Monday, November 30, 2015
We had two plans for the day. The first was the visit to Soudan Mine. After the mine, Ali planned for the oldest active cache in Minnesota (November 2000) and any other interesting caches we spotted on the way. The oldest cache was a walk in the woods behind someone's hunting camp. We enjoyed the view along the walk and were happy to one again spot orchids in Minnesota. Purple fringed Orchid
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Besides visiting as many Minnesota State Parks as possible on our journey, we had plans to take the Soudan Mine Tour. The iron ore mine was open from 1882 through 1962. For over 50 years, it has been operated by the state as a park offering daily tours of the mine. The video below shows the ride to the 27th level of the mine with a dozen people packed in a mine car. I think the operating mine carried eighteen minors at a time. It's not for those with claustrophobia.
Once you reach the 27th level, it's time for a ride 3/4 mile into the level to the last operating area of the mine.
The tour before us heads back into darkness.
sub-surface lab. The equipment needs to function perfectly to keep the mine safe. The remaining extraction equipment remains as it was for an amazing historical look at past technology. The engineering geek and safety professional side of me was just as entertained by the look to the past at the surface level.
One of the many shaft towers supporting elevator traffic in the mine.
Queen Mine in Bisbee. Soudan was interesting for a trip a half mile below the earth's surface, but the Bisbee mine tour was unique because it was led by a former miner who could speak first-hand to the mining conditions. The youngest a miner could be from the Soudan Mine would be 71. Since the mine had been losing employment to automation for years, it's likely there are few of the old miners still living.
Saturday, November 28, 2015
Our last major stopping point was going to be in Ely near the Boundary Waters. We planned to cache our way there with the first stop at the very scenic Temperance River State Park. this series got a pass from the reviewer. To me, besides supporting the mining agenda, they are clearly commercial based in that they are pro mining. Waters near the proposed mining lands. Insula in Ely. The restaurant had just opened in June and was listed as a fusion restaurant. We were really happy with the choice. The staff was friendly. The food was very good. We were also treated to a visit in the restaurant by a bat while dining. The staff seemed unbothered by the presence of the bat. They nabbed it with a net and quickly released it outdoors. Apparently bats in restaurants in Ely are not unusual.
Thursday, November 26, 2015
Our first stop of the day was the very attractive Cascade Falls State Park. I want to spend more time here and visit closer to the water, but there were other places to be.