The majority of my trips in 2008 had been out to the more remote parts of
Death Valley and this one was no exception. I met up with my dad and Dan for a challenging hike to an old mine site. The hike took us about 8 hours round-trip to cover about eight miles of rough terrain.
The mine itself, the Blue Jay, seems to have also been known as the Queen mine. I haven’t been able to find much history on it yet, but it is obviously old. The camp litter matches a rock inscription which dates to 1906. The area is full of old prospects and miner’s trails, so we’ll be back to explore them someday when the temperatures cool off a little. And hopefully, on a less hazy day.
My dad on the trail.
We follow an old miner's trail.
Nice view of the valley with one of the many mine claim posts we found up here.
Another claim post.
Looking down a deep canyon. We were thinking of heading straight down this. Good thing we didn't. We later noticed it was full of dry falls. Probably a canyoneering dream.
More of the miner's trail. My dad hard to spot and above the trail.
One of the many prospects we would find.
The Blue Jay (Queen) mine.
Top of a 50' shaft.
Note the hand winch on the left.
Old fuel tank and stove parts in here.
I can make out "California" and "Flap Jack Flour" "Excelsior Cereal Mill"
Old can next to a rustic forge. Note slag, ore and metal tips to drill bits in foreground.
Dan and the laddered shaft.
Nearby, we find the remains of the mine camp.
A couple of stone cabin sites and some tent sites.
Probably a tent site.
Dan on the trail.
Some camp litter.
They must have blasted solid rock for this cabin.
Another rock cabin site. This one has historical writing in it.
"J V M & C. 1906. 7"
Coffee pot, purple glass bottle and burro nails.
All of the cans I noticed were Hole-in-Cap style.
These miner's had one terrific view.
Miner's trail as it heads out of camp, to another mine.
Hard to read this bottle's fragments. "Liver and Kidney" sticks out. Possibly it is a "Lash's Kindey and Liver Bitter" bottle from the late 1800s.
Dan points out that this looks like it could be from a bottle of "The Great Dr. Kilmer's Swamp Root Kidney, Liver and Bladder Remedy."
Hole-in-Cap can with a twist key opener.
Old cans are scattered all around.
A side soldered can.
We find another "Lash's Liver & Kidney Bitters Tonic" bottle. It was popular in the early 1900s for curing all sorts of ailments.
All Hole-in-Cap cans.
We find a can dump.
Dish and can.
Looking back at camp as we head down the trail.
The canyon deepens as we look back towards the start of our day.
Dan along the trail.
We find a corner claim marker.
It marks the northwest corner of the Queen claim.
What a view! We find ourselves on the edge of a 500' cliff. With Swifts flying right passed our heads.
Another view down at the canyon bottom.
View to our right.
This remote spot makes for a good photo op.
Dan takes a photo of me too.
We find another claim marker. This seems to say "NW Cor Queen 1"
Yet another claim marker: "SE Cor Central".
Our trail continues, but we are running out of steam and time. We turn around near this point.
Back at the Blue Jay mine, we explore around some more. There are a few more small prospects and claim posts here.
Copper stained rocks.
This is the only Opuntia we saw flowering.
Back near the start of our day, we find another old camp. Here are some old tent poles.
Dan finds a bottle of vodka. Empty, though. Sorry Dan...
Photo of the camp.
As we bid farewell, we spot one last resident of this lonely corner of Death Valley.
Last Updated on August 4, 2020 by
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