2014 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Part Three: A “lost” mine, a vintage ranch and more!

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Click on any of the photos or links in the article to see more photos of each site...

Gunmetal Mine, NV.

The Gunmetal Mine is on the east flank of the Pilot Mountains. The area is a maze of 4WD trails, bulldozed paths, and mining prospects.

At the mine’s camp there stands a fairly large wooden building that was most likely a bunkhouse. A room at one end has collapsed. Nearby are the remains of a few small cabins, reduced to rubble, as well as some small concrete foundations for machinery. Off in a gully there is the battered, rusty hulk of a small bus plus some other junk.

At least one cabin still stands among the junipers on the hill above the bunkhouse, however I neglected to get any close photos of it.

Back up in the hills somewhere there is a very large and impressive triple ore bin, with wooden ore trestles leading to it at two different levels. Due to having maps which lacked sufficient detail, I wasted many hours here trying to find this, without success. After I returned from my trip I looked it up online and saw that I had come very close to it several times but just missed it. Most of the time, I was searching in the wrong area. Next time I’ll know precisely where to find it.

Above: The interior of the bunkhouse. The handy shelves and smooth concrete floor in this part of the building make it a convenient place to wash up and escape the summer sun. A thirsty lizard was trying to lap up some water from the gravel outside, where I had wrung out a wash cloth. So I poured some water on the concrete floor and he came in to drink it.

Below: A small cabin nestled among the juniper trees, on the hill behind the bunkhouse.

Above: A hillside covered with basalt lava, down the hill from the Gunmetal Mine.

Below: While searching for the mine’s huge ore bin, I ended up hiking to the top of a mountain ridge. A steel pipe stood at the top, possibly as a claim marker for one of the mines in the area. I wonder how many times this pipe has been hit by lightning during desert thunderstorms?

Below: Bright green lichens on the face of a rocky cliff.

Turquoise Bonanza Mine, NV

Something else I found while searching the area around the Gunmetal Mine, was this interesting little cabin at the Turquoise Bonanza Mine. It’s part of an active claim belonging to the Nevada Turquoise Mining Co. The north end, covered with corrugated metal, was the original cabin built in 1945. The south end was added later.

Above: The front windows on the original portion of the cabin. I like the way they altered the direction of the corrugated metal -- makes it a little more decorative.

Below: The interior of the cabin. The older, north end is used as a kitchen. The south end has beds. Unfortunately the cabin hasn’t been occupied consistently in recent times, so now mice and rats have made a mess of everything.

By 2 o’clock I had wasted most of the day and half a tank of gas trying to find the Gunmetal Mine’s ore bin, so I gave up and returned to Mina for more gas and ice. Then I went east past the Pilot Mountains again, before turning north and heading to my next stop...

Simon, NV

The first small-scale lead mining started here in 1879. The big strike came in 1919 when silver-bearing lead/zinc ores were found. A 150 ton floatation mill was built in 1921, and enlarged in 1923. This mill operated until 1927. There are several significant mines in the area and many smaller ones, but the biggest was the Simon Mine. It had a three-compartment shaft, a total depth of over 1000 feet, and total underground workings of 25,000 feet. The town here was also named Simon.

The Simon mine was reworked in the 1930s. A power outage in 1931 resulted in flooding of the lower levels of the mine.

The buildings, ruins and artifacts that remain are spread over a large area. At the lower end, to the west, there is a mine with a sturdy wooden headframe and ore bin. The shaft here has three compartments and is lined with timbers. Nearby are foundations of the hoist house, blacksmith’s shop and machinery.

Farther up the canyon are extensive foundations and debris from the mill. A large ore bin with long chute and a trestle stand out on the hillside near the mill ruins. Atop the hill are some mine debris and two unusual shacks, one made of concrete and the other made of corrugated metal of a frame of iron pipes.

Across the canyon are the remains of a bunkhouse and several small cabins, all in bad shape.

At the Simon Mine, the headframe, hoist house, and major equipment are all gone, and the concrete collar of the mine shaft is partially collapsed. But there is an interesting building near the mine, containing the blacksmith’s shop and rows of wooden racks filled with core samples. Tracks from the mine extend through the center of the structure. Nearby is a riveted steel tank from an old-fashioned railroad tank car.

There is also a small open pit mine or quarry nearby, abandoned but of recent vintage. The site includes pair of worn-out, battered ore trucks, a 1960s vintage GMC 4000 oil tanker truck, and a trailer that may date back to the 1950s.

Click here to see more photos of this GMC tanker truck:   GMC 4000 Tank Truck

Rawhide Ranch, NV

Although no longer inhabited, this old homestead is still part of a working ranch in a remote region of central Nevada. There are numerous cabins, shops and other structures, plus a well, stock tank and corral. A herd of longhorn cattle was wandering nearby.

I arrived right after sunset, with just barely enough light to shoot photos.

Go to Page 4 to read more about my 2014 Nevada trip:

Nevada/Mojave Trip 2014 Part Four

The Lodi Hills area, Ione, Knickerbocker and more!

Skip to:   Part One   Part Two   Part Three   Part Four   Part Five   Part Six

Note to modelers:

Many of the structures I’ve photographed would make great additions to your model railroad. It is my hope that these photos can be a useful reference resource. If you need larger, higher resolution images, just let me know. Also, in some cases I have additional detail photos that have not been posted online.

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