2016 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Part One: A new adventure, with a new vehicle!

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. This year I traveled in style with my brand new Toyota 4Runner! Click here to see a fun video of my 4Runner in action during this trip.

i didn’t make it to all of the sites I had planned to visit, but still saw a lot of great stuff -- some wonderful, well-maintained miner’s cabins, an abandoned ranch, interesting mines and mills, and amazing wildlife.

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 

Above: Loading up for the trip. Most of the stuff I carry in the cargo area is rocketry related -- rockets, camera payloads, motors, recovery supplies, launch equipment, spare parts, repair supplies, etc. The two larger rockets I brought on this trip were mounted on the roof rack. (Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to fly any rockets on this trip.)

Then there’s the basic camp gear -- sleeping bag, pad, chairs, tarps, tent (just in case), clothes, etc. Plus tools and extra gas.

On the rear seats I had two ice chests full of food and drinks; a box of miscellaneous supplies, camel pack and belt bag. Extra sodas and non-refrigerated foods were stored on the floor between front and back seats.

Front passenger seat held my camera bags.

Jasper Queen Mine, CA

My first stop was the Jasper Queen Mine in the Mojave desert north of Trona, CA. The mine itself was a waste of time, nothing but a couple shallow prospects and no structures or artifacts. But this old wrecked car body on the road to the mine was pretty cool.

Corona Mine, CA

My next stop was the Corona Mine in Jail Canyon, in the Panamint Mountains. This was a much more interesting site, with a well-maintained cabin, a vintage truck, homemade ore crusher, an ancient mine and mill, etc.

The trail to the mine was very rough and rocky, with the last quarter mile running atop a long pile of large rocks. On the way there I caught a brief glimpse of a bighorn sheep that ran across the trail and was gone before I could get a photo. The trail only goes as far as the cabin; to get to the mine and mill requires a hiking a path that is heavily overgrown with brush, reeds and trees.

Just after I passed the mine and was checking out some of the old equipment scattered up the canyon, the walking stick I’ve been using since 2004 broke. I decided not to go any further since I had no way to probe for rattlesnakes in the brush along the trail.

Above: The cabin interior was neat and reasonably clean.

Left: The cabin’s kitchen. There is water from a spring in the canyon.

Below: The ore bin and tracks from the mine.

Above: Two small shacks across the canyon from the mine.

Right: A very early model Fairbanks-Morse one-cylinder engine that once supplied power for the mill at the mine.

Below: The mine and mill, which are around the bend from where the ore bin is located.

Above: Another view of the mine and mill, from up the canyon.

Below: On the way out of the canyon I saw this wild burro watching me from a distance.

Minnietta Keystone Mine, CA

After leaving the Corona Mine, I just barely had time to visit the Minnietta Keystone Mine in Thompson Canyon, on the west side of Panamint Valley. By the time I got there the sun had already set, but there was still enough light to get a few photos.

The mine is located high on the mountainside, and I didn’t have time to hike up there on this trip. The ore was transported down the mountain via a simple aerial cable tram, to an ore bin and small mill or crusher at the bottom of the slope.

The Keystone Mine was one of three original claims in the Minnietta area, back in 1876. The mines were worked until the late 1940s.

Most of the artifacts here, including the ore bin and mill ruins, are from late in the mine’s history. However there are also traces from a much earlier period.

Right: The mine can be seen high above the mill ruins.

Below: The setting sun casts a warm glow on the tops of the mountains east of the valley.

Above: I made a very brief stop at this cabin in Minnietta, where I found a broom handle to replace my walking stick. I returned to Minnietta at the end of my trip, so I’ll share more about that site later in this report.

From there I continued north into Nevada, eventually spending the night at the Lookout Mine...

That night was the peak of the Perseid meteor shower, and I had hoped to use my new DSLR camera to get some photos of the meteors. But I had trouble figuring out how to configure the camera for time exposures, so I missed out.

Go to the next page to read more about my 2016 Nevada/Mojave trip:

Nevada Trip 2016 Part Two

Coming up:  The Lookout Mine, Black Butte Mine, Nevada Rand Mine, a large tungsten mine, antelope and more as the adventure continues!

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

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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