Starbuck's Exploring

Hiking and exploring backcountry locations of the Western United States.

Page 34 of 35

Red Lady Pictographs

A while back, we visited a couple of pictograph sites in Joshua Tree. Both of these sites have red female figures in small caves. Finding pictograph sites is good enough, but there is more to these sites. On the spring equinox, the sun makes a unique appearance at each of them. At one of the sites, the “Brunette Red Lady”, you can see the sun directly through a small notch on a ridge at sunrise. If you move to either side, you cannot see the sun through the notch. At the other site, the “Red Lady”, a ray of sunlight advances and pierces a bedrock mortar only at noon. Is this just a coincidence? Are these solar observatory sites? It is possible Chemehuevi or Serrano used them to mark the first day of spring and the return of fertility to the earth.
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Pinto Wye Arrastra

An arrastra is a simple and primitive gold milling device. Heavy stones are dragged over gold ore to crush it. Mercury and water is added to the floor of the arrastra to create an amalgam and capture the gold.
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Santa Clara Hillside Petroglyphs

We took a little side trip while in Southern Utah in late 2010 to check out this incredible rock art site I had heard about. My photos aren’t the best but the site didn’t disappoint.
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“Sand Flat” Geoglyph

In October 2010, we visited a very isolated geoglyph way out in the Great Basin desert, all by itself, on a basalt hill. It was an interesting discovery for us. There are some other Native American camps in the area but no petroglyphs that I could find. But, besides the remoteness, what makes this interesting is the height of the rocks stacked to make the geoglyph. They are all good sized basalt boulders, typically 9 – 12 inch in diameter, and stacked three or four tall. The rock circles that are part of the geoglyph seem like they could have been used for housing rings.
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Stateline Mill

Late in 2013, we went on a trip around Nevada and Utah. One of the places we stopped is the old Stateline Mill on the Utah and Nevada border. It is a place I had wanted to check out for years, and we almost didn’t make it this time either. Luckily, we had enough time left on our trip and spent a few hours here.

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“Duke’s Camp”

This is an amazing place. There is a lot to see here and it took us two trips to see it all. Since then, we’ve been back quite a few times. There are a few scattered cabins in the areas, but Duke’s Camp takes the cake. Duke must have been quite a character.
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Honeycomb Stamp Mill

We stopped by to check out this little three stamp mill in the western Sierra Nevada. It is a neat find. You don’t see many three stamp mills around. The mill was built around 1900 but never saw much use. It was electric powered and water was brought in on a flume. The Honeycomb mine was discovered in the 1880s and was a lode quartz gold mine. It never amounted to much with only a few thousand feet of workings.
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Squaw Spring Petroglyphs

We visited this Kawaiisu village and petroglyph site on a clear and cold January day. There are not many petroglyphs here but it is an interesting site none the less.


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“Apricot and Syrup” Mine

Back in February of 2012, Dan and I did some exploring to see what was left of this old mine. We had known about it for years, but finally gotten around to actually getting up there. The hike was actually farther than we expected but it was well worth the trip! It is not often you find such a nice, old mine camp.
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Santa Fe Mine

Back in early 2012, Ed and I stopped by a mine in the Santa Fe district near Luning. The old mines in the district were discovered in 1879 and worked on and off until the 1920s. This mine was probably part of a larger group of mines, namely the Luning Consolidated Mine. These were typically silver, copper and lead producers with some gold. $2.4 million came out of the district from 1906 to 1921. That was a lot of money in those days.
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