Buffalo Boy Mine

Fading sunlight on the tram terminal.

The Buffalo Boy was a small gold and silver mine which started production around 1930. The mine is caved but the interesting thing about the site is the long and steep tramway heading up to it. The tram line is over 8,500′ in length and rises 2,500′ up cliffs to reach the mine at 12,550′ in elevation.
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Ramshorn and Skylark Mines

Skylark tramhouse.

I took a trip to a couple of mines high up in the Central Rocky mountains of Idaho.  I love finding old mines with tramways and these two were great.

A large silver-lead strike was made at the Ramshorn mine (and the Skylark above it) in 1877 and the rush was on. By 1882, a smelter had been blown in, charcoal kilns built and 300 people lived in the town of Bay Horse that had sprung up down in the canyon below. The smelter was closed by 1897 but mining continued until 1925.
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Adamson Mine

At 12,990′, the Adamson is the highest mine in the Sierra Nevada. And as you might suspect, getting there is no easy feat. It is a strenuous 8.6 mile (one-way) and 3,670 foot climb up the rugged Wheeler Ridge to reach it. This is the top of the Sierras. Altitude sickness is a real concern here so be aware of headaches and fatigue. Turn around and head down if you feel sick.
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Day Break Camp

Steel tram tower.

I met up with Dan in 2006 and we headed out into the great Mojave desert to try and find an old little known camp called Day Break. The camp, also known as Five Points, dates from 1880s, but was most active in the early 1910s. Not much remains.
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Carlyle Mine

Forgotten dreams

Alysia and I met up with my buddy James to do a little desert mine exploring back in 1998. We headed out to the Carlyle mine (also known as the Carlysle).

First discovered in 1902, it was most active in the late 1930s. Gold and silver was mined by three adits and has a few interesting sections to it. Not much remains of the mill or the tramway.
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Big Bell Mine, Death Valley National Park

Tram cars on tramlines at the Big Bell mine.

The Big Bell mine was discovered in 1904 by Johnnie Cyty, a prospector with the nickname of “Johnnie-behind-the-Gun.” He earned this name because he was known to draw his machine pistol on more than one heated occasion. Johnnie optioned out the mine for a small fortune but the operators only worked it on a minor basis. Unfortunately, the mine (and district) were overshadowed by strikes in the nearby Bullfrog district and the rush there was on. By 1907, both the mine and Johnnie had fallen on hard times and were out of money. A year later, late one night in Rhyolite, Johnnie gambled away all of his stock in a twelve hour roulette game to C. E. Jones. Seemingly Johnnie accepted his loss and moved on. (He was involved in a gunfight later that year over another mine where he killed a man but was acquitted.)
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“Rhonda” Mine

Dan checks things out.

Back in 2007, a friend told us to check out this mill tucked away in a seldom visited canyon of the Mojave desert. The mill was a great find.

Up on a high and steep slope, the mill looks like it was last worked in the 1960s. There was never a road here, so all the equipment was brought in on the backs of mules. That was quite an achievement.
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Belmont Mill

We re-visited the mill in 2015. Volunteers and the Forest Service have done restoration work. It looks great!

The Belmont Mill (or Nevada Belmont Mill) had always been high on my list of places to see when I first started exploring. It didn’t disappoint. It is a very pretty area and not many tramways remain standing in Nevada.
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This is the view from a little ways up on the Snowflake Trail. You can actually see my truck parked in this picture.

Beveridge… A legendary mine camp. Probably more than anything, because it is so difficult to reach. The trail is a strenuous one and because the hike is so long, time is an issue. We started hiking early in the morning one spring day. It took us 6 hours just to reach the camp. We did this as a dayhike, but it is better suited for a backpack. Even so, be sure to get an early start on the hike. The faint trail disappears quickly after the sun sets over the high mountains and it becomes very easy to get off trail and stuck on a rocky cliff.
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Santa Fe Mine

The upper tram terminal.

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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