Starbuck's Exploring

Hiking and exploring backcountry locations of the Western United States.

Category: California (page 1 of 19)

Scallywag Mine

This is a more modern mine out in Death Valley probably worked for lead or antimony. It has two tramways and a few ore buckets still on-site. Getting up to the mine is a challenge. There is one dry fall to climb up.
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“Joshua Tree Car Wash”

Our National Parks aren’t known for their collections of junked cars… Joshua Tree has a collection though (and so does the Mojave NP).

I heard there were a few wrecked cars out in the wide expanse of the Pinto Basin but I didn’t know how many or what to expect or even if they were really there. In 2015, I decided to start up a trip to chase them down.
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“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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“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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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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“Mojave Car Wash”

This is an interesting little corner of the Mojave. I was surprised to see so many old junked cars out here. It is pretty unusual to see so many in one place but why are they here? They all seem to be missing their engines and drive-trains. One engine could have been used to power equipment at the mine, so why six more?
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