The adventure continues!
I'm not sure if any of you know of a YouTuber named Jeff Williams. He and his wife make videos about gold prospecting and gold mining. About six months ago he came up to our mine and shot a video for his channel. This past two weeks my friend Tony was here from England, so we all got together and headed out to the south end of Death Valley to explore a large mine.
Of course I had to get a few photos of Lila, Tony, and Jeff before heading underground.
Looking down a winze full of wood and other debris. Ironically, later in the day I climbed up from a lower level and found myself coming out this opening. I thought it looked familiar as I climbed out, but it took a couple of moments to realize where I was. Rather than climbing back down through the mess, I hurried back down the same way we had just came in and snuck up behind them.
The mine is really extensive, but one of the really interesting features in the main incline. It goes down six levels in total. There are also levels above the main haulage tunnel. It's really a great mine to introduce new folks to mine exploring. There's a lot to see, and no need for ropes and technical gear.
At each level along the incline is a lift-up section of rail that allows cars to exit on a level or continue down to a lower level. Quite ingenious! At this level the incline has two side-by-side tracks. Further down they only used one track.
As in many old mines, we find various bits of equipment scattered around. We think this is probably the head off of a large air compressor.
Looks like someone pushed an ore car down incline. It ended up crosswise in the incline. Fortunately it didn't destroy all of the timbering along the incline. The wheels were stripped a long time ago. My first visit to this mine was over 10 years ago and they were gone at that time. Still, it's neat to see.
We can't tell if they were pulling track up a storing here as the mine was closing, or if they were using this as a staging point as they dug new drifts.
Here's another view of where a level meets the incline. This would have been the center of activity for each level. I wish I could have seen this mine in action. It would have been dusty and noisy, but it would have been interesting to watch.
This picture is a good example of how they ventilated a drift. These would extend the entire length of the drift, sometimes hundreds of yards long. They are made of heavy metal so it would have been a real effort to get them up in place.
It appears that the miners decided to dig underneath the rail. The rails were hanging over the edge and then continued at the other end of the hole. We didn't figure out whether they had a bridge over the hole, or whether they dug down it after they quit mining at the far end of the drift.
For you rail fans, this could be interesting. I'm not sure if this is considered a "frog" or not. We generally don't find prefabricated pieces like this in the smaller mines. We usually find ones that are built on-site by the guys who laid the track.
Another uncommon find is this rail switch. These are usually taken out by collectors or the miners when they shut down the mine. This one wasn't working so Jeff spent a few minutes getting it operational. It's fun to find operational relics.
I'm not sure of the dates that this mine operated, but the incline workings were electrified. We found a main power panel on almost every level.
Another level on our way down to the bottom. Every level had something of interest to look at. Jeff is heading into the drift to see what he can find.
Tony climbed up to see what he could find. It's amazing how often you you make interesting finds behind, or on top of, the timbering. Nothing this time though.
What mine exploring trip would be complete without finding some dynamite? It's a good reminder of how dangerous it was to work in these mines, as well as a reminder to us to be careful where we step and where we touch.
I've always loved this level. This looks like something that Knotts Berry Farm or Disneyland would build for an adventure ride. The picture doesn't do it justice. It's really neat in person.
On the way out we came across this old dynamite locker. We find these in most mines, but this one is one of my favorites just because of the neat timbering.
Another section of the mine has a serious collapse that the miners shored up with heavy cribbing. The cribbing makes a tight little passage that reminds me of a corn maze. Surprisingly, air and water lines are routed through the passage as well suggesting that they mined beyond the collapse. I need to get back there and explore that area some more.
As we headed out, Jeff, Lila, and Tony posed for one last picture. Of course Tony was too busy looking for artifacts to pose.
The day had started out a bit cloudy and while we were underground the thunderheads had started to build. By the time we exited the mine, the sky was threatening a thunderstorm. During the drive home, we stopped for about an hour and watched a lightning storm roll across the Pahrump valley. For those of you who don't live in the desert, watching a heavy storm roll across the desert floor is an amazing site.
I have included links to Jeff's videos at our Shamrock mine and of this trip to the War Eagle. I'm not very comfortable on film, so don't make fun.... Shamrock Mine:https://www.youtub...atch?v=Sl2yC29iOtM War Eagle Minehttps://www.youtub...hEMd395tHNQ&t=218s Abby Normal