Starbuck's Exploring

Hiking and exploring backcountry locations of the Western United States.

Page 23 of 35

Montezuma Creek and the Three Kiva Pueblo

There are many small Ancestral Puebloan (Anasazi) ruins and Ute and Anasazi petroglyph sites scattered along Montezuma creek. Some are hard to spot, so you have to keep an eye out for them. Near the middle of the canyon is Three Kiva Pueblo where the BLM has restored one of the kivas for people to check out. The pueblo was probably used until around 1300. It was very interesting and quite a special place.
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Shooting Gallery Petroglyphs

This area is a small out-of-the-way valley that is definitely worth the trip if you are interested in petroglyphs. The name “Shooting Gallery” comes from the idea that the Southern Paiutes who lived here used the valley to hunt animals along a game trail. There are blinds and stacked rock piles along the ridge. The stacked rocks have been made tall and narrow, like a person standing. These could have been used to scare bighorn sheep or deer towards hunters hiding down below in amongst the boulders. The area doesn’t currently have any springs but it looks like it would have a few tinajas that would fill up when it rains.
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Up and Down Mine

In 2005, I took a quick trip out to some of the more remote reaches of northern Death Valley National Park wilderness to check out an old mercury mining site and look for a possible cabin. Not too many people get out in these hills. It was a nice hike. The isolation here is quite striking.
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“Purple Opuntia” Petroglyphs

In 2007, Dan and I came across this petroglyph site while on our way to another site. You never know what you’ll find when you are out exploring. These petroglyphs don’t show up well on the limestone.
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“Antelope Cottonwood” Mill

We found this small modern mill that seems often overlooked on a back road in a remote area of California. The equipment is a mixture of new and old. It is nice to see so much of it still here. Hopefully, it remains that way.
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Van Ness Mine

We were out on a exploring trip in the high mountains of central Nevada in 2008 and I talked our group into a side-trip to check out this mine camp. It turned out to be a small camp with not much left but interesting just the same. It was a rich cinnabar mine that was mainly worked in the 1920s.
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“Little Boulder Valley” Petroglyphs

In 2008, Dan led us out to a small native site that he had discovered. It seems to be a very old and isolated site. (Although, we should really poke around in the hills around here some more). We found a few more artifacts than he had seen last time he was here. It was a very nice little side trip.
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Gold Hitt Stamp Mill

In 2006, we took a side trip to check out the remains of a hidden 10 stamp and cyanide mill. The mine and mill were worked around 1915. There isn’t that much left of the mill even though it is in a remote location.
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“White Rambler” Mine

In early 2009, we went off in search of a few seldom visited mines on a cold and overcast winter day. It was some nice hiking in this remote and isolated corner of Death Valley National Park. The mines are small and more modern. I couldn’t find any information on them however.
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Sheep Creek Springs Cabin

The historic Sheep Creek Springs Cabin (Sheep Creek Cabin) was removed by the Barstow BLM in late October of 2011. The BLM paid contractors $3,495 to remove the cabin.

A mining camp sprang up here in 1906. Miner’s prospected for gold and silver in the hills above the camp. Not finding much in the way of gold and silver, the camp grew quiet. In 1911, William G. Kerckhoff purchased the claims and started the Avawatz Salt and Gypsum Company. They did some prospecting work on the salt, gypsum and talc deposits around the mouth of the canyon. The deposit was large enough that Kerckhoff planned to build a branch line from the Tidewater and Tonopah railroad. The railroad branch line was never developed though and the mine became idle.
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