Starbuck's Exploring

Hiking and exploring backcountry locations of the Western United States.

Tag: Arrastras

Belden Arrastra and Petroglyphs

I had looked for this arrastra some time ago but instead found another mining camp. That ended up being a good trip even without finding my elusive target. Still, it wasn’t an arrastra.
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An arrastra in the Eastern Mojave Desert

A few months back, I was out in the Eastern Mojave exploring around (which is pretty normal for me). This time however, I was looking for an old mining site with an arrastra.¬†There aren’t too many arrastras left out in the wild, so finding one is always a treat and I’ve made it a little side project to visit each one out in the Eastern Mojave that I could.
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Cole’s Flat Arrastra

This arrastra is located deep within the China Lake Naval Weapon Center. We had permission to be on the base.

I couldn’t find too much information on it other than the cabin was once the assay office over at Millspaugh. It had been moved to Coso Hot Springs, then in 1930, it was moved again to its present location in Cole’s Flat and used as a cowboy’s line camp there.
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“Gearwheel” Arrastra

It is a bit of a hike to reach this old arrastra site and camp. Looks like it was used mainly during the 1930s Great Depression, but the tin cans suggest it was used earlier than that. We found a small mine nearby.
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We were lucky enough to be invited on to China Lake Naval Weapon Center to do some volunteer restoration work on the historic Coso ghost town site. After work, we checked out a few other sites and spend the night here. What an awesome time we had! Everyone had a great time!
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Rio Pinto – “Lost Spanish Mine”

When Alysia and I found this triple arrastra site, we didn’t know it’s history. I had guessed that it was built by early Mexican prospectors around the 1860s or 1870s. Since then, I’ve done some research and come across a few old references and pieced together some history.
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San Antonio and Cimarron Mines

Discoveries were first made here in 1863 by Mexican prospectors, possibly outfitted by Emanuel San Pedro. This camp never struck it rich even though it had a few revivals over the years. The workings here look pretty poor and I didn’t go underground. One interesting find here was the arrastra, of which I haven’t found too many of in Nevada. It was probably built by the Mexicans.
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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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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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A high desert, hidden boulder mining camp

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.)
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