Time – A Conundrum

In our world of today we are stuck in a now that moves us so fast into the future we lose sight of both the past and the present. The technology we use has sped up our daily cycle of information and the pace of our lives.

We have forgotten that mother nature is the one in charge. No matter that we are buried in social media of today, nature is busy putting things back the way she wants it.

You wonder what has made me go all philosophical on my Crow Blog. This moment of retrospect was brought about when I went back to Cougar Mountain Park and the remains of the Ford Slope Coal Mine.

For those that did not see my blog post about this historical place in Newcastle, Washington, here is a link for you to get caught up before you read my latest adventure: Newcastle Coal Mining History 

Let us start today with a picture where the Ford Slope Mine pictured above looks like now. It is just typical Northwest brush and swamp.


Looking back to Ford Slope Mine shaft entrance

Here is the mine entrance and a picture looking back to the Hoist House.  If the “big H” sign wasn’t there you would not have any clue to look for the foundation that remains.

See the “Big H”? We are going there

As I cut down a trail I ran straight into this viewpoint of the foundation of the huge Hoist machinery.  These steam-powered engines ran a huge coil of cable that pulled coal cars up out of that hole you see plugged above.

Trail edge overlooking where Hoist & Steam Plant were

Check out what it looked like right around World War I. Building 5 is the Hoist building that stood right here in front of us. Imagine the noise, smoke, bustle and energy that emitted from this little valley then. Today all I heard was the wrens and chickadees in the brambles.

Ford Slope Mine – #5 building is the Hoist

Here is what it looks like now. See the “Big H” sign? Connect that with the mineshaft opening. Barely the same place is it?

Hoist foundations – one of few things left of Mining

Imagine how this place was humming as it pulled coal up out of the mine which was 100s of feet deep.

Hoist Machinery ran a cable to pull up coal cars

I then meandered down the trail enjoying the greenery and the quiet. I was having trouble getting my head around what time had done to me. Part of me was in the valley that was scrapped clean and a beehive of activity and buildings.

Then I rounded a bend and more remnants were ahead. Right in the middle of the trail were building posts.  Take a peek at what I mean.

Sawmill foundations
Remains of sawmill that a fed the mine

The trail wound around on the edge of the swamp valley to my left. Then I found a place where the creek flowed and a little bridge was built for the trail. There I found more information signage about the area. These footings I had just seen were the remains of the company sawmill. Imagine the need for timber to shore up a mine? Or to support this good size town?

Coal Creek Company Sawmill
Sawmill info sign

There was also a good map of what the area looked like. This gave me an even better perspective of how much change this small area has experienced.

See where the Hoist House is? Now go back and compare how that looks in the photo of how it looks from the trail today. Hence my spinning head. What a conundrum of time and place!

See Hoist House and Sawmill B – that was how it looked long time ago
Valley of Ford Slope Mine – unrecognizable

I have one more thing I found to share with you. It is an old dump. Yes, mining creates a mess to be cleaned up or even maintained. That is what I had stumbled upon. Not exactly the dump since that has been sort of cleaned up and is covered in bramble. Rather the deserted gate that was used to enter it.

Gate going to nowhere
Deserted Entrance to Newcastle – Coal Creek Landfill

To my surprise only a few hundred feet away from this gate to nowhere is an elite new neighborhood. It has grown up around the Newcastle Golf Club. In the early 1990s this area was developed into a top-tier club. They had to clean up most of the landfill which was full of mine waste.

Newcastle Golf Club and homes built on Mine Landfill

Time does a big number on all things. What will our world look like in another 100 years? Will mother nature be reclaiming what we built? Will that gate still tell its story? Will the new homes be there? and lastly will the Ford Slope Coal Mine seem to outlast us all.  Gives one a perspective on the rush of life today!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.