Driving along U.S. 395, I’d often seen areas that looked like they had been blasted from the depths of the earth, the rocks melted and strewn across the barren landscape. And doesn’t that thing over there look like a cinder cone? What’s that rumbling?Read More
The Mojave Desert
The Mojave is a desert of wind, temperature extremes, Joshua Trees and solitude. When most people hear the word ‘desert,’ images of tumbleweeds, rattlesnakes and bleak desolation typically come to mind. In reality, the Mojave is anything but a wasteland. Amongst the sand and sagebrush lie many places of beauty and wonder, and of historic importance. Some are the result of time and the elements, some are the result of man and his efforts to live in the Mojave, both in recent and prehistoric times. Let’s go see what we can find.
Mining and freighting activity has been going on in this part of the Mojave since at least the 1880s and possibly earlier. Freighters traveling from the railhead at Amboy to the Dale mining district often stopped at a place known as Lyon's Well, aka Freighters Dale. It was one of the few, if not the only, reliable source of water between those two points.Read More
Search as I did, there was little to no information that I could find regarding what the building was used for, who owned it, a name, nothing. But it's pretty cool, and my guess is that at one time it held milling machinery inside, as there are plenty of mines in the nearby hills.Read More
Palmetto dates back to the 1860s, coming into existence after the discovery of a rich vein of silver ore by H.W. Bunyard, Thomas Israel and T.W. McNutt in 1866. Unfortunately, the vein played out within two months and the miners moved on to the next boom town.Read More
I like Beatty. Whenever I plan a trip to Death Valley, if I'm not camping, I'll stay overnight in Beatty. The town was named after "Old Man" Montillus Murray Beatty, a Civil War veteran who bought a ranch along the Amargosa River just north of the future townsite. Over the years, it's had its share of ups and downs, seen several railroads, had its own newspaper (the Beatty Bullfrog Miner), several fancy hotels and casinos.Read More
As I pulled into "town," I spotted the mill ruins off to the west of 267, up on the side of a long hill. A few other ruins were located on the east side of Scotty's Castle Road. I headed over to the mill ruins first, to see what I could find.Read More
In January of 1906, John Ramsey and John "One-Eye" Thompson were on their way to the newly discovered gold strike at Harrisburg. They were forced to camp overnight near Emigrant Spring due to a blinding fog, a rare occurrence in Death Valley. The next morning, the fog was gone and the two men noticed some nearby ledges that looked promising. After a quick survey of the ledges, they decided to forgo traveling to Harrisburg, as they promptly located several claims in the area. This was the beginning of the Gold Eagle Group and the beginning of the mining camp that became Skidoo.Read More
It was back in July of 1905 that Pete Aguereberry and Shorty Harris ran into each other at the Furnace Creek Ranch, and possibly due to the heat, decided to head up into the Panamints to do some prospecting. When they arrived on the open plateau now known as Harrisburg Flats, one of the men (each of course claiming discovery) saw something that attracted his eye on the north side of a low, long hill. Pulling out a pick and chipping off a sample, the material contained free gold. The two men divided up the outcroppings, with Harris taking claims on the south side of the ridge and Aguereberry staking claims on the north side. They came up with a name for the camp which was sure to boom on the site, they called it "Harrisberry."Read More
So after surviving my near death experience at Mesquite Flat (read about it HERE), I was looking for higher altitudes, cooler climate and less hiking. I was driving up Emigrant Canyon Road, on my way to the ghost town of Harrisburg and the remains of the Eureka Mine. I'd been up this road before a couple years earlier, when I visited the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns, and I remembered seeing several spots that needed further exploration the next time I was in the area. So I was in the area, and I caught sight of these two large tanks; I pulled over to investigate and I'm glad I did.Read More
Mining activity in the Clark Mountain Range dates back to the 1860s. It’s likely that prospectors found some color in this desert region, but copper would prove to be the ore to bring prosperity to the area. A man by the name of Johnny Moss is credited with discovering the Copper World mine in 1868, which he wouldn’t have known to look for if a Piute chief hadn’t given him a chunk of metallic copper.Read More
So the first thing to say about the Death Valley Mine is, it's not located in Death Valley.
A man by the name of J.L. Bright discovered the Death Valley Mine in 1906, why he chose that name is anyone's guess, as the location was some 70 miles from Death Valley.
With the prospect of gold or silver, it wasn't long before a mining camp known as Dawson sprung up nearby. Named after the directors of the Death Valley Milling and Mining Company of Denver (who had bought the property from Bright shortly after his discovery), the inhabitants of Dawson worked not only at the DVM, but at other mines in the area as well.Read More
Even with my old eyes, I can still see interesting things way off the highway, while speeding by at 70-80 mph. Such was the case on Nevada State Route 266 near Lida, Nevada. I was heading east toward I-95 when I caught a glimpse of something unusual several hundred yards south of the highway. My gold mine senses were tingling, so I turned around as soon as I could and headed back to see what I could find.Read More
Rhyolite, Nevada is one of my favorite ghost towns, so much so that when I'm even remotely in the area, I'll stop by to visit and take more pictures for my collection. There is something intangible about the place that lures visitors in from all over the world. Ghosts? Yes, there are ghosts in Rhyolite.Read More
Ruth Camp is an interesting ghosttown, located approximately 14 miles north of Trona in the Argus Mountain Range. There are a good number of fairly well-preserved buildings that I was able to poke around in, which date from the late 1930s. Most have been vandalized over the years and the contents pretty much trashed, but it was still fun checking them out.Read More
The best laid plans are often subject to the weather. I had planned on hiking the one-mile loop trail to Heart Lake in Mammoth, and also to wander around the remaining buildings of the Mammoth Consolidated Gold Mine which are right near by. It snowed the day prior to my arrival, but I was still able to make it to the Coldwater campground parking lot which also served as the trailhead to both of the places I wanted to visit. Fortunately, the old buildings from the mining camp are located quite close to the parking area, so I was able to visit those without too much difficulty. And while I did attempt the trail to the lake, the snow on the ground effectively hid the trail (and it was cold!); that hike will have to wait for another day.Read More
The town of Bullfrog, Nevada got its start soon after “Shorty” Harris discovered gold nearby in 1904. A year later Bullfrog was hopping and some 1,000 residents called the place home. The town boasted a three-story hotel, general store, bank, jail, post office, lodging house, icehouse and a number of other businesses and homes. Empty lots on main street were priced at $1,500. Gunfights were not uncommon, sometimes fatally so. The west was still wild.Read More
I’d seen pictures of the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns in Death Valley many years ago and had put them on my list of places to visit. Unfortunately, the time between adding them to my ever-growing list and then actually making the trek to see them was a good number of years. But when something turns out to be even more impressive that you thought it would, it more than makes up for the wait. And that was the case with these crazy dome things out in the wilderness of Death Valley.Read More
I imagine there are probably hundreds of unmarked graves in the Mojave Desert, the final resting places of prospectors and others who traveled across the sands in search of their golden dreams.Read More
I was driving south on I-95. My next destination was Beatty so I could get a soda and some cookies before heading to Rhyolite and Bullfrog. As it was still early in the day, I decided to head west on Nevada State Route 266 to see if I could find the old mining town of Palmetto. I didn’t make it there, however, as I got sidetracked investigating old mines and stone ruins along the way. I guess I’ll have to save Palmetto for another trip. I did make it as far west as Lida.Read More
Making it to the Lester Dale Mine complex turned out to be a bit of an excursion. The site rests on the northern slopes of the San Bernardino Mountains, overlooking an off-roaders paradise known as Johnson Valley. The dirt road in (Bessemer Mine Road), is roughly six miles of alternating hardpack, washboard, deep sand, millions or rocks and sometimes a combination of all of those at the same time.Read More