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2003 Trip Report - Pinto Mining


March 8 - 9, 2003
by Alan Romspert
Images by John Page

Friday the 7th of March was a beautiful day, the weather persisting for the whole weekend. By evening all participants had arrived with John Page in his Toyota pickup being the last to arrive preceded by Dave Welbourn in his GMC pickup. While the good Allan and I were out exploring the Virginia Dale Mine in his battered FJ-40 Landcruiser we heard traffic on channel 13 which turned out to be Bill Ott in his Blazer and Dick Taylor in his Toyota truck with popup tent. With me in my Nissan Pathfinder we made a crew of six.

We spent Friday night in Owl Wash off the Gold Crown Road around a nice Bill Ott fire. The only unsettling occurrence was when Schoenherr discovered he had forgotten his steak so was looking forward to a meatless dinner. Luck was with him in that John Page had an entire rotisserie chicken, which he shared. About 9 PM the wood had been burned and everyone retired to their abodes. Temperatures got into the mid 30’s that night.

After a leisurely breakfast and packing Saturday morning we departed about 8 AM for the Virginia Dale Mine which was discovered in the 1880’s by Charley or Jonathan alias Johnny, alias Chuckawall, alias Dirty Shirt, alias Quartz Wilson who operated out of the Twentynine Palms oasis.

After about forty minutes of picture taking and exploring we moved on to the Supply Mine passing two encampments of gun toting individuals out for a good time in the desert. Looking around the mine and then driving up to a lookout point down onto Dale Dry Lake took about an hour and then the discussion of had we visited the Lorman Mine or not since the maps seemed to indicate that the road we took to the overview went to the mine. After much encouragement, curses, we decided to try a side road and low and behold we arrived at the Lorman Mine with extensive cement pads and a great overview of the valley below.

After much more poking around and picture taking we departed for the road to the Iron Age Mine deciding to leave until another trip the attempt to drive up the zig-zag road to the Carlysle Mine. We had lunch at the intersection where on the last trip we went to the OK Mine and others on an unplanned route not getting to the Iron Age Mine on that trip.

Lunch completed we drove on to the turn off to the Ivanhoe Mine, the road to which took us up and up and up and up to the top of the Pinto Mountains. Many deep vertical shafts (some with ladders), an intact wooden ore shoot, a wooden building, and spectacular views were examined at this mine.

Then it was down, down, down to the road to the Iron Age Mine where we arrived around 3 PM for cocktail, snacks, and John’s wonderful quesadillas. On this night meat for Schoenherr was provided by the other Alan in the form of Bar-B-Q pork shoulder.

The fire on this night was fueled by wood brought by the group as there is no wood available at the camp site, but Romspert turned up three pallets which contributed enough that when we went to bed at 9 PM there was wood left (sorry for your reputation Bill), although Bill did try to correct this heinous crime the next morning.

Sunday morning was spent exploring the Iron Age Mine area, which is quite extensive and had lots of nice rocks that seemed to add ballast to everyone’s vehicles. We were back at Hwy. 62 around 11 AM after pushing out a car that had gotten stuck in the sand trap on the road we were coming out on. The trip produced another excellent record for the Alan and Allan duo as we had no losses and no vehicle problems.