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The Ochre Trail … Ye Olde Ochre Mine

13 Oct

Changes / Gordon Lightfoot (written by Phil Ochs)

“Don’t it always seem to go   
that you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone.”
Big Yellow Taxi / Joni Mitchell / 1970

The next thing you see on Ye Olde Ochre Trail is

Ye Olde (abandoned) Ochre Mine.

Check the map …

A bit of History: 

The Ochre Mine / Kootenay National Park

“In the early 1900s, mineral claims were issued, and
extensive mining of the iron oxide deposits in the marsh below
the springs occurred for use as a pigment in paint manufacture.
The Paint Pots site was incorporated into Kootenay National Park
when it was formed in 1920 at which point
mining
activity halted.”

Mining operation was “halted in 1920”
– the miners were
kicked out of the Park. 
But it’s a sure bet though that paint companies soon found out
how to creating any colour anyway – including Ochre – 
and thus ended the demand for natural Ochre. 

At the Ochre Mine site you’ll see these 2 (almost unreadable) signs.

It shows that the Park folks once cared about this site.

That’s not apparent now.

Yesterday’s garbage is tomorrow’s treasure.

There are now worrying signs of neglect.
Apart from the poor condition of the signs 
we see much abuse of the old mining equipment 
which is just strewn about the area – open to obvious abuse.

Some already has graffiti on it. 

Soon much of this will simply be taken by people
– or destroyed.

Lost forever.

Who knows what is already missing?

Nor is there any information on how Ochre mining was done?
We can see this old equipment, but how was it used?
We don’t know.

Found some of this nearby.
I’m guessing this would have been the final mining product.
Dried Ochre.
Golden yes … 
But it does not glitter.
Once somebody’s dream?
In the palm of my hand. 
Next:
To the Paint Pots 

2 Responses to “The Ochre Trail … Ye Olde Ochre Mine”

  1. maui1 October 16, 2020 at 1:15 pm #

    This is a another great post on your trip to Banff. These are great pictures of the Ochre trail. I hope you had a very nice Thanksgiving.

    • jcalberta October 17, 2020 at 2:09 am #

      Ah Yes Quinn, we had a great Thanksgiving. We are so lucky. It’s easy to be grateful. Hope you and your family had a good one too.

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