Last Chance Canyon
By Marian Johns
Photos by Marian Johns, Leonard Friedman and Ingo Werk
Whoa! That was one tough trail.
I had no idea it was going to be so rough. There were boulders everywhere and I think half of our crew became spotters, guiding the drivers over and around obstacles.
Our fearless troops included Dave Burdick, Tom Tiberi, Dean Linder, Todd Schrock, Brett Thomlinson, Dave Hess, Leonard and Rebecca Friedman, Ingo and Mary Werk, Ken and Gina Robinson, Tom Strand and myself, Marian Johns plus my two riders, Mike Haselwander and his 11 year old son, Araon, who are neighbors of mine. I am so thankful that Mike joined me because he became my invaluable pointer. He was constantly jumping in and out of the truck when I needed to be guided over or around those pesky rocks.
We had quite a variety of vehicles: two Jeeps, two 4Runners, two Tacoma Pros, one original style Bronco and one XTerra.
We all met at the BLM visitors’ center at the mouth of Jawbone Canyon – that is all except Tom Strand who got somewhat mixed up and instead went to the Red Rock Canyon State Park visitors’ center. When no one showed up there, he high-tailed it over to Last Chance Canyon and tried to catch up with us. The only problem was, we were behind him. We finally met him as he was coming back, having given up on finding us.
It took us more than three hours to cover the first two and a half miles of Last Chance Canyon. After that the trail became a little easier and we reached the colorful part of the canyon. The trail through Cudahy Camp is now totally fenced and it’s no longer possible to pull off and park where ever you please.
We had a little trouble finding the trail to the Old Dutch Cleanser Mine and ended up at the Broken Spade and Boulder claims where we found the remains of a stone cabin and two wooden ones. At our next stop we found what some of us thought was the Old Dutch Cleanser Mine, but it was actually the Holly Ash Mine. There must have been at least a dozen quads and side-by-sides. Several of those people had driven their vehicles into the mines and were playing ultra-loud, annoying music – at least it annoyed me.
Dave Hess then volunteered to guide us to the real Old Dutch Cleanser Mine. He was, however, a bit confused and had us struggling up a super steep hill. We all managed to make it though and found up there a magnificent view of Last Chance Canyon and the surrounding area. Dave did eventually find the real Old Dutch Cleanser mine and it does somewhat resemble the Holly Ash Mine.
When we finished inspecting the mine, the sun was dipping low and we had to call it a day. By the time we reached Highway 14 it was dark and I was pooped, so I turned the driving over to Mike and he kindly drove us home. I skipped dinner and tottered off to bed. Boy, what a memorable day!. ~ Marian