Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Black hills and back
We drove out to Black hills yesturday. My first time out there. I love to travel and see our country that is around us, and to see the history an wildlife.
We saw 3 bears,2 moose, 3 porcupines, 1 black wolf, cranes, geese, ducks, muskrats, beavers and many smaller birds.
We left home at about 5:20 pm and got out there at 8:30ish. We had to go out, because my father inlaws truck blew the transmition, this year he is hoping to make a go at gold mining. We didnt get home until about 2 in the morning, really slow drive out.
We saw alot of the old buildings, many are still along the sides of hills,creeks and the road. From the times of the gold rush in the Klondike here. I love seeing these old buildings and imagining what it was like to have walked or went in by dog sled into these parts, to leave everything you ever had behind in hopes of finding gold, only to end up for many hoping to find warmth and food, to get through to the next day, with nothing but gold holding you there.The building are old and weathered, most fallen or getting ready to fall. I love to think who was here...? What were the names of these people, how did they do, did they fair well?get rich? or die trying? Some day I will go in for pictures of these old homes and shelters, mine shafts and the memory of lost dreams...lost lives...and the gold that held them here. As I read more about the gold rush, it was harsh and not many made it out rich, if they made it out at all. I was not able to stop of pictures since we were late leaving to go in and the guys would not have been in a mood for me tromping around for pictures.
It is amazing, the roads which are made by modern day gold seekers and finders go ontop of the mountains and into the lowest creeks, it is beautiful , on top you can see for miles, in every direction, and in the valleys there is wildlife of all kinds everywhere.
And straw, I was wondering why straw was in spots along the road, and it is because the Yukon Quest runs along the roads as well, COOL!
I am not a fan of mining, I have heard alot of bad stories about mines and have seen some myself, of them ruining the land and dumping toxins in the earth. Not good. When I came up here and saw the gold miners, they are different (from what I have seen so far). The love where they are, they do their best to keep things right & clean. However, last year we went on a moose hunt and we went into a valley where the ground was upside down for miles, and miles and clear accross the valley, I thought to myself WOW an entire vally ruined for the greed of gold. As we went on it seemed to be a great valley for moose, and grayling (a northern fish). I was amazed at the amount of beavers and grayling. There were hawks, cranes,geese, and amazing amount of wildlife, and moose. I thought geesh what a waste of a perfect willife area, turned upside down, too bad.....
Then yesturday I was listing to my father in law ( who is a native of the area and has a amazing knowledge of the bush,wildlife and the area). As he talked he pointed out some really interesting stuff. The creeks, before the miners truned them up and the ground around, it was pristine, spruce (swampy sprunce) forest. No fish, not many if any beavers and not much for moose to wonder in and eat. Now the creeks are gravel, which allow for fish to spawn in , the turned earth grows willows, which feed the beavers, moose and muskrats. Grasses grow, the water birds come in and there are ponds everywhere. Although because the ground has been turned and there is verly little dirt on top, it does take a good while for regrowth in these areas. In the mean time it gives the bird a place to stop and relax on their migrations north and south. In the years to come there will be growth and many new wetlands (which is being diminished very fast). There are new ponds for beavers and moose, the open areas allow moose to be safe and spot preditors. The willows feed the rabbits, and when they are all doing well with lots of feed and water, the preditors do well. It all makes sense I guess as long as you can see past all the gravel and turned earth. The mining opens and recreates an entire new eco system, one that in turns feed the locals with fresh moose every year, puts fur on the markets which help some trappers out, creats new places for the fish to spawn, and keeps us going, Dawson is a town that is built and lives through gold and tourism.