A few years ago, I had a nice hike up this sandy canyon to check out some algae fossils and petroglyphs on limestone bedrock. Not much out here in these lonely hills of eastern Death Valley National Park.
Last year, I stopped by a forgotten and overlooked three stamp mill in the backcountry of Owens Valley. Seems like even the locals don’t know it exists.
Besides being off the beaten path, the stamp mill is unusual in that it had only three stamps instead of the typical five. Perhaps each stamp was added one at a time as funds became available for this small operation? The mine the mill served was never very big and reportedly was last active in the 1920s.
Over twenty years ago, I found this little mining tunnel high in the Panamint Mountains west of Death Valley. This adit is unique in that it is filled with water and flowstone. It was beautiful inside.
There is a place way out in the backcountry of Death Valley National Park called Marble Bath. Actually, it is two places.
Why there are two Marble Baths is a bit of a mystery. The real Marble Bath is a narrow marble canyon that contains some potholes that usually hold water long after it rains (Sometimes these are called tinajas). This is the only semi-reliable source of water in an otherwise very arid stretch of country. They don’t call this Death Valley for nothing, ya’ know.
Ed and I took a small trip over to Nevada to check out an interesting little mine I had passed up before. I have visited some of the other mines in the district but overlooked this one in a small side canyon.
The Oro Copia (also known as the Dos Palmas) is an old mine in the heart of the Orocopia Mountains. It was discovered in 1892 by Edward Fish, his son G. B. Fish and C. O. Barker (of Joshua Tree dam fame). The ore body was reported to be quite rich with gold and they quickly erected a two-stamp mill down at Dos Palmas Spring.
Over the weekend, I visited the fairly remote Curtis Canyon Cabin. I found Boxcar and Ed already there and were busy cleaning and restoring the cabin to a habitable condition.
The narrow, one man cabin was built by Frank Curtis in 1958 and he used it for nearly 30 years. Up on the hill behind the cabin is a small mine, of which not much remains, except an unstable 40′ inclined shaft. I’m guessing not much ever came of the mine, but Frank chose a beautiful spot to have his cabin. It makes a great place to visit today.