While out on a trip with Roger Mitchell, we stopped to visit a little boulder cave out in the Mojave Desert. The cave is only a few feet long, but in the center is a large, flat granite boulder. Its surface is covered with cupules and edges polished smooth by touch of many hands over a long period of time. It is amazing to think of how many hands must have touched this rock to get it this smooth.
Back in 1862, Owens Valley was not quite as peaceful as it is today. White settlers were just moving in and starting up ranches. Prospectors were combing the hills in search of that elusive next big strike. The Paiute, Shoshone and Kawaiisu people who lived here didn’t appreciate being forced off their lands and losing access to water and springs because of cattle. They led raids and ambushes against the newcomers to try and force them out. People were being murdered on both sides. The situation escalated and turned into what was later called the Paiute War.
The mine was a minor producer of zinc, lead, silver, and gold. It was first located in 1913 but wasn’t worked until 1915. It was active only for a few short years and idle by 1918.
So after I posted the misc photos for 2014, I realized there was a lot of photographs from 2013 that never made it on the site; way more than half. I was pretty busy in 2013. Highlights for me include a trip to the Mt Wilson Observatory and hiking over 70 miles in Joshua Tree NP (in one week). I was out for an amazing 77 days in 2013. I did quite a few trips.
I realized that I am way behind on posts. Years behind in fact. Oh well. I will continue to post new and old stuff as I have time. Anyway, in a small effort to fix that, I decided to post some miscellaneous photos from 2014 that did not make it into a trip report yet.
Poinsettia was once a cinnabar mine. Reportedly, the mine was worked from 1929 to WWII, but information is hard to find on it and no production was recorded. It is doubtful much cinnabar was ever mined here. Cinnabar is a primary ore for mercury, which is important in the gold recovery process.
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.