One of my mine exploring trips got cancelled at the last minute, on a weekend a few months ago, so I suddenly had some free time on my hands. I decided to try and find a supposed arrastra and petroglyph site out in the Mojave desert. Arrastras are always fun to find because they are so rare besides being historical. Petroglyphs are more common but can be equally difficult to locate. (Not to mention they are both cool.)
This particular spot wasn’t a place that I had been to before so I didn’t know what to expect. The tip I had on the location seemed right on the mark. So, full of confidence, off I went to find them. I’d be done by noon!
After a long drive across the Mojave desert on bumpy roads, I got my old truck there. The wash was just a little too narrow for me to drive down. That’s ok, as I am out of shape and need the exercise.
I didn’t know exactly where that old arrastra might be, so I would have to scout around for it. That’s normal. My target is this lonely spring. You need water for an arrastra, so it should be here, right? (You already know where I am going with this.)
The spring was pretty boring. Just a willow and cottonwood tree and a whole lot of sand. (No surface water.) A nice spot to perhaps have some lunch but no arrastra. Or at least no arrastra that I could see. It could be hidden deep in the bushes. It sure didn’t look like it though. No petroglyphs either. Hmm…
There was evidence of some prospecting though. On the other side of the spring, someone built a sizable dirt dam. I assume this was an effort to try and catch rain water from a flash flood. Perhaps it could have been to protect something downstream? I hiked downstream a ways but I didn’t see anything besides some tin and wood.
By now, I had hiked all around the spring. I was puzzled and had basically given up on finding anything. That was fine. It was good to be out in the desert. It wasn’t too hot, I was hiking and getting used to looking for rattlesnakes again. Seemed like it had been a long winter.
As I was hiking back towards my truck, I noticed some tin cans above the wash. Well, this had to be investigated.
It was the remains of a prospector’s cabin. Not much was left. Just a few pieces of lumber and metal. You can see the trees at the spring in the background. This camp is completely out of view from the wash and I missed it on the hike in.
I explored around and found a second cabin site, nearly completely hidden in the granite boulders. This one had a bit more wood and debris left.
From there, I found the trace of an old trail and I followed it up the hillside. It lead to a small mine prospect. It wasn’t much at all. I hiked around some more but didn’t find anything else.
It turned out to be an interesting spot even though I really didn’t find that much. I haven’t found the name of this prospect or any of its history. It was never a large producer, that’s for sure. Still it would be interesting to know more about it.
I drove on to another spring in the area but didn’t find anything there either. So this arrastra still eludes me. I will have to do some more searching as there are still a couple of spots it could be hiding at. It is also possible that someone has removed it, or that it is lost in the brush or sand at the spring. I will have to go back and explore around some more one of these days.
Update 3/3/15: I finally did find that arrastra.