The slope is steep and poorly marked, and we’re running out of patience.
“How are we going to even know what it looks like,” asks Janelle.
It’s like a moment out of an Indiana Jones movie, because just as she says it we stumble upon the enormous pit: the old remains of the Iron Mountain mine shaft.
The shaft is 30 feet deep and long, a violent gouge in the side of the slope. Water has pooled at the bottom of the pit, and even in this heat we can feel the cool air rising up from the hole giving off a slight metallic smell.
Suddenly we are aware of the landscape around us. Long abandoned piles of iron shavings litter the area. I try to imagine this mining operation, but can’t. The mountain has taken back most of its form. But the pit is there. We stand at the top for a moment looking down.
Then Janelle says, “Can we go in?”
Iron Mountain (8/12/12)
Height: 2,726 feet
Location: Route 16 to Jackson, just north of Jackson covered bridge, Green Hill Road to Iron Mountain Road to small parking area just before a farm. (Warning: Iron Mountain road is steep and rough, and may not be passable in the winter.)
Our trailhead: Iron Mountain Trail over summit and to ledges, up and back, with a side hike down to the Iron Mine ruins
Distance: 3.4 miles round trip