Posted by: Bonnie & Hans | September 6, 2015

“All that glitters…”

Labor Day Weekend!

With a promising forecast of temperatures in the low 60’s, we got an early start on Saturday, with the intent of biking up to Bornite, a copper mine founded in the late 1950’s located in the mountains approximately fifteen miles north of Kobuk.

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With the discovery of copper in 1957, Kennecott Resources bought up the rights. This exploration shaft, built in 1964, extends 1,075 feet below the surface. It eventually flooded causing Kennecott to look elsewhere. Thirty-some years ago, we used to travel there by dogteam or snowmachine, where we’d visit and have tea with Homer, Sr., the winter caretaker. 

In 2012, NovaCopper, in a joint venture with the NANA Corporation, explored deeper and discovered a vast and richer, high-grade ore deposit at 1,500 feet. Projections are that over 9 billion pounds of copper may be extracted from the site, so Bornite is a bustling, active, little boomtown during the summer months. The last workers wrapped it up and left this past week leaving just the winter supervisor, so there was no traffic on the road. Here’s a look at the temporary ghost town:

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The cookhouse and mess hall.

A little patchwork where the bears tried to get in...

Note the patchwork where the bears tried to get in…

...resulting in the necessity of putting down

…resulting in the necessity of putting down “bear boards” as a deterrent.

Down at the old site, they’ve done a nice job of preserving and displaying some of the old machinery. If this stuff could talk…

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Check out these ore cars...

Check out these ore cars…

from the Coeur d' Alenes Company in Wallace, Idaho. Small world.

…from the Coeur d’ Alenes Company in Wallace, Idaho.
Small world.

Hans thought this Briggs and Stratton motor looked pretty good after a fifteen mile climb. Bonnie liked the seat.

Hans thought this Briggs and Stratton motor looked pretty good after a fifteen mile climb. Bonnie liked the seat.

20150905_122626After a nice picnic lunch, we said good-bye to Bornite and started the long, lovely descent to the Kobuk Valley, with a few stops to take in the beautiful view and fall colors.

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20150905_140905 Hope this finds you without labor for the weekend and meaningful labor when it ends.

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Responses

  1. What an excellent Labor Day Weekend adventure. The fall colors are amazing. And the story of the copper mine truly interesting. Looking forward to more posts. I can learn about Alaska first hand! Hope your school year is great, now that you have already had two weeks of it. Here in Minnesota, we start after Labor Day…tomorrow is the day.

    • Have a great start to your school year! Hi to your family from us.

  2. We are enjoying your adventures very much.  In talking to your Mother, she seems a little bit confused.  Thanks,Ann & Dale Moore

  3. Super great photos Bonnie & Hans!! We were lucky to get that beautiful day for your trip to Bornite in between all the rain. Carpe diem! You certainly did!!

  4. Reminds me of the Currie Bike Hunting Trips out in the HOKO……We are enjoying watching your forays out and about. Just keep pedaling…..We had a Tote Goat similar to the one in photo Sold it during downsize.


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