2015 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Part One: Another Exciting adventure!

Every summer I spend my five-day vacation camping and exploring the desert, mostly in Nevada but also in the Mojave Desert and parts of eastern California. I explore old ghost towns, mines, mining camps and anything else of interest, while enjoying the beautiful scenery and wide open spaces.

Despite some car problems and a terrifying near-wreck, I had a great time on my 2015 trip and saw a lot of interesting new places, and revisit a few sites I hadn’t seen in a long time. And I shot a lot of photos of amazing ruins, vintage equipment and historic structures.

As usual, you can click on any of the photos or links in the article to see more photos of each site...

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

Mazourka Canyon, CA

My first scheduled stop was Mazourka Canyon, in the Inyo Mountains east of Independence, CA -- a long drive from San Diego. Shortly before I arrived, the air conditioning quit in my old Isuzu Trooper.

I had been to Mazourka Canyon once before, but only as far as the large ore bin that stands near the road, below the canyon itself. Up within the canyon, I came to a small mining camp at a spring-fed oasis. The claim on this mine is still active and is worked on a part-time basis. There is a modern cabin of ribbed sheet metal, and a much older shack with an arched roof and grape arbor.

Above: Grapes hang from the vines growing on the arbor outside this shack.

Right: A large lizard suns on a rock.

Below: The outhouse is built on the edge of an old mine shaft. A metal chute directs the waste away from the side of the shaft. A bucket of water from the spring is used to wash down the chute.

Right and below: Later on my way back down the canyon, I found some concrete foundations near a timber-lined mine tunnel. By then it was getting late so I didn’t explore the interior of the mine beyond the portal.

Black Eagle and Alhambra Mines, CA

From the bottom of Mazourka Canyon, I took a very long, winding road up the face of the Inyo Mountains. Eventually I came to the Black Eagle and Alhambra Mines. These two mines are very close together and I’m not sure which is which.

There is a solitary cabin at the site, accessible via a short hike from the trail. There is an adit (mine tunnel) next to the cabin. On a nearby slope is a mine shaft, along with the remains of a wooden headframe and tracks leading to the mine dump.

The interior of the cabin is not very inviting, with a dusty dirt floor and spider webs everywhere.

A bit farther up the trail I found a homemade steel trailer, apparently for hauling ore. On another branch of the trail, I came across an old insulated trailer, a powder magazine, and various scraps of abandoned equipment.

Somewhere along the way on the long, rough ride back down the mountain, I lost part of one the aerial photography rockets I was carrying on top of the Trooper. By the time I discovered it missing, it was far too late to go back for it.

Kearsarge, CA

Between Independence and Mazourka Canyon, the road crosses the former roadbed of the Southern Pacific Narrow Gauge Railroad. Originally built as the Carson & Colorado Railroad, the SPNG ran from Mound House, NV to Keeler, CA. It lasted until 1960.

The railroad had a station at this site, called Kearsarge. The building was torn down in 1955, and little remains at the site today. I don’t know if this RR crossing sign is a restored original, or a replica, but I like the look of it.

A short segment of narrow gauge track has been installed next to the road, along with a historical marker.

Nearby there is an informal pet cemetery, almost hidden in the sagebrush.

Later that night I crossed the state line into Nevada, and camped in the Sylvania Mountains. Here’s a photo of a large spider I saw weaving a web that night...

Go to the next page to read more about my 2015 Nevada/Mojave trip:

Nevada Trip 2015 Part Two

Coming up:  The mining camp of Sylvania, a portable mill, vintage vehicles, the Four Aces mill, and a brush with disaster as the adventure continues!

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 subjects for dioramas, or for 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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