long-lost friends and abandoned mines

It’s been a while since my last post. April and May have been filled with work, tennis, sunbathing on the dock (and adjusting to the freezing water temperatures), and the occasional day trip around Nelson. But for the May 2-4 long weekend Marcus and I visited our pals Britney and Isaiah in the Okanagan for the first big adventure of the hot months.

Brit and Isaiah have been tasked with setting up an artist’s residency in Keremeos (which happens to be exactly halfway to Vancouver) and we spent four nights with them to check out their new digs and go on some much-needed adventures.

I’ve been hungry for the familiarity of my old friends as I pass my 6-month milestone in Nelson. This trip was the perfect escape from the loneliness and home-sickness I've been feeling over the past month or so.

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We went on a day trip to Penticton, explored small lakes around Keremeos, and had a bonfire on the banks of the Similkameen River. 

On the third day, we drove to Hedley and spontaneously decided to hike to the abandoned mine that towers over the once-booming gold rush town.

Mascot Mine was functional from 1936-1949 and produced 7.1 tonnes of pure gold in that time. It has been restored for tourism, but the tours haven’t been running since 2017. Today, it stands waiting for more restorations before tours can begin again. But we were all feeling a particularly keen sense for adventure and we were determined to find a way in.

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We drove up the backside of the mountain and, using the magic of Google Map’s satellite view, we hiked towards the mine through steep and patchy forest. We crossed through barbed wire fences, saw five black bears, but finally made it to the top of the mine.

500 steps down, the mine hangs on a cliff face, with the valley floor a heart-dropping one kilometer below. We poked around the old buildings, soaked up the history, and I tried to imagine what it would have been like to work and live up there. It was exciting, eerie, and fascinating. It also made me want to explore the many ghost towns and abandoned mines around BC...more on that to come?

Tracks lead to the main mine entrance.
Tracks lead to the main mine entrance.
The town of Hedley, one kilometre below.
The town of Hedley, one kilometre below.

I got back from this mini-vacation feeling reset and so grateful for my long-distance friends who stick it out through painful stretches of time until we get to see each other again.

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John Wilson's Financial Advisor
John Wilson's Financial Advisor
21 days ago

Thats pretty cool. For me it isn’t 100% yes but I would probably say yes, why not…

Allyson Woodrooffe
Allyson Woodrooffe
21 days ago

So glad you got an adventure! And love the pictures. ❤️

Peter N.
Peter N.
19 days ago

Julia, while I enjoyed this particular blog when you first posted it, I have been uncharacteristically busy since then and am only now getting around to commenting on your big adventure. And what an adventure! I almost got vertigo looking at the shots you took on the steep stairs leading up to the abandoned mine entrance. What an amazing view down to Hedley far below! Susan also commented just now how well you write. We are both glad that you finally got a bit of a break to go on a hike with your friends.

A bit off-topic, I also took the time to look through the rest of your website, as I was curious what else you had been up professionally. Your design exercises were very interesting and helped show how one puts together colours, typefaces, layouts, etc. for a client. I think my favourite was the proposal for the Toronto Island Brewery! And PIP magazine is terrific.

Keep up the good work, please!

Susan Shirriff
Susan Shirriff
18 days ago

Julia, thanks for the latest instalment of your B.C. adventure. It sounds like a wonderful few days with good friends. Great stories and fabulous photos. ❣️