Cary Ranch Pictographs

A few years ago, my friend Rick and I were invited out by Dick Cary to visit his historic Cary Ranch and examine some of the pictographs there. The ranch area was first inhabited by the Mountain Cahuilla indians. The site is near a natural pass and an old indian trail that connects inland Southern California shrub lands to Anza Borrego country of the Sonoran Desert.
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Sound Democrat Mill

The Sound Democrat Mill is an awesome find and one of the highlights of the San Juan Mountains.  The mine was first discovered in 1899. Gold and silver ore from the mine was packed on mules over a 13,000′ ridge to the Sunnyside Mill in Eureka Gulch.
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Summit Mine

High up in the spires of the Sierra Nevada there lies a hidden and seldom visited mine where a trail goes through the mountain.
To get there, you have to follow a steep trail across jagged granodiorite cliffs. A thousand feet below is the old mining camp of Lundy and the views of 13,057′ (3,979m) Mt. Dana across the canyon are quite spectacular.
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“Palmetto Wash” Petroglyphs

Over the years, I have visited this small petroglyph site many times. It is not too far from the road, so it makes for a nice spot to take a break.

During a recent visit with my family, we were saddened to find some drill holes have been made into the volcanic rock adjacent to some of the ancient petroglyph panels. What a shame! I’m not sure if someone was attempting to steal the petroglyphs or if someone was taking core samples to study the volcanic rock. Either way, it was careless and a federal crime. I hope whoever caused the damage faces some punishment and restitution so repair work can be done.
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Ramshorn and Skylark Mines

I took a trip to a couple of mines high up in the Central Rocky mountains of Idaho.  I love finding old mines with tramways and these two were great.

A large silver-lead strike was made at the Ramshorn mine (and the Skylark above it) in 1877 and the rush was on. By 1882, a smelter had been blown in, charcoal kilns built and 300 people lived in the town of Bay Horse that had sprung up down in the canyon below. The smelter was closed by 1897 but mining continued until 1925.
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2016 Year End Summary

Well 2016 is finally over, it seemed like a long year. It was a quieter year for the site with only 22 posts but I was out more than ever with 55 days exploring. I took 4,797 photos during those days out, which is not a record but close.

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“Catalonia” Mine

Not too long ago, while out exploring around the Nevada backcountry, we drove over to this little abandoned mining camp. As we got closer to the mine, we discovered the old road was completely overgrown and lost in the willows so we got out of our trucks and hiked in. I was really interested to see if anything remained of the old mill that once served the mine.

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Bald Mountain Wash Petroglyphs

Brownie Sam and Emmett Rosse, two Shoshone cowboys, stopped alongside this huge volcanic boulder in late October of 1932. It is a place where their ancestors had camped many times. The ancients had carved numerous symbols on this rock, they decided they would too. They stood on the backs of their horses and added their names to the record above the petroglyphs below.

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Swasey’s Cabin

Swasey’s cabin was built in 1921 by the well-known Swasey brothers as a line cabin. They would stay out here to watch over their cattle. Out behind the cabin, in one of the canyons, they had an icebox setup where they would store meats and any other foodstuffs. I’m not entirely sure which canyon it was though.

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Hidden Forest Cabin, Desert National Wildlife Refuge

Tucked away inside a canyon of the Desert National Wildlife Refuge is the Hidden Forest Cabin. Built around 1900 by folks unknown, the rustic, single room log cabin was once used by Nevada game wardens in 1936 when the Desert NWR was established. More recently, in 2008-2010, the cabin underwent restoration work by volunteers and the Desert NWR staff. It is open for overnight use on a first come-first served basis. The cabin consists of a wood-fired stove, bed, and table and chairs. A small kitchen area is stocked with a few can goods that people bring up for emergencies. Please keep the cabin clean and in better shape than you found it.

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