The fellow behind me in the line at the Costco photo department noticed the PA coal mining pictures I was reviewing. “Looks like quite an adventure” he said. Yes it was. This led to my explaining about ABM and what we do. I usually mention that our trips are 80% hiking to search for mines, 10% in a mine and 10% eating. Not including hours on the road. One Pennsylvania trip was particularly rememberable. Dan had spotted some interesting mine locations on a map. We met mid-morning at a Subway to plan the hikes and get a bite. Our first hike was done in reverse; we started at the top, fanned out and searched down the “hill”. It was steep and covered in dense rhododendrons which were good for holding onto so as not to tumble down. No mines were found.
We then made two hikes along a canal trail with forages up the mountainside to suspected mine locations. It was summer, mid-afternoon, hot and sunny. Many people were on the trail. We were envious of the frequent tubers coming down the river. Dan the photographer was carrying his gear which included a big light called Thor. It’s large, heavy and very conspicuous. The lens on Thor is probably 10+ inches across. So there we were walking along the canal when a passing lady says to Dan, “Why do you have that big light?” Dan didn’t pause for a moment and said “We like to photograph fish, and we don’t want shadows”. She accept the explanation and continued on her way. We never did find any mines, or see any fish. Dan has since replaced Thor with a 3500 lumen HID flashlight that hides away nicely in a pack.