|ice forming on pond|
Helen and I set out last week to explore
some of the trails around historic Sally Barber Mine.
The mine itself can be reached by an easy 1.4 mile climb
from the parking area on French Gulch Road.
French Gulch has many mining remains from the 1800's.
The morning was very chilly.
Three layers plus gloves and hat weren't enough to keep me warm.
However, Helen remedied that by leading me up
the steep Nightmare on Baldy Trail.
Lots of climbing plus loose rocks
soon had me generating some body heat!
|Helen on mine tailings at Sally Barber|
The hike looped onto True Romance Trail, which was was much less daunting.
We explored the area around Sally Barber Mine before heading back to the car.
|old wrecks at mine|
During our 6 mile hike, gray clouds pillowed the sky.
Graupel (snow pellets that look like styrofoam) started falling.
At the end of our hike,
we made a discovery.
A single old gravesite enclosed by a weathered picket fence
was visible in the forest along French Gulch Road.
Both of us have been to Sally Barber many times, but
we have never before seen the gravesite.
A tall pine tree grows on the grave,
seeded since young Milner was laid to rest.
I imagine its roots gently cradling the skeleton of the 24 year old miner.
Alone amidst the trees, the grave's
headstone and footstone are in good condition.
They've weathered the elements for 150 years.
There isn't much information about William Milner,
though some interesting facts emerge at this ancestry site.
Apparently, he died of a "contagion" only a few months
before his parents and brother arrived by wagon from Illinois.
The lower inscription on his headstone reads:
Dearest Brother thou hast left us
Here thy loss we deeply feel
But it is God that has bereft us
He can all our sorrows heal
William Milner's is the oldest gravesite ever found in Breckenridge.
He lies alone in a spot that is still part of wilderness.