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BigRedDog

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Strange structures at Hayes State Park
« on: October 07, 2018, 06:14:09 AM »

I know this isn't actually in Monroe County but obviously the Irish Hills are a major destination for locals from the area.

We've been visiting Wamplers Lake and Hayes State Park almost as long as we've been in the Monroe area.  We had a few days off during the middle of the week this summer so we decided to get away for a few days.  It was still AC weather so we had to go to a park with power or run the generator.  We decided we'd never camped at Hayes even though we'd been there many times.  It was middle of the week so we just drove on up one evening and got there a little after dark.  The young man at the front gate listened to me describe what we were looking for in a campsite and then proceeded to direct me to exactly what we wanted.  I rode my bike all around the park the next morning and we couldn't have done any better on our own.  We pretty much had the loop to ourselves until the weekend and we were still enjoying things enough to stay a few more days. 

I also did quite a bit of hiking.  They have a couple of trails but I soon got tired of those and decided to take off 'cross country'.  Hayes is a bit over 200 acres so it is actually mostly undeveloped.  Lots of low areas and wetlands but still plenty of good hiking.  One evening while hiking up a hill I noticed an odd silhouette at the top of the hill.  I hiked on up to the top even though my compass was telling me I needed to go more to the east to get back to the campsite. 

Unfortunately the camera managed to add some light to the photos so it didn't give the full impact of the eerie feeling I got looking up the hill.  The structure was all poured concrete and has a steel roof on it that has a small breech from vandals trying to get inside.  You can see that at some point someone has 'borrowed' a DNR picnic table and used it to attempt to 'scale' the wall of the structure.  Unfortunately it appears that table has been leaning there a long time as the boards are very rotten and definitely not safe for scaling. 

Obviously the building is not 'lost' as there is plenty of graffiti that looks pretty up to date.  I was surprised how solid the structure has remained and for being at the top of a hill it hasn't eroded around it at all.


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BigRedDog

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Re: Strange structures at Hayes State Park
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2018, 06:54:37 AM »

I wondered why anyone would build something like this on a hill and then abandon it over the years.  It was obviously 'old' but had to date poured concrete for style or construction techniques.  I finally found the 'valve' hidden under some leaves and that got me to thinking this structure had something to do with a water system of some sort.  Maybe a storage tank which would provide a gravity 'pressure' system?

Hayes was a large camp for the CCC back in the 30s.  The bulletin board on the 'beach' side of the park documents the CCC times there very well but no reference to a water system of any sort. I did inquire to a few members of the park staff but they were all seasonal workers and even though one gal had been there several summers she didn't know what it was or even where it was.  At this point I was ahead of her because I could find my way back!!!

After we were home I did some online searching and couldn't find anything and finally emailed my photos to the state historian that covers the CCC camps up at Grayling.  She didn't know what it was but sent them on to a gal that has been  involved in Michigan DNR for years and she didn't know what it was.  She sent my photos and descriptions to a gentleman that has been involved with the DNR park system for some time and he knew exactly what it was.  Yes, it was at one time park of the park water system and it was built back in the 40s so it was after the CCC era.  It has been long abandoned and he wasn't aware of the picnic table being up there.  He did tell me that there is a 2nd one on the beach side of the park although he didn't say exactly where.  That side of the park is a lot smaller and much of it is open and as far as I recall there's only one hill so it shouldn't be that had to find.  Maybe if I can get back while the leaves are off the trees it will make it fairly easy to find.



I didn't get up high enough to see what the 'chimney' looking part is but I'm guessing that was the original 'access' or a vent of some sort. 






I'll go back up there the next time we're in the area and see if anyone has retrieved the table.  It took some work to get it up there in the first place but all that's any good at this point are the tubing legs. 

The last thing I 'found' was this old valve with the hand wheel missing and the stem bent over.  The blue paint does't look that old.  I wonder if maybe someone painted that for some kind of a photo shoot of some sort?  Who knows what all may have happened up there over the years.  I'll have to do some internet searching to see if I can find some photos.



I had cleaned out around the valve so I added the pink surveyor ribbon (hey, it's the only color I had in the truck) to make it a bit more visible. 

So...

has anyone here ever 'discovered' the structure or maybe even created some of the artwork on the sides? 

What I'm really interested in is more info on when and why and how it was all built.  No sign of any tracks up the hill so not sure if they drove mixer trucks up there or mixed the concrete onsite.  Still took a lot of work to get all the materials up there and then mix it and pour it.  No preformed forms I'm guessing. 

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BigRedDog

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Re: Strange structures at Hayes State Park
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2018, 10:07:23 AM »

We got back up to Hayes last week and spent a couple of days.  Their Halloween weekend was getting started so we left on Thursday when it started getting busy. 

When I made my first hike up the hill I did notice that the picnic table had been removed.  I talked to one of the staff later and he said they had removed it and would rebuild it over the winter. 

I measured the best I could as I was heading back down the hill.  I have a 200' tape measure with a bright yellow tape so it was easy to see in the leaves.  Not easy to get a straight shot down the hill so the distance is definitely 'approximate'.  285 feet is what I came up with after making some adjustments for odd twists and turns.  There is definitely not a straight shot down the hill anywhere.  Not as many leaves so I could see better.  I definitely didn't see any hills taller anywhere around the campground side of the park.  I did find the similar structure on the 'beach' side of the park but more about that one later.

On about my 4th or 5th trip up the hill I took my short aluminum extension ladder and was able to get right up on top of the structure.  Definitely still just as solid as when it was built.  There is an access hatch to get inside with nice solid steps to climb down.  I was tempted to climb inside but will wait until I go back with my son or someone else who can get me out if something happens.  I do remember a few things from my limited 'confined space entry' training. 

Ok, some more pictures!!!

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BigRedDog

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Re: Strange structures at Hayes State Park
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2018, 10:18:48 AM »

I forgot to take a rake along but did clean around the parts of the base that weren't exposed and found these pipes.  One in and one out?  May be able to tell more once I get inside.



This appears to be an overflow and it looks like it may have been retrofitted or replaced.  You can see the 'patch' around it.
It's in the area of the 'chimney' which is also where the possible entrance is.  More pictures of that shortly.



Finally I'm up the ladder and seeing my first glimpse of the top.

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BigRedDog

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Re: Strange structures at Hayes State Park
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2018, 10:30:22 AM »

Well, it will still definitely hold up 200 pounds!

The  park ranger told me that they have tried to keep that plate in place to keep explorers out but it just keeps getting bent back down.  Pretty sure I could fab something that would keep most of them out but short of a 24 hour security system I'm sure someone would figure out how to get in.  I know I would ;D ;D ;D

Those are my gloves and notepad and 25' tape measure on top of the 'chimney'.  All I found up there was lots and lots of leaves.  I was surprised there were no signs of squirrels getting up there.  I saw several scurrying around while I was up there.  Some fox squirrels and some black squirrels. 



Lots of leaves down but still a lot hanging on the trees.



There have been more than a few 'artists' and explorers down there over the years.

You can see the inside of the overflow pipe circled in blue.

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BigRedDog

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Re: Strange structures at Hayes State Park
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2018, 10:35:49 AM »

Looking North:



Looking NorthEast.  I did remember to grab my gloves when I went back down the ladder.



Looking southeast:

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BigRedDog

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Re: Strange structures at Hayes State Park
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2018, 10:44:14 AM »

Looking SouthWest.  Not another hill in sight anywhere.  Everything from here is downhill.



I did measure while I was there but don't have my notepad with me right now.  I'll post those later. 

At this point in my 'journey' we got rained out so I retreated to the camper and watched the campfire slowly get overcome by the rain. 
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BigRedDog

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Re: Strange structures at Hayes State Park
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2018, 10:57:34 AM »

The next day we got loaded up and headed toward Lake Hudson to spend a few days there.  Before we completely left the area we headed across Hwy 124 to the 'beach' side of the park to look for the other water structure that was built about the same time according to what the park staff has told me.

If you're familiar with the beach and the playground you've stood below the water tank. 



This is the current water system for the park.  There is a 4" well just out of view to the left.  The 'old' structure I was looking for is up the hill to the right.  There are probably easier routes but this one wasn't too bad.  I went down the hill later right behind the tank and it would be a good hike going uphill.  I had the dog with me and on his leash so he kept trying to pull me down along with gravity.  He's a lot shorter and has 4 wheel drive so he definitely had an advantage.



Anyway, the trip up the hill was definitely worth it.  Completely different style and more interesting design.  The park ranger told me they refer to it as 'the tomb'!  I can see that!!!



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BigRedDog

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Re: Strange structures at Hayes State Park
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2018, 11:02:50 AM »

Obviously some of the same artists have found both places.  This looks like the overflow pipe going out.



Long and low:



I was running out of time so didn't bother checking directions. 

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BigRedDog

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Re: Strange structures at Hayes State Park
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2018, 11:07:14 AM »

A different perspective:



Does't look like they've made any effort to block the entry for this one. 



Looks like someone has had to do a minor repair at the base of the 'chimney' at some point.

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