"Hedley, British Columbia" Okanagan Lake by spitball

Okanagan Lake Travel Guide: 11 reviews and 28 photos

The Mascot Gold Mine

Note: I will be adding the entire story about this historic B.C. mine in the next little while. This is just the start.

Duncan Woods was a restless prospector, a lone wolf who had wandered all through the Old West, and finally after two decades of dedicated searching he located one of the richest mineral claims in British Columbia, a discovery which eventually yielded a Midas hoard of gold.
In 1898 when Woolaston and Arundel, two inexperienced English prospectors, accidentally made the first astonishing discovery of free gold in red, rusty ore near the mile high level at the top of a steep mountain called Nickel Plate, that find electrified the mining world. Within months, hundreds of prospectors and tramp miners were streaming into the remote Similkameen Valley from all parts of the West.

And close on their heels came the mine-makers: American financiers from Spokane and the Inland Empire: English bankers from the great investment houses of London and a handful of Canadian speculators from the distant eastern provinces - all with their eyes fixed on Nickel Plate Mountain - and all envisioning another bonanza find like the Noble Five, Silver king, War Eagle, Le Roi, Centre Star or a galaxy of other renowed mines which had been found in southern British Columbia. But the mining magnates were not alone in their quest, there were others there too, focussing on the prize and equally determined to get their share. Among these hundreds of hopefuls camped along the banks of Twenty Mile Creek was the enigmatic Duncan Woods. In his forties and with few resources remaining, his options were limited. His career had been depressing. A Canadian from Ontario, he had followed the elusive rainbow of prospecting since his twenties: first to the gold fields of the American West: to South Dekota, then to Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington, but ill luck attended him every step of the way, so finally he turned toward the North Star and crossed the Canadian border into southern British Columbia.

Once again, bad fortune marched with him, first in the Okanagen district and later in the mineral rich Boundary Country. But when whispers circulated through the mining camps that massive veins carrying spectacular quantities of gold had been found in the Similkameen Valley, once again he succumbed to the old urge and decided to try his hand in the new mining district. By 1899, he was at Hedley, a ramshackle and booming mining camp tucked into a narrow canyon under the shadows of Nickel Plate Mountain. That fledgling log cabin town was crackling with excitement when he arrived. A motley and colourful crowd milled along its busy streets: paupers brushed shoulders with princes of finance, clergymen with cyprians, old hands with greenhorns, gamblers with drifters - they were all there, caught up in the unforgettable drama of the stampede.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:It's tiny, quiet and beautiful
  • Last visit to Okanagan Lake: Aug 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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“Canst Thou Not See It My Liege ?, Tis But Three Blocks North Of The Delicatessen ;)”

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