I recently learned of a second, little-known mine on Dutch Mountain. With some general directions, I set out to find it. I parked at the parking lot of the popular mine and followed a series of trails and old logging roads as they passed spruce and hemlock forests, and small streams. The trail took me into a deep spruce forest and ended right at the “Lost Mine”. Nestled under a cliff and free of a graffiti, the lost mine almost appeared to be a natural cave. Moss covered ledges and boulders surrounded the mine. There were some old, heavy metal remnants of the mining operations, covered in rust. A small spring dribbled out of the entrance. The entrance was a little smaller than the popular mine, but it looked like you could walk back into it, although I did not. I could see ice formations reflecting the daylight from deep within.
Finding the lost mine was so easy, I decided to do more exploring. I followed the escarpment of rocks and ledges to the east, passing a small six foot waterfall and some cool ice flows. I knew there were some ledges to the east, but I was not expecting much. Moss covered the forest floor as spruce rose above me. But there was something strange, my compasses would not work properly at the mine- north pointed east, west, and south. Mysterious. Even as I walked away from the mine, my compasses still went haywire. Were there minerals or metals in the rocks that manipulated the compass?
I reached some incredible bedrock chasms, mazes, passageways, and caves. Springs dripped from everywhere over the white, pebbly conglomerate rock. Moss adorned the rocks as ice draped over them. I headed north along the escarpment to see more unique rock features, as webs of roots spread over the ledges, looking for a place to hold.
This hike was becoming much nicer than I was expecting as I passed another bedrock chasm. I pushed further, to see a deep opening where a massive boulder separated from the cliff. Below I couldn’t believe my eyes, deep caves and passageways between the 40 foot high boulders. These boulders created rock houses and shelters. It was stunning. I explored the different passageways and crevices as the monstrous boulders loomed above me. I wasn’t brave enough to go into the dark cave itself. I called this primeval place The Caves. I sat there, amazed by the scenery. It was like a lost world, isolated, pristine. Miles from anywhere. A light snow began to fall. I pushed further to see more rock outcrops, I then turned around. I came upon a long, 10 foot deep chasm, carpeted with deep, green moss and sinewy roots. Blocks of bedrock were slowly separating, creating all these chasms, crevices, and caves. My compasses still did not work properly, the place still felt mysterious, but not malevolent. Regardless, I thought it was time to leave.
I left The Caves and bushwhacked south to Red Brook, passing old growth hemlocks towering through the forest. I dropped down to Red Brook and hiked up along it, with its many rapids and cascades. I then reached the second falls on Red Brook and its impressive grotto of rock with many glacial blue ice columns. This is such a beautiful place. I took a few photos and hiked upstream until I reached my original route and retraced my steps. My compass returned to normal.
The diversity and scenery of SGL 57 continues to impress me. I thought I had seen most of what it had to offer, and I guess I was wrong. This hike was exceptional. In order to protect the Lost Mine and The Caves from graffiti, I will not publicize the GPS coordinates. I may share them privately. Generally speaking, these places are on the plateau between Red Brook and Stony Brook, and no official trails reach them.