Bob, Hikin’ Bill and I set out to head to one of our favorite areas – Gable Lakes. The lakes are beautiful and seldom visited, and there is a reason for that. The trail is atrocious. The trail was originally put in by the miners, and who knows, maybe it hasn’t been maintained since. It is steep, narrow, has hair raising drop offs, and places covered with rock slides and brush. If you are willing to put up with all of that on your 3500’ foot climb, you will be treated to numerous mine structures, a diversity of trees, flowers and birds, and a lovely spot to have lunch when you reach the lakes after 4 miles.
The trail heads up to the Lakeview Mine and was created back in the 1940’s to haul ore down to the mill at the bottom of the canyon. Along the way several of the structures in the tramway that took ore down from the mines high on Mt Tom across the canyon can be seen. We always wonder at the ingenuity, strength, and fearlessness that went in to creating this tramway. Several of these structures are perched on the edge of the canyon with nothing but a steep drop off into the canyon around them.
|Looking back on the tungsten mill|
|if you zoom in you can see two of the towers|
|a tricky part on the trail|
|yes the trail is in there, somewhere|
|yellow legged frog|
If you are interested in the mining history of the area, I highly recommend Mine in the Sky The history of California’s Pine Creek Tungsten Mine and the people who were part of it by Joseph M Kurtak. A complete history with numerous photos. Unfortunately, it is out of print, so finding a copy is hard. We are fortunate our dear friend Terri saw a copy and grabbed it for us. We read it every year as we are inspired by what we see on our trek to Gable Lakes.