Our weekend motto

Our weekend motto

This blog is Part II of our weekend attempt to Climb Silver Mountain.  For Part I, please click yesterday’s post. To summarize:  we did not Climb Every Mountain yesterday.  We searched high and low and followed every rainbow but did not reach Silver Mountain. Instead we were sidetracked into a delicious dinner at the Hardwood Steakhouse. 

 This morning our conversation went like this:

 Barry:  Let’s go back and climb Silver Mountain.

 Kathy:  No, I don’t want to drive all the way back there.

 Barry:  OK, let’s not go.

 Kathy:  Wait a minute, maybe we should go.

 Barry (a few hours later):  No, it looks like it’s going to rain.  Let’s not go.

 Kathy:  OK.

 Barry:  It looks like it’s not going to rain now.  Let’s go.

 Kathy:  Arhggghghghghghghghghgh!!!!! 

Prickett Dam

Prickett Dam

This time we drove directly there.  We did not drive through convoluted backwoods roads.  We were civilized.  We took the paved highway and followed the nicely marked signs.  There was no question of getting lost.  We knew where we were 99.9% of the afternoon. 

Kids, I’m showing you the picture of Prickett Dam.  Can you believe how low the lake is?  Remember when we camped there?  When all four of us crowded in that tiny rowboat along with our tents and sleeping bags and food and fishing poles and camped there for a weekend?  Didn’t we have fun?  Wasn’t it a lifetime ago?

 Excuse me, all the rest of you.  Needed to break for a Nostalgia Moment.  Prickett Dam was built ‘way back in the 1930’s…the construction of the power dam resulted in the death of hundreds upon hundreds of trees as the river was damned.  One can still see the stumps sticking out of the lake even when the water level is high; this year the stumps themselves rise out of the lake like giant wooden beasts with octopus-like wooden legs stretching out in every direction. They are repairing the dam; the water level will magically rise again to cover up the stump-creatures come spring.

Silver Mountain mine entrance

Silver Mountain mine entrance

 

The famous Silver Mountain steps

The famous Silver Mountain steps

After our view of the low water levels of Prickett Dam Lake, we proceeded easily to Silver Mountain. What were we fussing about yesterday?  So easy to drive there.  How could anyone get lost?  Several other vehicles parked along the base.  Darn, we didnt have the mountain to ourselves.  (We are so spoiled way up north.  It can be so isolated that you hardly cross the path of other folks in the backcountry.  How many other places in the country can you sometimes have a whole mountain–albeit a Michigan mountain–to yourself?)  

Our first peering:  at the closed-off mine shaft built into the side of the mountain.  Back in 1847 miners built a shaft 150 feet into the mountain looking for silver.  A sign says the miners were probably drawn to the area by rumors that the Chippewa had discovered silver particles along the riverbanks.  The Chippewa, however, believed that Silver Mountain was haunted, or at least bad luck.  This may have been well-founded (according to the sign) because the mine was abandoned by the fall of 1847 and no precious metals were ever found there. 

 

The Exquisite View

The Exquisite View

Up the steps we climbed.  Heart pumping faster with each set of steps.  Keep your eyes on the steps, keep your feet square on them.  Hold on to the rail.  In between the steps your feet pound upon the earth.  It almost sounds hollow, like a drum.  The mountain isn’t really a solid mountain…it’s a mine.  And keep your eye open for ghosts!

A giant stone cracked in two

A giant stone cracked in two

 After surveying the vista from the top of the mountain we descended the stairs.  An odd synchronicity met us at the bottom.  First I need to back up to yesterday.  When we were approaching the restaurant last night I said to Barry, “Wouldn’t it be fun to meet Karen and her husband at the restaurant?  I know they live out here.”

 Of course we didn’t see them at the restaurant.  I haven’t even glimpsed Karen since last June or July, when we abandoned our Artist Way gatherings.

 As we descended the last of the steps down Silver Mountain today, guess who drove up in their truck and came walking toward us?  Karen and her husband! 

 I love when this happens!  🙂

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