August 2023 News

This summer has been an eventful one in the Mojave Desert. The York Fire began on July 28th and burned over 93,000 acres of the New York Mountains in the Mojave Preserve, reportedly destroying several mines and cabins, including the Sagamore. I plan to visit the area soon to see the damage firsthand.

Sagamore Mine Camp Ruin
The York Fire burned the camp. See below. The Sagamore Mine, also known as the New York Mine, was a silver, lead, copper, zinc, and gold mine. It was first discovered in the 1870s by Mormons who found rich silver veins in the foothills of the New York Mountains. It

On August 20, Tropical Storm Hilary marched across the desert, washing out many roads and resulting in the temporary closure of Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park, and the Mojave Preserve. Death Valley and the Mojave Preserve remain fully closed as of this writing.

With all of this going on, it has been hard to get out, but here are the updates since the last newsletter at the end of June.

New Trips

Indian Mine, Monarch Canyon
Over in eastern Death Valley just north of the Keane Wonder Mine is the Indian Mine. It is a small mine worked for gold with only minor workings and was never profitable. What makes it a worthwhile visit is the mill and its remaining single Nissen stamp mill. The Indian
Little Giant and W. A. Clark Mines
Reader-supported field notes from backcountry explorations of the Western United States
The Lost Arch
No, there is another... In 2022, while brainstorming for our annual Turkey Day Vacay, I recalled a saguaro that I’d seen in Vidal Valley and wondered if it was still there. The problem was that I’d never been to Vidal Valley, so I couldn’t possibly have seen
Lanfair Buttes Petroglyphs
The Lanfair Buttes Petroglyphs (also known as Indian Wells Petroglyphs) are one of the more extensive sets of petroglyphs in the Mojave National Preserve. There are hundreds of petroglyphs here on desert-varnished rhyolite boulders. Almost one whole hillside is covered with them. The Mojave and Che…

Updated Trips

Added photos from recent return trips

Cary Ranch Pictographs
Back in 2013, my friend Rick and I were invited out by Dick Cary to visit his historic Cary Ranch and examine some of the pictographs there. The Mountain Cahuilla Indians first inhabited the ranch area. The site is near a natural pass and an old Indian trail that connects
Fort Independence Soldier’s Camp
Back in 1862, Owens Valley was not quite as peaceful as it is today. White settlers were just moving in and starting up ranches. Prospectors were combing the hills in search of that elusive next big strike. The Paiute, Shoshone, and Kawaiisu people who lived here didn’t appreciate being

Added photos from 2011

American Flag Mine Cabin
Also once known as the Mojave Hilton, I couldn’t find any history on the American Flag Mine or the cabin. I first visited the cabin in 2011 before any repairs had been done on it. I stopped by for visits in 2016 and 2022. You can see the work done