Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dump Diving on a Mountain

An exhaustive day for sure!  Sweating in the heat, swatting at flies and gnats, peeling the spider webs off my head, slipping down damp inclines, tripping through the thick underbrush, avoiding poison ivy, splashing through shallow creeks and putting up with the smell of garbage.  I loved my first real can hunt!!!

Old creek bed near a dump site
My wife's relatives live in the mountains of western West Virginia.  Along many of the one-lane rock and dirt roads that wind up and down the mountains are small areas where people in cars, for many years, have pulled over to throw out their garbage, creating small dumps along the roads.  And these dumps were our destination.

Small dump site
The first area was down a steep incline where a creek had cut a small valley along the side of the mountain.  The foliage was very thick and I soon wished I had brought some boots.  I also wished I had brought some gloves and a shovel to dig through the layers of trash bags and mattresses and junk that covered the ground.  I found many cans in these dumps, but most had rusted to the point it was either hard to read the labels or the cans just fell apart.  But the cans that were still inside trash bags or buried deep in a pile were still intact.  I also need to take bigger bags to collect the cans, my three Walmart bags were soon overflowing.

Old cemetery at the top of the mountain
We moved on to a second, third and even fourth dump area until we finally reached a very old cemetery at the top of the mountain.  I was the only one of the eight in our group really having fun, so we called it a day and went home for refreshments and a good cleaning.

The cans I found ranged from modern Mtn Dew and Pepsi cans to old pull top steel cans.  Several cans I found were RC Cola circa1977 and 1978 from their baseball player sets, but they were too rusted to bring home.  Some of the steel 7 Up cans I did bring home are from the 1970's.  I'll have to try to date the others when I get them cleaned up.

I took the picture below after we got home from our WV trip.  I rinsed the cans slightly to get the mud off, but I still have to try to remove dents and really clean up the cans.  In addition, I have about a dozen cans not pictured that I'm not sure I can save.  And there were a couple dozen that I just left at the dumps, they were too rusted to bring home.  And I'm sure there were many more cans there because without the proper gear/tools I wasn't digging too deep.  So next time I will be better prepared and come back with even more cans!

Some of my loot


  1. hey - great story - I like going out and finding things like this as you accept donations to your collection - I have a lot of doubles floating around - drop me a line (
    keep up the good work..

  2. For anyone else reading, I do accept can donations. You can contact me at