Go as deep as you dare at Adventure Mine

Vanessa Dietz/Daily Mining Gazette Tour guide Josie Ledgerwood provided a history of the mine, pointing out a number of historic photos and large pieces of copper weighing nearly a ton.

GREENLAND — A Keweenaw Heritage site, the Adventure Mining Company offers a variety of mine tours, some more challenging than others.

Tour guide Josie Ledgerwood said the copper and silver mine operated from 1850 to 1920, but tours have been offered for decades.

The current owners, Matthew and Victoria Portfleet, have expanded on the underground tour options and developed the site as an attraction, set in the natural beauty of the mountainous terrain.

With several of the 19 staff members always on hand to drive and conduct tours, the operation is flexible and readily accommodates visitors with whatever they want to do.

People are advised to wear jackets and proper footwear, if they plan to hike underground.

Vanessa Dietz/Daily Mining Gazette The Adventure Mining Company offers several underground tours of more than 100-year-old mine shafts, from the mine near Greenland.

Helmets and other gear are provided.

The wet weather conditions have settled in the damp shafts, where mining helmet lights illuminate tiny water bubbles in the foggy air, and the sloping walls of the mine, typical of stope- and pillar-mining.

The Trammer’s Tour lasts 45 minutes to one hour, but if people want a longer tour, take the Prospector’s. It lasts about an hour and 20 minutes, incorporates the Trammer’s Tour, and passes solid pieces of native copper weighing hundreds of pounds.

For the truly adventurous, the Miner’s Tour incorporates all of the Prospector’s Tour, and adds rappelling 80 feet down a mine shaft. The tour ends with a choice of passing over a swing bridge through a stope.

The longest tour is the Captain’s Tour. The five-six hour journey requires participants to carry a 10-pound backpack, and includes a pasty lunch underground.

People can also take tours arranged in advance to do a little drilling of their own.

Along with four others, Hannah Rundman drives people to the mine entrances, handling one of the heavy-duty Pinzgauers along narrow, rocky roads scaling the mountains.

While the tours cost money, and the gift shop could set you back a few, trails and picnic areas can be enjoyed by all visitors.

Portfleet said they’ve been collecting old bikes, “cobbling them together,” painting them orange and developing a fleet for people interested in riding along the seven miles of above-ground trails developed on site.

“Then it’s there on the (bike) rack for anybody to use,” Portfleet said, adding the bike provisions and a Little Free Library near the parking area operate under the honor system.

Book donations are always welcome. Portfleet said he also hopes to increase the bike fleet, and welcomes anyone wishing to donate an old bike to the company.

Once a year, cyclists get a chance to race on these trails, along with covering a short, challenging underground stretch.

Since 2009, an annual bike race called Miner’s Revenge has provided a popular challenge for cyclists, many of whom return each year. This year, the event will be July 15.

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