Starbuck's Exploring

Hiking and exploring backcountry locations of the Western United States.

“Circle Sun Ledge” Pictographs

Hidden on a small and inconspicuous ledge, deep in the Joshua Tree wilderness, is an interesting pictograph site. When we discovered it in 2016, after a lengthy bushwhack, the park archaeologist told us that he believed it was a previously unrecorded site! Huzzah!
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Corkscrew Mine

A few years ago, I met up with some of the guys and we hiked out to visit the ruins of the old Corkscrew Mine. The mine was worked for colemanite (an ore of borax) in the 1950s by the US Borax Company.  Surprisingly, it was productive only for a few years.
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Moccasin Tracks Petroglyphs

On top of a mesa and way out in the Utah desert, we came across a few petroglyphs carved into the bedrock. And they were connected in a series… It is a trail! Neither one of us had ever seen anything like this before. Petroglyphs along a wall? Sure, all the time.  On a ceiling? Yup. A petroglyph trail? I didn’t know such a thing existed.
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“Lost Pick” Prospector’s Camp

While hiking way out in the backcountry wilderness of Joshua Tree National Park, exploring buddy JP and I stumbled upon an old prospector’s mining camp. Hardly anything is left at the camp: a few cans, wood debris, a rock-stacked wall and fireplace. Hidden nearby in a pile of granite boulders is an old mining pick and a few boards of lumber. The old prospector must have stashed them here for safe keeping until he returned. He never did.
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Box Flat and Prickly Pear Cowboy Camps

Sometimes, you just feel like driving on some wide open dirt roads.

I went out to the Utah desert hunting for a few pictograph sites. Instead, I came across two cowboy camps.  Not much is left at either of them: a broken stove, bed springs, dishes and utensils, but I found them interesting. I don’t know their age or history but they are fun to visit and ponder lonely life on the range.
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Covington Falls Petroglyphs

There are a couple of very faint petroglyphs and pictographs out at Covington Falls. I think most hikers walking the route walk right passed them without noticing.

The petroglyphs are located at a granite dryfall that collects water after a good rain. This is a scenic spot. Shaded by pinyon pine trees, it makes a pleasant spot to rest or take a lunch break. The Native Americans must have thought so too.
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“Three Bachelor’s Camp”

We found a small prospector’s camp out in the wilderness of the Death Valley region. I call it “Three Bachelor’s Camp” because there are three cabin tent pads scattered around the site.
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Joshua Tree “Cowboy” Petroglyphs

A few weeks ago, we wandered out to this remote corner of Joshua Tree to check out an unusual set of petroglyphs. Unlike most of the abstract petroglyph panels I come across, these had a few human figures. A couple of them are a horse and rider, and another appears to be a woman in a dress!
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Par Value Mill

Late autumn of 2017 found us tracking down a very unusual stamp mill high in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The mill was a unique hammer design called a Pratt Ideal Stamp Mill. Very few of these mills were ever put into use and even fewer (if any!) still exist in the wild, so we were very interested in finding it.
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2017 Year End Summary

We did a lot of great trips in 2017, including trips in California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, and Hawai’i. I was out exploring for 48 days this year, which isn’t bad.
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