Sunday, August 7, 2016
I call this "Melmont Round 2" because it was the second time we've attempted it! A few months back Miss Sara and I found the Fairfax Bridge, but hiked down the wrong side to a dead end! We decided that we would return a different day knowing a little more about the unmarked trail.
Melmont was a coal town circa 1900 to about 1920. It was modest, and faded when Northern Pacific switched from steam engines to electric and diesel models. After the 1920s, wood from town buildings was sold and used to create other structure in the area, and the rest was destroyed in a fire. These days all you can find left is a small dynamite storage building, The foundation to the schoolhouse, and a big wall that used to be some sort of bridge. There's also a mystery car down by the river, but we didn't find it this go-round.
This is a beautiful day hike, the weather was mild, and the trail was fairly level. We walked about 9 miles! Sure, we were the bozos that walked through some poison oak, but overall this was a wonderful day!
On our way back through Wilkeson, I decided to detour down a side road. Wilkeson is also an old old town in these parts. Known for a sandstone quarry that faced the state capital, and for the ovens to process coal from sites like Melmont. On a whim we found the quarry, and the old ovens.