Sunday, April 7, 2013

THE Trip, THE Encore' :: Aguereberry Camp and Eureka Mine, Death Valley

Copyright 2013, CABS for Reflections From the Fence

March 11, 2013

On the return ride from Panamint Springs, we took a side trip.  Off of 190 heading in a southerly direction between Panamint Springs and Stovepipe Wells you can find a road named Wilderness Road.  We climbed a bit in altitude, to at least 4812 feet.  It was a narrow area, curvy road, that went on for some miles. The day was growing short and we did not entertain the idea of riding home after dark, so we had to cut the ride short.  There were some really interesting things further up that road, but, there simply was not time to drive an additional 20 to 30 miles (one way).  So, disappointments aside, we found a mine that was only 2 miles east on Aguereberry Pt.  We decided to drive those 2 miles of dirt road and see what this mine was all about.

You can see the dust that Jolly kicked up in the side view mirrors.  Dust and dirt everywhere:

Gold was discovered here in 1905 by Shorty Harris and his partner, Pete Aguereberry.  Pete was born in Basque France in 1874 and after a short lived boom/gold rush here, Pete was left alone to mine his claim for 40 years until his death in 1945.  It appears that the National Park service has just left things as they were in 1945. Time and some vandalism have changed things some, bullet holes here and there, that sort of thing.

The remnants of three buildings were found.  That and maybe an out house up the hill (you can barely see it off the right side of the main building.  Man dared to step inside two of the buildings, I did not.  The outsides were rough enough for me.

Not far from the buildings are the remains of the mine, believe this is called a adit.  An "adit is an entrance to an underground mine which is horizontal or nearly horizontal, by which the mine can be entered, drained of water, ventilated, and minerals extracted at the lowest possible level." (see the Wikipedia page for more information.)

Bullet holes and a stick to hold up the trunk. I have no idea why that trunk needs to be open, however, if it had anything to do with critters, again, I just am not going there.  And, I did not go there, Sony Too did.

An entrance to the mine, one of several we saw.

The mine is now home to the Townsend big-eared bat, an endangered creature.

(NOTE:  No, I did not take this photo.  The photo is from the Wikipedia page, it was taken by PD-USGov, exact author unknown. This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States Government as part of that person’s official duties under the terms of Title 17, Chapter 1, Section 105 of the US Code. Wikipedia links it to a BLM page, here.)

But, don't cha just love those ears??  I am a bit skittish around bats too, all that flying at one's head, eww.  But, even I think this guy is a little bit cute.  Can bats be cute??

The park service closes the mine during the winter months to protect the bats, the signage indicates that you can enter and explore at other times of the year.  You are advised to take in 2 flashlights.  Well, again not necessary, you would not catch me in that mine!  Nope, no way, nadda, not gonna happen!

I did muster up enough nerve to look deep into the mine, thanks to Sony Too, you can see what I saw.

It is estimated that Pete took around $175,000.00 out of this gold mine over his 40 years of working the mine!

The mine has a sole sentry, sitting patiently guarding.  It has to be a lonely duty.

We drove back to Tana, having put 90 miles on Jolly just in the park after we set up camp.  Death Valley, is large, desolate, eerie, quiet, dry, hot, and beautifully dark after the sun goes down.

We have 2 full days left, and many miles to travel and much to see.  Next, Scotties Castle.


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