Hidden Mine

It’s remarkable that largely untouched sites linger in this day and age. Usually they’re found in obscure regions most people pass over - the less sexy places, if you will. The impulse to explore the immediately interesting areas is strong but doing so can cause you to miss things in less obvious places. This is one of them.

I stumbled across it while researching and was immediately interested when I realized it didn’t show up in the usual databases. I had a fair amount of confidence the head frame was still standing. If that was the case, it was likely the entire site had remained untouched. That means it wouldn’t have been picked over by souvenir hunters and trigger happy weekend warriors. Always exciting.

The hike was about 8.5 miles round trip over fairly easy country, though there were a number of ridges to traverse. Now that I know the area, I’ve mapped out an easier route up some washes and then through the canyon the mine is located in. I had a good idea the mine site would be cool - what I didn’t anticipate was its canyon. It’s the most geologically diverse I’ve seen outside Death Valley proper. Drop dead gorgeous hues of orange and pink and yellow.

The striking thing about the site is just how tucked away it is. Because the mine is in the small canyon, it is invisible until you’re right on top of it.

There are the ruins of two buildings - one at least was a bunkhouse (three bed springs in evidence). The ground around the mine shaft is degraded and unstable but it was nice to see all the little springs and metal bits still intact on the head frame. What also makes this site unique is that there appears to be water here. There are no springs notated in the area, so perhaps a seep? Not entirely sure, but there was an inch or so of mud and some standing water and the flora around the area seem to indicate it’s not just a seasonal occurrence. 

This security glass was an interesting feature.

As I was leaving the area, completely immersed in the beauty of the canyon, a prairie falcon launched itself from a perch high above and began circling and calling no more than 40 feet above my head. I’m sure it was defending its nest but it was the perfect end to an amazing find.

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