Posted on October 27, 2016
When a friend of mine, Kat, first mentioned that she had heard that the new harbor town she'd moved to had some sort of 'mine system' underneath it, I pretty much ignored her. In my head, I pictured a narrow bore hole supported by decaying wooden beams keen on collapse with the slightest motivation. If a cave-in wouldn't get us, I was sure that our lack of canaries would catch up to us somehow. The truth is, I've long had Huck-Finn style fantasies of exploring an abandoned mine; a real Goonies type of scenario, you know? I was first introduced to the surreal underworld that exists beneath our feet when I started caving a few years ago. Immediately, I had sprung the desire to bring other types of athletic pursuits underground and started gathering beta on cave systems that might perhaps have waterfalls runnable by kayak. This fascination of course transcended to my first love, the bicycle, but the sheer ecological impact a bike had the potential to dish out in a delicate cave environment kept me away from pursuing that idea much further than the incredible images I had conjured up in my head.
After months of putting Kat off, the stars finally aligned. I gave in and we agreed to meet up and take a peek around the area she had heard where the mine entrance might be. About five minutes after we finally found a solid entrance, we came right back out of it. We were going directly to the store. This place was huge, much larger than the 5 foot wide passage that I had imagined and lazily prepared for. If we wanted to see anything past our outstretched hands, we would need some fresh batteries in our headlamps.
I came back to the mine every weekend for the next month or so after that. Bringing new people and getting them psyched on the creative potential down there. Huge sunken rooms begged to be wake-skated, over hanging columns of rock with continuous jug lines begged to be bolted for sport climbing, ledge after ledge that just wanted to be hucked... best of all, because the mine was man made, it was free to shred without the ethical concerns associated with natural caves.