It rained a cold, heavy rain today. It is supposed to rain for many more days and there are few places to camp this far north. I trekked another 40 minutes north in Sacajewea to see if I could find a couple neat places to visit before heading south for the hills. By the time I had found the mine my feet and shoulders were soaked. These are excuses for why I did not travel further, as I hear the north shore of the UP of the UP is gorgeous. That being said, I’m sure it is less gorgeous when it’s pouring rain.
In any case, if you’re visiting the UP, definitely try to get up as far as Houghton and Hancock, because they are lovely college towns in the hills that overlook Portage Lake, where Lake Superior flows between the land and into the Keweenaw Bay. I had been getting a little sick of tourist traps, and there is no sign of that here. Little cafes and coffee shops dot the winding road that snakes around the hills, and the view from the top is breathtaking.
If you get a little further up the hill, you’ll come upon the ruins of the Quincy Mine, just outside of Hancock. This copper mine had operated for the better part of a century before it closed its doors in 1945. I photographed the Dry House (which is where the miners showered and dressed after work), several hoist houses (where the copper and men would be hoisted out), and several boiler houses (where the steam was generated to work the hoists).
Unlike the ruins at Fayette, this beautiful mine is a little less well-kempt, a little frayed around the edges. My favorite building was the boiler house which still had doors hanging on hinges and girders lining what used to be the roof, but had otherwise collapsed. Odds and ends of machinery still litter the ground. Taggers had gotten to it, but in my opinion that made it even more romantic.
I was unable to get the tour to visit down into the 7th level of the mine, but truth be told, the thought of going down into a deep dark hole that was already filling with water on a rainy cold day didn’t appeal to me.
Apologies for some of the blurry pictures, but there were raindrops on my lens.