Waldens Mine on Upper Kanaka Creek by Charles A Miller from The Golden Mountains
Upper Kanaka Mountain; Elevation 1735.17 feet. Taken June, 1921. Creek Falls, Blue CHAPTER 5 WALDEN'S MINE ON UPPER KANAKA CREEK The whole area from the East side of the Allouette River to the West side of Stave Lake, lying North of the Dewdney Trunk Road, to all old timers, was known as Blue Mountain. This was comprised of timber limits "W", "X", "79", "106" and "109" and on all mineral licences for claims staked in this area, were always denoted as being within the confine of such timber berths, with "X" being the most promi-nent and commonly called "Camp X". There may have been others; but two of the earliest prospectors and miners, who staked and work-ed claims on "Camp X" Blue Mountain, were the two bachelor brothers George and John Wald-en. They owned a small, well built house, out buildings and land im-mediately South of the Anglican Church on River Road, in Whon-i, nock. They had posted two staked claims on the East branch of Ka-naka creek some quarter mile be-low Kanaka Falls, which is at an elevation of 1735.70 feet above sea level, and had obtained crown grants on both claims, which were registered in their names as joint partners. To reach their claims travel was over the wagon road leading North, now known as 272nd street, thence to a trail alongside the creek and proceeding uphill through the magnificent stand of old growth timber; then on the hillside. Travel through this huge growth of trees was then much easier, than through the now jungle growth of smaller trees, because the roof of branches of the large trees had shut out most sunlight and prevented growth of all but the usual coast shrubs and bushes below. Here at the mine, on a small level area across the creek from the mine shaft a well constructed, low, small log and shake cabin; with the usual Alpine overhang projection, was built. Together with stovewood on the inner wall side and below this overhang, was a blacksmith forge; complete with small overhead bellows blow-er, an anvil and sunk in the ground, a barrel which had been cut in half and filled with Fuller's earth. Some small amount of coal had been packed in but most of the forging and tempering was done with finely broken, old growth, dry, fir bark; the drill steel and picks were heated to colour then plunged into the damp Fuller's earth to temper them. On the opposite side of the doorway, from the piled wood, was a cedar log, split in half and hewed smooth, to make a bench for the water bucket and Wash basin; with a vine maple rack above to hang and dry clothes. A short distance below the cabin a huge fir tree had fallen across the creek 18And after the top had been adzed flat, made a wonderful natural bridge to reach the mine shaft, which was started and sunk immediately across from the cabin. Here, and but a few feet from the edge of the creek a pronounced vein of quartz had been exposed and was followed and worked downward. In viewing the work area it became quite evident that it was a paying proposi-tion and enough gold was taken out for the two brothers to live comfortably, in their home at Whonnock, eked out by fruit and produce raised by themselves. A few years after the turn of the century John Walden was afflicted with a serious ulcerous mouth condition, which became so intolerably painful, that he sought advice from a New Westminster doctor, who correctly diagnosed it as malig-nant cancer with no hope of any cure. The doctor did not tell John this but told his brother George, in confidence, his findings; warned him to be his brothers keeper, what the ultimate outcome would be with its supporting, excruciating never ending, increasing pain. Told him the prescription for pain killing was a mere palliative, would lose its potency soon and become ineffective. Told him to put away or hide any guns or instruments of self-destruction, as he was quite con-vinced John would shortly try to take his own life. Such proved to be the case and much sooner than expected; in fact within a week of his visiting the doctor, and in a way that was both shocking and terrible to all concerned. It might be stated that this man- was not rational, probably a lot of people would say so, but he knew he was going to make no mistake in what he was contemplating. Presumption now takes over and it is to be assumed that upon finding the guns were gone he had to resort to some other method and it is at this point it can only be concluded he was a very sane man. Within but some fifty feet from their house was a small storage and tool shed; to this building went John, made a pillow some six inches high from old newspapers, primed one stick of 40 percent dynamite with fuse and cap, placed it upon the pillow, laid down on the floor and lit the fuse -- after placing his neck on the charge!!! My Father was building a house some two miles West of the Walden's home and so the man he was building for and himself were both called to the scene of the suicide by the brother George, to view the remains and to tell them what he thought had led to the tragic decease. Death had been instantaneous and terrible; no after reflexes had changed the position of the headless body which still lay supine, hands folded across the chest and feet crossed. So terrific had been the blast that it had loosened and even com-pletely blown some of the roof shakes off!!! As can readily be imagined, the in-terior of the small building was a nightmare shambles of blood and torn and mangled tissue of the head. This tragic loss of his brother completely changed George's interest in the mine, on Kanaka Creek, to desultory inspections of it, with little or any further work being done on this mine by him. Being a vertical shaft it was not long be-fore completely filling with surface runoff rain water. George lived for a number of year after his brother's demise and one of his first efforts, on his farm site, was to demolish the building in which his brother died and burn the rubbish. Upon George's death it became apparent there were no remaining heirs and in due course, with no further assessment work being done on the claim, the mineral license expired and the title reverted to the province. Thus it remained until the early years of the 1920s when it was restaked, to-gether with an adjacent claim, by a man named Creelman; eminently connected with the C.P.R. who renamed the two claims "Roy No. 1" and "Roy No. 2". The old trail from the Dewdney Trunk Road alongside the East branch of Kanaka Creek was now widened and slashed out. Side streams, although quite small, were bridged and wet spots puncheoned with split cedar slabs, in all making a much easier travelled way for supplies and gear.