Hiking Team: Dave Miller, Rosie Miller
Date: June 25, 2022
The trail followed the cascading West Fork of Placer Creek into a green, lush forest to an old mine belying the devastation and horror that occurred here in 1910. The 4.1-mile hike with an 800-foot elevation gain was a challenge to me after the 15-mile bicycle ride earlier in the day. The high altitude and the fact we were now in the Pacific Coast Time Zone (three-hour difference than Ohio), contributed to my fatigue. Along the trail periodic historical kiosks with photos told the story of the horrible mine fire. In the summer of 1910, drought, sparks from trains and lightning set off wildfires that scorched 3 million acres of forests. When the fast-moving fire and smoke was seen, the Ranger Ed Pulaski is credited with saving the lives of all but six of his 45-man crew when he herded them into an abandoned mine tunnel and threatened to shoot anyone who attempted to leave. The town of Wallace was badly burned down and overall, 85 people perished. Rosie and I hiked past several beautiful waterfalls on the tight winding trail carrying bear our spray since bears had been spotted in the area. The trail had six vigorous uphill grades and one switchback. Three of those tough grades were in the last one-third mile so I was very tired when we finally reached the sealed-up mine. We read more historical kiosks with 1910 mine photos at the mine site. The trail and the mine are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
After the fun but draining hike, we enjoyed dinner in historic downtown Wallace at the famous Fainting Goat Restaurant where we enjoyed a veggie pizza, onion rings and French onion soup.