Posts Tagged ‘Mine’

It’s a long way down to the canyon floor below as the Land Rover hugs the mountain wall on one side, and a steep ledge on the other. The growl of the V8 is a little more pronounced in low range as you climb the rocky trail towards the summit. There is a storm rolling in and you can’t help but want to get off the side of this mountain before it rains and makes forward progress more difficult and dangerous. Looking down the side of the mountain to the left you see large pine trees, but up ahead the trail becomes measurably steeper. You wonder to yourself if it’s the end of the line as the path narrows and your hood is pointed up toward a wall of trees. But you notice that it’s a switchback, a very tight switchback cut into the face of the mountain turning to the left. It takes a moment to decide how to cut the turn properly to avoid having to back up and at the same time negotiate the washed out section of trail at the apex of the turn. You engage the DiffLock…

You make it through the switchback as the trail narrows further and climbs higher. The view of the mountain valley is breathtaking as you begin to enter a layer of low level clouds hugging the mountain near the top. A very loud crack of thunder follows the bolt of lightning as the air cools and it starts to sprinkle rain; you’re pulse rises and that feeling of having run out of time sets in. The windshield wipers flick back and forth as you negotiate a particular rocky section on your approach to the next switchback turn to the right. You wonder what this trail could possibly have been used for, what purpose it must have served.

It’s really pouring down rain and it starts to course down the rocks and ruts in the trail. The wet mud terrain tires are breaking their grip on the rocks on the steep climb and it’s time to engage one of the lockers. You decide on the rear first, because you know that if you engage the front it will be too difficult to steer should there be another switchback. You pick a line closest to the mountain wall and as far away from the steep drop on the right side of the rover; your blind side. The front end is pointed very steeply upward as the hood obscures your view to the trail ahead; all you know is what you remembered earlier of some very large rocks coming up. The truck is pointed so far up in front that it’s impossible for you to lean out to see; all you can do is negotiate the rocks from memory. The right front tire engages the first rock lifting the front end even higher as you try and figure out how close to the edge you are. The axles are crossed and you’re glad you’ve got those lockers now. With nothing but a storm filled angry sky in view through the windshield, one tire on a rock and another in the air, you break over onto a ledge cut into the mountain.

You’re foot is shaking on the accelerator and you let go of the death grip on the steering wheel. You’re there, you know at last why this trail exists. At this moment your eyes follow two narrow gauge railroad tracks straight into a mine shaft; into the pitch black of the mountain you’re on. As the rain lets up, you jump out and make your way to the entrance; you can’t help but notice the musty ice cold air escape the opening in the mountain… you turn on your flashlight, it’s time for the adventure to begin.


Read Full Post »