corporation) cabins. The fir floor is a dead giveaway, since we live in a YCGC house and also have the fir floor in our living room. The company had work camps on most of the creeks where their dredges were operating, and afterwards people took the buildings and moved them to their own mine work camps.

There are always tools lying around, usually some old cars, a trucks, often old dozer parts, maybe a sluice run.

Where they probably weighed up their gold at the end of the day.

This other camp had an old YCGC bunkhouse, clearly moved here at some point, but not seemingly used for many years.

Looks like they had a food cache here in the bank maybe?

This camp looks like it was abandoned 40 years ago maybe. Very active with porcupines, squirrels, and bunnies though.

I always wonder if people always thought they were coming back when we see camps like this? Or if they purposely left everything behind? In recent years, more environmental protection laws were put in place that prevents this from happening going forward. On one hand, it is a shame that such a mess of metal and scraps are left behind. On the other hand, it is all fascinating to explore!

Everything was wired up once for electricity at this camp, from a generator on site probably. Even the outhouse was wired with an electric lightbulb!

One of our mining roads had a forest fire run along it last summer. Now, there are artifacts exposed! Garbage mostly. Piles and piles of old cans, now exposed with the vegetation burned off. Dump piles from old cabins and camps that are long gone. Many big rectangle fuel cans and other food cans.

Not sure what this one says as the printing was backwards for some reason.

Many of the cans had a hole punched in the middle of the lid. Others were crudely open around the edge. Some you could see a lighter shade of metal coming out of the seals. If we were guessing, we’d say that was lead from the old can seals that was heated in the forest fire.

This one was clearly an Eagle Brand condensed milk can. Lots of these in the pile we explored.

We found this old cabin protected by a newer roof along an old trail we ran with our quads. Someone said they believe it was an old post office.

The walls inside this room were lined with cardboard labelled with the Northern Commercial Co.

We got really muddy on the quads. It was my first time hitting some serious mud. I got stuck a few times and only once did I need Jeff’s help to get unstuck and not go off the edge of the embankment. Another time I hit something and thought I was going to fly right over my handlebars.

Overall, I drive slower than everyone when we’re on the wide open roads. I guess I just don’t have the testosterone or sense of invulnerability. Although I saw 77km/hr on my quad once yesterday, I prefer staying below 65. Below 50 is even nicer.

There are old cabins everywhere once you start exploring!

Look at this old wagon!

This old mine site had a couple sets of small airplane tires, then we saw this huge set which are from a much large aircraft! Fascinating! I wonder what they are doing in the woods? Which likely wasn’t treed when they gold mined here. Maybe there was a runway in this valley? Maybe someone just thought they could use the tires for something?

Awesome old truck!

By the end of yesterday, after going close to 200 km on our quads, I was a broken old timer. I had to soak in the tub and skipped Hank’s walk with Jeff. Feeling better today, just sore muscles!

While I’m sitting here, I heard what sounded like a horse run by on our wet gravel street (it’s drizzling this morning). Hank went a bit squirrelly. Then a neighbour called me and said it was a big moose! Ran right down our street and turned up the next street!