Adventure: Kelsey Mine, Part I (In which we execute a near-fruitless search)

I may be addicted to adventure.  There is really nothing like tramping out into the mountains, dropping off the beaten trail, climbing up some waterfalls, and then dropping down into an abandoned mine.  I even have an adventure hat, which is mostly silly, but does do the job of swatting away bugs, and keeping the sun out of my eyes.

Every now and then I do realize that adventuring can be scary, and you can really die, but I figure I have to make stories now before I get too old and feeble to get out and do Dumb Things.

My latest Adventure was finding and exploring the Kelsey Mine.  Lost not-so-deep in the Angeles National Forest, it took a whopping three trips to find it.  The first trip was with my friends Katelyn and Rachel, on may 31, 2011.  We took a wrong turn, as you can see on this map:

As you can see, we are not even close to “kind of where we are supposed to be”

We also heard a LOT of rattles in the bushes, which caused us to hasten our return to our vehicle.

The next two attempts were done in late 2011, over Thanksgiving break.  The first one was with Sam and my brother.  We followed the road (silver fish truck trail) on that map until the sharp leftward bend, where we dropped down into what I assume is water canyon. Exploring this involved a lot of crawling up and down through brush, thorny bushes, and spiky vines.  We found a small waterfall, downstream, and a lot of little yellow and brown newt looking things.  After forcing ourselves through a hole in the brush, the upstream route eventually yielded to the floor of a very cool, damp ravine.  The ground was covered in the usual leaf decomposition and dirt detritus.  We made our way up this canyon for maybe another quarter mile, and then decided to turn back on two counts:

  • We found out there were still ticks.  I think Sam got one.
  • Sam had to be home.

Disappointed in our feeble effort to find the mine, I decided to put together another group and go at it again.  Since Sam was busy, and Hardee was not, our party consisted of my brother, Hardee, and I.  Hardee and I have been on a few adventures like this in the past, and I knew I could rely on him.  My brother thinks he knows everything, and can be more than a little cocky, but he is a good climber.  We once again set off to ANF!

This trip was far more successful, and we actually found the mine.  You can read all about how to find it here (Note: we never found the water tower described).  I will probably not post explicit instructions, or detailed topos here, because part of the fun is finding the mine, and if there were spoilers everywhere it would be no fun.  But If you want to read a trip report, with some hints in it, look out for Kelsey Mine, Part II (In which we actually find the mine).

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