Friday, December 23, 2011

Mining the Christine Marie: Moving Into The Cabin

Gene enjoying the solitude.

The cabin almost finished.
The cabin was nearly finished but I wasn’t sure I was ready to move down. Moving to my new cabin on the Christine Marie was not without a little trepidation. It would mean I would be isolated and further from any kind of assistance. Such isolation is of a little more concern to me than most people because I am an insulin dependent diabetic. I cannot be without insulin or food for very long. A severely sprained ankle or broken leg could easily be life threatening.
I packed my propane tank, stove, propane refrigerator, bedding, food, clothes, explosives, water, and other supplies in the scout until it was full and headed down the steep road. I arrived without incident, and moved into the cabin. I walked back up the road to get the loader, drove it down, and went to work.
A Christine Marie Morrisonite Specimen
Living in isolation is something relatively few people get to experience. The people who have, will say that after 3 or 4 days with no human interaction or communication a fundamental change takes place in your personality. For some people the experience is horrifying and for others it can provide a sense of confidence and peace that is hard to describe. The depth of solitude after 3 or 4 days is different than the solitude experienced in the more temporary time dictated by our busy society. Go ahead and try it. Try to find a place where you will have no contact or communication with another human for 24 hours. It is actually hard to do. The need to communicate, however, never leaves and has been portrayed well in the movies. Tom Hanks’ character in Castaway befriends a volleyball and refers to him as Wilson. Tom Hanks’ character has many conversations with Wilson. The character was marooned on an island for many months and when he tried to leave the island on a raft, he takes Wilson with him. When the volleyball falls off the raft and floats away, the loss felt by Hanks’ character is far more than that for a volleyball.
Sun setting on the canyon.
At first I was just pleased to not drive the road up to the top every day. I was close to my work and I was spending more time mining. After a while I noticed I would speak directly to my tools. If I could not find my pick I would call for it. Over time, in the absence of not being able to talk to anyone, I had numerous conversations with my rock pick and long bar about the jobs they were or weren’t doing. I encouraged them to find more jasper.
A Buzzard circling  above.
I loved sitting in front of the cabin watching the weather move through the canyon. The canyon is so big that you can see any storm or change in the weather long before it arrives. The canyon itself causes thermal winds with the sun first heating up one side of the canyon and then the other late in the day. The winds come down cold over the east slope in the morning and go up warm in the late afternoon. About 2 miles to the south about 20 buzzards live within sight of the cabin door. They live on the edge of a cliff on a rock face that turns red in the late afternoon sun. The buzzards hunt their prey in pairs, one following the other. They float on the warm rising thermal winds and seem to take pleasure in effortless flying. Sometimes they are almost motionless on the rising air as if glued to the sky. Despite all the mining problems and restrictions, I consider my time living alone in the cabin on the Christine Marie a mere 100 yards from my work site to be some of the most pleasurable of my life. 

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