Starbuck's Exploring

Hiking and exploring backcountry locations of the Western United States.

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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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Funk’s Cave Pictographs

After a long hike across empty sand flats and through desolate canyons, we found a small alcove with a few Fremont figures and a six color rainbow pictograph on the back wall. I’ve never seen anything like it.
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Algonquin Mill

The Algonquin is an old mine and mill. It was one of the earliest mines in Montana’s Philipsburg district. By 1877, it was being worked by a 10-stamp mill for silver with minor amounts of gold. The mill proved inefficient and a new 20-stamp mill was soon installed. Reportedly, there was an 80-stamp mill here but I didn’t see it. That could be a reference to the huge mill nearby at Granite.
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Victory Mine

Boxy and I recently re-visited this interesting little tungsten mine out in central Nevada. I first visited this mine in 2002.

It was originally discovered in 1945 by W. L. Sovy, Jack Southerland, and Albert Brown. In 1949, it was purchased by J. S. Dougan and associates, who formed the Gabbs Exploration Company. They built a mill in 1952 and it produced over 100,000 tons of tungsten ore until it went idle in 1963. It was quite an operation at the time.
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Grand Wash Cliff Colony

I met up with legendary explorer Roger Mitchell to explore the Grand Wash Cliffs of Arizona. It was a surprise to both of us when we found an abandoned group of cabins tucked back in the woods. The cabins appear to have been abandoned in the 1970s and made us think it was some kind of “escape civilization colony”.
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Ames Camp

Roy Ames located some fluorspar claims in the hills above this little camp in 1941 but it doesn’t appear that he produced much if any fluorite. I suspect some of the buildings were already here by that time but he probably improved them. Roy passed away in 1966 and is buried in Tonopah.
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Juggler Petroglyphs

This is an interesting and fun little Fremont petroglyph site. The single anthropomorphic figure is surrounded by concentric circles. Amusingly, he looks like he is juggling suns, hence the name.

It’s possible there are a few more petroglyphs around in the immediate area. I’ll have to come back sometime and search.
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Blackmail Mill

There isn’t much left at this old silver mill. I had a fun time climbing around and through the broken timbers.

The mill once supported a cross-cut adit connected to a deep shaft. The adit is caved these days.
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