Desert Explorers Meeting Minutes • July 16, 2016
Attending: Bob Jacoby, Debbie Miller-Marschke, Neal & Marian Johns, Terry Ogden, Ruth & Emmett Harder, Mal Roode, Sue & Bob Jaussaud, Bobbie Sanchez & Daniel Dick, Jerry Dupree, Jean & Sunny Hansen, Vicki Hill, Betty Wallin & Don Sweinhart, Ding & Allan Wicker, Nan Healy, Jay Lawrence.
Regrets: Ted Kalil out sick. Steve Marschke: “He was doing a fence project that he could have paid someone to do but he did it himself because he’s Steve.” (Deb)
Call to order: 11:52 a.m.
Previous minutes: Approved.
Treasurer’s Report: Ted Kalil was sick and asked to be relieved as Treasurer. We need a volunteer, job usually takes about 4-6 hours per month.
• Online pay for new subscriptions and renewals is only partially used. Need to remind folks this option is available.
• Neal has T-Shirt paperwork and needs someone new to take this over next time.
• DE balance roughly: $4,400 after donations to MVRM and Shoshone Museum, approx $1,400 owed to Neal for shirts & hats.
Newsletter: Everything was humming along nicely. We need more contributors. Please send your trip writeups, story ideas and photos to Jay. Remind trip leaders to make sure somebody on their trip will do a writeup. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare. Send your photos!
Website: Deb is getting caught up and trying to bring all trip reports current. Web hosting storage has been bumped up to accommodate all the archived newsletter files. Expense is now $50/year. Facebook page questions were fielded by Mal, who noted that we have had a Facebook page for the DE for several years and it is active. Encouraged all to visit and use it. It helps direct people to our website and has a live link on it. It is being underused.
Folks wanted to know how Crazy Suzy, our web tech, got her name. Unsolved... but it was moved, seconded and approved that we make her a member and send the Newsletter for free since she has helped us so much with the website.
Museum Deb was distressed to report that the Early Man site was vandalized thoroughly, all displayed materials taken as well as generators and equipment. It is being investigated by the police but the outlook for recovery and reinstatement is grim.
There is an upcoming barbecue at the museum. Museum newsletters will resume in the fall.
• California to Oregon trip just finished, report pending
• San Bernardino National Forest cancelled due to Ted’s illness
• White Mountains & Bristlecone Pines - August 5 - 7 - Leader Ron Lipari is on track and full
• Mojave Road Trip - October 22-23, 2016 - Leader Neal & Marian Johns and Nelson Miller. Terry Ogden and Jerry Dupree are going. More details in the Calendar of Upcoming Trips.
• Nelson possibly doing 2-3 one-day trips in the Mojave in the fall.
• October 24-27 Joso River Get Together
• Santa Barbara backroads trip postponed due to fire closed roads.
• Mojave Road Rendezvous October 7-9 at Goffs, California.
• Bill Powell may do a Hastings Cutoff trip through Nevada and Utah. He is researching the Pony Express route and Hastings Cutoff. Trails West has a good guidebook on this.
Trip Leadership It was discussed and agreed by all that the trip leader should always have the responsibility and authority to decide who and what vehicles can or should go on a trip they are leading. Driver experience level, appropriateness of vehicle for the trail, participant fitness and demands of the trail all figure into this decision. Moved, seconded and passed unanimously that any persons or vehicles participation in a trip is at the discretion of the leader.
2017 Rondy It was suggested and chewed over that Blythe, California be the site of our next Rendezvous. Jerry Dupree reported favorably on the facility, trails available, nearby areas of interest and welcome by the local chamber of commerce. Possible dates are early March 10-12 or late February. Neal and Marian offered to lead a trip to Dripping Springs, Bob Jacoby noted a book available on dirt road trips in the Quartzite area. Castle Dome site and the local museums in Blythe and Quartzite were mentioned. Jerry will dig further and report back.
Leader’s Checklist Neal updated the leader guide which was originally done by John Page. Bob Jacoby is editing. The final version will go on our website and be available to all subscribers.
New Business Bob Jaussaud noted that the Needles Museum was getting rid of extra copies of the Footprints publicaton by the late, great Maggie McPherson. Vicki Hill would like more folks to make things for the Rendezvous Auction and would like to see something in the newsletter promoting it. Somebody (not sure who) suggested posting an article about the newsletter on our Facebook page. Good idea! Now who will do it? Let’s see those hands!
Next Meeting August 27th at Don & Betty’s house in Yucca Valley.
Adjourned 1:02 p.m.
Thank you, Ding and Allan Wicker for hosting us in your home once again.
Photos: Allan Wicker & Jerry Dupree
Remembering East Mojave Pictographs
By Anne Stoll
I tend to think of the prehistoric rock art in the East Mojave as being mostly petroglyphs, meaning images pecked into the rock surface. Lots of those out there in the desert! But there are a number of noteworthy pictograph or painted sites out there too - I'd rather not say exactly where this one is, but I imaging many DE folk recognize the place. These shots were taken on a lovely camping weekend back in October 2010 with fellow DE-ers Vicki Hill, Dave McFarland, Carol Paquette, and Joan McGovern-White. Ever since discovering the free DStrech digital enhancement program (www.DStrech.com) we've been having lots of fun going back to desert favorites and seeing what we missed.
Trip from Oregon to Washington
Bill Powell • July 2-9, 2016
Friday morning, July 2nd, found eight intrepid explorers meeting at the Green Mountain Bakery in Lakeview, Oregon. Our intrepid explorers included Neal and Marian Johns, Bill and Julie Smith, James and Heather Ray, Jim Watson, and your humble host Bill Powell. After breakfast, introductions and the obligatory paperwork, we convoyed the 20 miles South on Highway 395 to the California border and the official start of our trans-Oregon adventure. Following County Road 2, we quickly found the end of pavement and began a long ascent up to a 7600 foot pass into Oregon.
Once in Oregon, we proceeded generally North at high altitude surrounded by peaks with still a bit of snow near the summits. Then we gradually looped back toward the West and made our way back to Lakeview for lunch. We left Lakeview again at 12:30 p.m. and proceeded over paved roads in a Northwesterly direction until we were well into the Fremont National Forest, where we shifted back onto the dirt. Around 3:30 p.m., we tried following the official route up a marginal track between two well maintained Forest Service roads, but had to turn back when the track petered out. Fortunately, we found a detour and were quickly back on our prescribed route.
(click Read more for the rest of the story and photos)
On Walkabout at Sedona and Camp Verde
Trip Report and Photos by Mignon Slentz
My friend, Jenny Jahraus recently hosted several of us to a camping trip in the Sedona / Camp Verde area in Arizona. The trip included Bob and Sue Jaussaud, Ron Lipari, Ken Sears, and myself along with Jenny.
As always, when Bob is along, we took Route 66 through Hackberry and Seligman. We stopped to look at an old schoolhouse on the side of the road when a tribal policeman drove in to confront us, saying that we were trespassing on Reservation land. He agreed not to cite us so we hurried away. Later, a look at the map convinced us we had not been on tribal land.
Our first night, we camped on the East side of 89 A about halfway between Flagstaff and Sedona. Temperatures were in the 20s overnight and Ron, in his tent suffered the most. The next morning we drove 5 miles to Call of the Canyon parking lot to wait for Jenny.
The 7 mile round trip hike that begins there follows the West Fork of Oak Creek and is one of the more popular hikes in the Sedona area. At the beginning of the hike, we passed orchards and the brick ruins and outbuildings of a once popular lodge.
(click Read More for rest of story and photos)
Tejon Hills Flower Fest
By Bob Jacoby • March 25, 2016
Photos by Mal Roode
They say that one picture is worth a thousand words and that is definitely the case with wildflowers in the spring. That is why this trip report will be relatively short so that you can spend your time looking at the pictures of the incredible wildflowers on display on March 25th in the Antelope Valley portion of the Tejon Ranch.
Our group of 14 Desert Explorers met at the 300th St entrance to the Tejon Ranch complex. This is in the heart of the Antelope Valley. Among the attendees were myself, Nan
Healey, Leonard and Rebecca Friedman, Bob and Sue Jaussaud, Peter Austin , Danny and Norma Siler, Gerry and Dolly Dupree, Sally Kinsey and Rob Day, and the ubiquitous Mal Roode. There to greet us was Tejon Ranch docent, Scot Pipkin, who immediately informed us that was the best wild flower showing in at least ten years.
From the beginning it was obvious that the theme of the day was going to be flowers, flowers and more flowers. We saw multitudes of red ones, purple ones, yellow ones and blue ones. We didn’t have to travel on the ranch dirt roads very far to see this awesome display in its full glory. For many of us, this was the best wild flower display we had ever seen.
During the course of this great day, we stayed on the ranch land in the Antelope Valley and did manage to see some sites other than the beautiful flowers. For instance, as we progressed to slightly higher elevations we passed through an outstanding Joshua tree forest. Some of the trees were in bloom adding to the spectacle of the day.
We also passed several springs and ponds, observing the endangered tri-colored blackbird cavorting in the water. These birds can make a lot of noise as they attempt to mate in the riparian areas. Another great sight was a herd of pronghorn antelope running at top speed in the valley floor off in the distance.
We lunched at a beautiful spot and continued to snap memorable pictures of the scenery. This was the Desert Explorers fourth trip to the Tejon Ranch and we are looking to make this an annual event. Unfortunately, our leader docent, Scot Pipkin, is moving to New Mexico but he has referred us to new leaders to contact next spring. We are looking forward to that, but I doubt that this years’ wildflower scene will ever be topped.
(click Read more to see the photos)
Amargosa Mine with Emmett
We set off south from Shoshone on 127 with a small band of Desert Explorers toward Dumont Dunes and Salt Spring for a ‘quick hike’ with Emmett Harder at Amargosa Mine. There is no question that Emmet Harder can tell a good story, and the tales he told on this hike were epic. He kicked things off with a brief stop where the pavement crossed a small arroyo and gave us a synopsis of the final moments of the Ballarat Bandit, an elusive thief who led police on a months-long manhunt. When the Bandit finally ran out of places to hide he decided that rather than be captured he would take his own life, and this was where he drew his last breath, just a few hundred yards from where we were standing. OK, Emmett, quite a colorful beginning
to a hike!
Moving on, we turned east off the pavement just beyond Dumont Dunes, following a low ridge for a mile or two until we reached a kiosk with some history about the Amargosa Mine site.
Emmett filled in all the blanks, telling us about how Jefferson Hunt, a former captain of the Mormon Battalion led a small group down the Spanish Trail in 1849. Hunt led a few on horseback over a notch in the ridge that saved them miles that the wagons would have to travel to go around the rocky point. As they passed through the area, Hunt noted that the rock of the area looked like it might have some gold, judging from recent experience he had in another location where he had been stationed. On closer inspection, he was right. The group found flecks of gold in veins right at the edge of their trail. One of the party followed the vein to find an area with BB sized grains of gold. They made their way across the saddle to Salt Spring, meeting the wagon teams who had already gathered there. The party moved on, arriving at Chino just before Christmas and announced their discovery.
(click Read More for the rest of the story and photos)
Muddling Through the Mud at Tecopa
By Ding (Edna) Elnar-Wicker
I have been attending the Desert Explorers Rendezvous since I came to the US in 1998. The annual event always ushers in some excitement: it is a gathering of friends and familiar faces and a welcome opportunity to meet new members and establish friendship. The event can also involve activities that can be very exciting such as the advertised trips to interesting locations around the rendezvous site. These trips include easy to moderate hikes, finding petroglyphs or pictoglyphs or exploring old or abandoned mines or just poking around beautiful sceneries in the desert. Other trips focus on wild flowers or the flora in the area. Most of the trips I have participated in were interesting and left lasting memories. Those of us who signed up in the past to take a trip to a brothel in Pahrump probably would say that that was just an anomaly in what the DE customarily does!
The recent 2016 DE rendezvous was a special occasion for me. Allan and I stayed at Tecopa Hot Springs Resort. On Friday, 1 April, after we returned from the potluck dinner, we decided to take it easy. The resort management put up an outdoor film showing that was reasonably well attended. We also noticed that there was a group outside our room that was stargazing. We joined that group and were able to see several galaxies and even Jupiter and four of its moons. Very dramatic! What fun to be viewing the sky in the desert where neon lights don’t compete with the stars!
(click Read More for story and photos)
Mike and I went to this fantastic site several years ago, so we decided to hike it again at the Rondy. Two intrepid souls signed up for the trip, probably due to the fact that the trip write up stated that the hike was six miles over rough and rocky terrian, and assuming we could find the site again, it was over rough and rocky terrain!! Mignon Slentz and Bob Jaussand joined Mike and I on the hike.
We quickly found the trail as it is marked by fallen power poles that were erected from Death Valley Junction at the T&T Railroad siding to the town of Greenwater at the turn of century during the copper boom – which was more of a bust. There is not much of a trail to follow, so we followed the path of the fallen power poles. Three of us had been on the hike before including Bob, Mike and myself. Unfortunately our memories are fading into obscurity.
We followed the poles and missed the point at which the trail climbed over the ridge, even though the entire trail was marked by many petroglyphs showing the way to the habitation site. The oldest among the rest of us youngsters remembered going high on the ridge, however, alas we found ourselves in the wash below the habitation site. The oldest among us took the lead and went straight up the steep canyon where we thought we would find the site. It was not there. Frustrated, the younger three stopped and contemplated our plight!
Meanwhile, the oldest among us moved forward climbing the canyon to find the habitation site. After the oldest disappeared, the younger three decided to follow him. As we climbed, in the distance we observed the oldest among standing atop of the habitation site!! The youngters shouted hooray with glee while the oldest took shade and seat in the shade of the habitation site. We found many pictos and six morteros at the site as well as numerous flakes. We fed the oldest lunch - his significant other made him lunch but he had fogotten it at home. We all rested, drank and ate, however, after what seemed a very short time the oldest was rejuvinated and got up to find the next pictograph cave that contained many pictos and was near several tenajas. The three youngest, exhausted by the hike, continued to rest till we heard a shout from the oldest... the pictograph cave is here!!! The youngest reluctantly got up and went to the cave - which contained many pictos and a nice shady rest area for the group. After taking many pictures the oldest stated we need to get back, and this time the group hiked back taking the high trail over the ridge. We quickly found the trail with admonitions from the oldest among us to stay high!
The point on the trail that entered the valley to go home was marked by many petros!! We continued to hike out with the youngest leading, however, even after having been through the canyon earlier, the younger men decided to go up to the wrong pass! The oldest among us stated the pass is over here, and he was right. We got back to the car unscathed and immediately drove to the RV park to soak in the warm pool!! I think I need to start the habit of doing sudoku problems each morning to get my brain and memory stimulated. It seems to be working well for Bob. Thanks to Mike, Mignon and Bob, for making a great hike memorable!
Outbound Trip: Silica Mine & Salt Creek Hills
April 3, 2016 • By Bill Neill
Photos: Bill Neill and Allan Wicker
Originally I planned an outbound trip from Shoshone to look at geology and mining history at the south end of Death Valley, ending at Salt Creek Hills, next to the highway 127 halfway to Baker. However in early March I learned that the Jubilee Pass Road was closed by severe erosion from flooding last October; so instead, our outbound trip was reduced to two stops — the Shoshone silica mine and Salt Creek Hills. Participants were Bill & Gwenn Neill, Bob Jacoby, Mal Roode, Steve Marschke & Debbie Miller, Joe Preiss, George Gilster, Allan Wicker & Ding Elnar-Wicker.
From our meeting place opposite the Flower Building in Shoshone, we drove past the Shoshone Cemetery, and parked near Dublin Gulch next to cave dwellings excavated and occupied by prospectors during the 1920’s & 1930’s. From Dublin Gulch we hiked to a former quarry of soft, white volcanic ash erupted from the Long Valley caldera, north of Bishop. Silica ash has several commercial uses, and this material was added to Old Dutch Cleanser as an abrasive.
(click Read More for story and photos)
Grand Canyon of the Tecopa
Friday, April 1, 2016 • By Bob Jaussaud
Photos: Bob Jaussaud & Coop Cooper
There are relatively few people that have seen the Grand Canyon of the Tecopa. There are fewer yet who have hiked to the bottom of the canyon. Unfortunately, our trip only added 2 to the list of those that have done so. Aw well...
The hike is written up in Bill Mann’s book, Volumn 2. Bill said that the hike was not for the faint hearted, and he was right. We found the trail head as Bill described and 10 of us started down. As the trail grew steeper and more exposed, most deemed it prudent to turn around and return to the top. Glenn Shaw and I were the only ones left when we arrived at the bottom. My hat is off to Glenn. It had only been about 6 weeks since he had had open heart surgery.
Our goal was the abandoned ranch site at the bottom of the canyon. Lois Clark, co-editor of the Baker Valley News, had been raised at this ranch. Her father was Harry “Two Gun” Adams. He came to the East Mojave in the mid 1920’s and worked at China Ranch. It must have been in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s when he built his ranch in the Grand Canyon of the Tecopa. Originally, there was a road that connected China Ranch with Harry’s ranch, but these days the area is preserved and the road is long gone. At Harry’s ranch site, we found a brand-like inscription in the cement, “HMA.”
The hike back to the top of the canyon was steep, but going up seemed easier than the decent. Ron Ross met us half way up thinking we might need help and/or encouragement. Reaching the top, we discovered we were late for lunch, but not too late to head for China Ranch and a date shake. Our group of rim watchers included Danny and Norma Siles, Nancy Maclean, Graham Cooper (Coop), George Gilster, Sue and Mignon. Thanks to all for being good sports and making the day fun.
O (click Read More for photos)
The Desert Explorers go desert exploring
DE Rendezvous, April 2nd
Trip Report & Photos by Debbie Miller Marschke
‘Tis Rendezvous season, and Steve and I decided not to sign up for any field trips intentionally. We had already visited those locations, and we did not want to take a spot from someone who had not been there. Actually, we had contemplated offering to lead a trip, but we simply did not have time to prepare one. No biggie, let’s just go find some fun. If I have my facts straight, I think Neal Johns ran into Steve and it was decided that the four of us would go exploring. Within five minutes of Neal and Marian rolling into our campsite that morning, we had a seven vehicle field trip lined up and ready to go! (Have you ever felt like you were being watched? Ha ha!) So I guess we were destined to lead a Rondy trip.
Originally I had wanted to check out a remote mining cabin, but access was questionable due to the closure of Jubilee Pass Road. Steve wanted to check out “Buckwheat Wash” because he had not been there for more than 10 years and wanted to find another old cabin he saw on Google Earth. The route to Buckwheat Wash ran right past Ibex Springs, so we decided to stop and poke around there for a little bit. The structures at Ibex Springs seem to be in worse shape every time I go there, sad. We traveled past Ibex and many miles on a road that did not seem to have had much use at all. If our group had not decided to visit, it would not have been long before the trackway of the road was reclaimed by seasonal flooding and then the BLM would have an excuse to close the road due to “damage.” We found the cabin which was a box-like building of corrugated metal. There was an old bunk bed, barrel stove, and a guest book. It had been more than a year since someone had signed in. Actually, not too much evidence of packrats in this cabin. Someone had written a note on the inside of the cabinet doors “PLEASE CLOSE so the mouse won’t chew holes in the water jugs. He eats National Geographics, too.”
Heading back to Ibex Springs, we decided to follow the road to the mine. There was a narrow spot that probably stops most visitors from continuing. We were rewarded by the remains of an impressive ore chute, ore bins, an adit, and trestle work with some rails. What a cool find! Thank you to all who jumped on and came with us: Marian and Neal Johns, Coop Cooper, Joe Priess, Vicki Hill & Dave McFarland, Glenn Shaw, Nelson & Ellen Miller.
(click Read More for photos)
Ibex and Saratoga Spring Flings
DE Rendezvous, April 2nd
By Ted Kalil
After Nelson Miller and I failed to locate the trail to Denning Spring on a pre-run, this trip’s destination was changed. So, at 9:00 a.m. Peter and Janet Austin, Ted and Joan Berger, Jerry and Dolly Dupree, Terry and Eileen Ogden, Bill and Julie Smith, George Gilster, Fredric Raab, and my wife Sue and I met opposite the Crow Bar Café in Shoshone. The attendees either hadn’t heard of my reputation or had chosen to risk it anyhow.
Our first destination was Ibex Spring, a site that had at first been a silver mine, later a gold mine, and finally a talc mine that was operated up until the 1950s. There are the remains of what were once buildings that supported these various efforts; the buildings are in serious disrepair. The Bureau of Land Management had once planned to raze those buildings, but after an agreement was made with the Mojave River Valley Museum to monitor, not improve the site, they agreed to let the site go into benign decline. Only pictures of the buildings were to be provided to the BLM to record this effort. We saw for ourselves the poor condition of the buildings and many pictures were taken.
From there we proceeded to the junction with the Saratoga Springs Road, where we held a brief meeting at about noon. A warning sign is posted there to alert travelers to soft sand on the road one and a half miles in. George Gilster and Ted and Joan Berger decided to take the relatively short trip back to the entrance highway and head back to Shoshone. The rest of us went on down the trail. There was soft sand beginning exactly where the sign had said, but the sand wasn’t that soft and all of our vehicles were easily capable of driving over this section; no one had any difficulty. A little further on we found a wide spot where we could put our vehicles in a circle and have lunch.
A short distance after that we came to the staging area for Saratoga Springs. You have to park there; it is a dead end, but a foot path takes you a very short distance to a view of the Springs area, largely covered with water and reed grass, an unusual sight in this dry desert.
Backtracking our steps to the entrance junctions, we later got on the well-maintained, but washboardy Henry Wade Road, and from there on out to the highway and the Henry Wade Plaque. Most of us got back to Shoshone by 3:00 p.m., in plenty of time to clean up and go to the Happy Hour and Dinner.
In summary, we came back with 75% of our original participants – a C grade, but passing. However, everyone did make it back, there were no mechanical problems and, despite its name, no one died in Death Valley. Maybe I’m doing better, maybe just got lucky.
(click Read More for photos)
3 Days in the Boonies - Rondy Inbound
March 29-31, 2016
Leader: Bob Jaussaud
It is hard to imagine now, but a couple of months ago it was cold in the desert! The temperature for our inbound was predicted to drop 20 degrees with Mach I winds, so at the last minute we abandoned our planned high country agenda and opted for camping lower and warmer, preferably in a nice cabin with a stove. Actually we were lucky to find at least six cabins during our inbound noodle. There were nine hardy Desert Explorers in six vehicles who braved the elements and assembled at the Valley Wells Shell station, which is noted for a beef jerky wall and a classic soda pop collection, not to mention its water fall urinal in the mens’ room. Starting out in the vehicles, Vicki Hill pointed out that our group must be setting some kind of record, as we had more women drivers than men. There was Vicki driving Dave McFarland and Marian driving Neal Johns, while Mignon Slentz and Nan Healy drove their own vehicles. Glenn Shaw and I were the only male drivers. Sue Jaussaud was our navigator. Ron Lipari joined Mignon, Sue and I for the pre run earlier in the month.
Our first destination was the old townsite of Valley Wells (also known as Rosalie) where we explored the many dugout cabins and the historic cemetery, where “Boots” and Bessie Yates (owners of the Yates Ranch) are buried. Sidney Yates got the nickname “Boots” because growing up, he wore hand-me-down boots that were always too big. Although he was 6’ 2” as an adult, he only wore a size 8 boot.
Valley Wells is noted for at least 3 things: (1) It was the headquarters for the historic Yates Ranch (1894 - 1952), (2) It had a copper smelter for ore from the Copper World Mine and the Shadow Mountain Mine, and (3) Kelly Field, a 1930’s airfield, serving the postal route from Salt Lake to Los Angeles, was nearby.
From Valley Wells, we started across the valley to an old Yates corral and tank, then turned west to locate a mysterious UFO site. This site needs to be seen to be believed. After lunch at the UFO, we headed into the hills to locate the Huber mine and cabin. Turning north, we visited the townsite of Shadow Mountain and our second cabin, a beautiful old rock house. There were a lot of ruins at Shadow Mountain including the remains of a 5 stamp mill. Daylight was growing short and the wind was picking up, so we made tracks for lower elevations and camp. Our first happy hour was spent pleasantly in Kingston Wash. We enjoyed an evening stroll to the site of Coyote Holes and signed in at the Heritage Trail #3 Mailbox.
After a short stop at Kingston Spring the next morning, we continued on to the Eastern Star Mine and our third desert cabin. Nearby, Mignon located a horizontal mine shaft that had also served as a dwelling. At Valjean, we turned south for a short ways along the old Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad berm. The T&T operated from the early 1900’s until it was ruined by floods in 1938. It ran from Ludlow to near Beatty and served all the folks living along the track. During our trip, we visited several sidings that serviced the local mines.
After maneuvering around some wash outs, we finally reached the road to the Alta Mine and followed it to our fourth cabin. The Alta was one of the early silver finds in the Silurian Hills. From Alta, we continued onto Riggs Siding. Along the way, we were lucky to find a few Desert Lilies blooming. Our second happy hour was spent on the cobblestone deck of the Riggs cabin, our fifth cabin thus far. Mignon actually added a sizable area to the cobblestone deck with rocks she instructed us collect before we were allowed to imbibe.
Our last day started with a rock crawl to the “silver cabin.” Most of us took a short hike up the wash by the cabin to the big ore loader. This was probably the actual area of the main Riggs’ Mine. Frank and Sarah Riggs came to the area in the early 1900’s and stayed for many years. They were unusual in that they did not sell their claims and enjoyed the benefits from them for many years. They were able to live quite well and traveled internationally in style. Of interest is that in 1910 they had a black boarder named Thomas Cunningham. There were not very many black miners in the area and Thomas evidently had a sense of humor, as he recorded some of his claims as the “Uncle Tom Mining Company.”
The last mine we visited on the inbound was a remote talc mine about 10 miles northeast of Silver Lake. The claims in this area date from before 1911 and there was a lot to see, but the road in was a bit rugged. The wildflowers were off their peak, but still very abundant. After returning to the T&T berm near the Talc Siding, we detoured a short ways to an interesting and modern day “bug out” camp where we relaxed for lunch. Afternoon found us on the road to Shoshone for a much needed shower and swim. Thanks to all who joined us. It was a fun group and our women drivers are to be commended. Ladies, you rock!
(click Read More for photos)