Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sam Magee Trail - A Place of Deceptive Fantasies

The Blue Moon hiking group overlooking Windy Arm. The miners working here in 1906 probably had few lovely days like this to enjoy, the mountain top is always windy and often wreathed in wet, cold fog.

The trail begins by following the line of tramway towers up the mountain, about half way up it joins the old horse trail that where the miners cut trees for mining timbers and fuel. The remains of their lumber camp are still there to explore.
Halfway up there is access to a small freshet in a shady niche where cold water is welcomed by everyone in our group.

Blue Moon hikers start young and just keep on climbing.

The string of tram towers up the mountain is impressive. The shareholders looking at photos of the operation in the early 20th century must've felt they'd made a sound investment with all the fancy gear. And while the system was manufactured and installed by reputable tram companies it is clear from a close look at how the mining company cut corners. All the towers are nailed together rather than bolted and none of the towers have foundations, they are simply built right on the ground. Sometimes loose rocks have been piled up to level out the tower. The other thing that is clear is that the system was little used, there is hardly any wear marks on the equipment. Looks good though.

Andrew planking towards Whitehorse.

Paula and her dog taking a last look before the descent to the lake.


  1. That is a fabulous hike, both from a scenic and historic perspective. I do hate, though, that the name "Sam McGee" has stuck as he had nothing to do with it. The tramway was little used because by the time it was finished the Conrad Mines company realized that there was not actually any amount of ore at the Mountain Hero property that it went to! They may have cut some corners but the tramway was all intact into the 1960s, when wind swinging buckets on the line that went across the longest unsupported line in the world, snapped the line.

  2. The hike looks lovely. You'll have to thank Andrew for the planking shot. It's a pretty good one. Love, Erin

  3. Thanks for the additional info on the tramway Murray. I was amazed to see how well preserved it was, wondered what the Chilkoot would like if WP&Y hadn't knocked down the competition.