Back on a cool April day, Dan and I hiked out to a little cabin ruin out near Harrisburg Flat in the Death Valley backcountry. Harrisburg Flat is on the way to the old townsite of Skidoo. These days nothing much remains of that town, or its former rival, Harrisburg, but the Skidoo stamp mill is worth a visit.
Much about the history of Skidoo has already been written in various books and online, so I will only give a brief summary here:
The fifteen stamp mill was quickly built in 1908 by mine developer Bob Montgomery (of Bullfrog mining and Rhyolite fame) to develop the gold ores of the Skidoo mine just behind the mill. Ore was hauled directly from the mine to the mill via tunnels in the hillside. Mr. Montgomery had significant financial backing from Charles M. Schwab (steel magnate). A townsite sprang up a little ways to the east.
Dan and I started off a three-day trip into the Panamint and Death Valley region by visiting an old miner’s cabin up in the hills.
After spending the night at one of our favorite places down in Panamint Valley, we drove up into the mountains and parked the truck along the road. We gathered up our gear, packed a lunch and started our hike into the canyon. We knew we would be gone the rest of the day.
A few months back, I was out in the Eastern Mojave exploring around (which is pretty normal for me). This time however, I was looking for an old mining site with an arrastra. There aren’t too many arrastras left out in the wild, so finding one is always a treat and I’ve made it a little side project to visit each one out in the Eastern Mojave that I could.
After visiting the Victorine mine on a recent trip to Nevada, our next big stop was the old camp of Prospect and its Diamond Tunnel. The mine was discovered in the 1860s like the others in the Eureka district but the camp wasn’t settled until around 1885. It served as a base of operations for a few of the local mines and had a saloon, boardinghouse and school. The mine went into production in 1868 and was worked until 1930. A post office opened in 1893. Down below the mine, are the remains of a furnace.
The Clamshell petroglyphs are an easy to reach Anasazi site just outside of Fredonia, Arizona. These petroglyphs and pictographs are so old they are hard to see at all. There are some interesting designs though; including some anthropomorphic figures, a water glyph, a six toed footprint and spirals. Lots of spirals. Obviously, an important symbol here.
I’ve known about this mine for a long time but had avoided it because it was so close to town. I figured everything had already been carted off and the mine reclaimed. Over the course of the last year or so, I had multiple sources bring it up. It still was a low priority but I started thinking more about it. Finally, we were out on a trip to Nevada and driving by the area. We stopped to pay a visit.