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
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.
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
Take U.S. Route 95, Veterans Memorial Highway, south for a few miles from Beatty, Nevada, and look towards the east. You'll spot some colorful hills and a group of very interesting cement building ruins. I had seen a few pictures of the place a while back and decided to check it out the next time I was in the area. Well, I was in the area on Thursday, October 8 of 2015, so check it out I did.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
Aguereberry Point is flat out a contender for the most stunning view in Death Valley National Park. It’s not the highest point in the park, nor the most visited, but it is certainly worth the time to visit.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
It was October. It was around 10:00 am in the morning and I had just pulled into the main parking area for Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. It was a mild October morning, the temperature was in the mid-80s. A light breeze was blowing. A nice day for a walk in the dunes. So I packed some water, put on my hat and commenced sand walking.Read More
The "wells" were originally two shallow pits dug into the sandy floor of the valley basin. With the mining booms of Rhyolite, Nevada and Skidoo, the wells were a natural stopping point between the two camps. Stage and freight service between the two began in 1906 and by the following year, a small settlement had grown on the site. It was also the location of the first telephone office in the valley. J.R. Clark, a superintendent of construction on the Rhyolite-Skidoo road reported that Stovepipe Wells then consisted of a commissary tent, a boarding house, several additional tents, a corral and feeding stable and "accommodations in every respect for pilgrims crossing the hot sands. The spring is now inclosed and the water is consequently much improved."Read More
Dublin Gulch is located on the southern edge of Shoshone, California. I wasn't able to track down a lot of history on the place, but here are some generalities which are most likely accurate. The caves are dug into solidified volcanic ash that reportedly came from a Lava Creek eruption in Yellow Stone National Park, over 600 thousand years ago. One account claims they were dug in the early 1900s, another puts their creation during the late 1870s when a silver boom at the nearby Noonday Mines was in full swing. Regardless of when they were created, they are pretty amazing.Read More
The Mojave Cross stands atop Sunrise Rock, a granite outcropping located adjacent to Cima Road, approximately six miles north of Cima, Cal. The present cross is not the original, however and therein lies the story.
The original Mojave Cross was erected in 1934, as a memorial to those who had died in WWI. One of the founders of the memorial, and a veteran of WWI, Riley Bembry took care of the cross until his death in 1984. Shortly before he died, Bembry asked his close friend, Henry Sandoz, to watch over the memorial after he was gone. Which Sandoz and his wife have done since that time.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
You don't need a visa to go to Siberia. At least, the one in California. You will need to use some mapping skills and your imagination though, to get there.
Siberia was originally founded as a water stop and rail siding for the Sante Fe Railroad, which later also became a motorist stop for travelers along Route 66. It was located between Bagdad and Ludlow and must have had some years of minor prosperity. Cafes and tourist camps operated here during the 1930s and 1940s, but things never quite took off.Read More
The name "Yermo" is derived from the Spanish word for "Wilderness." Which seems appropriate. Out in the Mojave Desert, with the Calico Mountains to the north, the area must have seemed quite desolate when it was first settled. The town was once known as "Otis," after Gen. Harrison Gray Otis, a wealthy land and mine owner in the area. The Postal Service changed the name to Yermo in 1905, possibly due to a rift between Otis and the local miners union, legend claims.Read More
Unfortunately, the Rock-A-Hoola has been closed for many years and is entirely fenced and posted "No Trespassing." I would have loved to explore the area. If anyone ever gets in contact with the owners to set up a photography tour, I'd love to be a part of that.Read More
I drove through Desert Shores recently, mainly to take some pictures of what is left of a resort near the water's edge. I'm not sure yet if it was part of the Desert Shores Yacht Club, or maybe the Marina Mobile Estates, but the remains of whatever it was are still impressive. I'll bet it was something to see back in the day. The attraction of old, abandoned places seems to have a hold on me.Read More
The Salton Sea is actually the largest lake in California. It was created by accident in 1905 when a cut in the bank of the Colorado River resulted in an overflow that overwhelmed the canal which was supposed to contain the runoff. The river basically flowed unchecked into the historic dry lake bed of the Salton Basin for two years before repairs were completed. Oooops. Things happen.Read More