Don't assume that just because you've been following a track that it will continue...
JT and I headed up to the Lefthand Canyon OHV area today (you know, where there are a gajillion jeeps and people shooting). Near the top, the beaten path suckers you into a small dead end mine complex, while the road to the top of the mountain sneaks off to the right. We took a break on the main tailings pile and JT asked about the road leading directly up. I said, "Oh it ends." I should have said "it ends in about 100 feet, around those trees... the road to the top is to the right." (I got suckered up the same road last year, but without the drama.) He thought I meant that it was a dead end at the top of the mountain (another 500 or so vertical feet up).
He got his gear on before me and said "I'm heading up." I said, "Fine, I'll be along in a minute." Then he headed up the sucker road. I figured that he just wanted to explore a bit. Fine I'll wait here, turning around up there was a little sketchy last time. I didn't remember the mine shaft.
At the end of the sucker road is another small tailings pile. For some reason, folks claw their way up it, then back down. Perhaps they assume the road continues. Anyway, it's steep and loose with roots sticking out. So JT got a run at it sort of diagonally, and pulled a bit of a wheelie in the process (as he likes to do). The grade switches from steep up to vertical down within a space that's difficult to stand on. So as his line of vision revealed his doom, he initiated an emergency eject maneuver.
From below I saw him burst up the base of the slope before my line of vision was blocked by trees. Then I hear a yell, follow by JT rolling back down the pile, sans bike. "Are you OK?!" Long pause. "Yeah, I think I messed up my bike though." As with pretty much all old mines around here, the shaft had been either filled or blocked near the top. The open portion was about only about 6 feet deep. As the good friend I am, I first went for my camera... only to find dead batteries. We resorted to the cell phone camera.
With the help of a length of webbing and a bit of grunting, the bike came up without too much fuss. Amazingly, the only visible carnage was a broken mirror mount. Ironic. He busted the very same mount in a loop-out not more than 5 miles from here earlier this fall. "You know, when you order a new one, maybe you should get more than one..."