I had heard about this arrastra from a blog I follow (http://cali49.com/jtnp/2014/6/7/pinto-wye-arrastra). Here's the challenge: there is no trail leading to the arrastra. It's literally out in the middle of the desert, and you need to hike cross-country to get to it. The blog helped me figure out the ballpark location, but how do you find a small speck in the middle of the desert??
Here's my technique. After an extensive search on Google Maps, I finally found something that looked suspiciously like the arrastra. Just above it appears to be mine tailings, and just below it a wash, so I knew it had to be the arrastra. Here's a screen capture.
On Google Maps, when you right-click, it gives you the exact latitude/longitude information. For the Pinto Wye arrista, it is 34.028742, -116.028038. Try it out... go to Google Maps and type in this latitude/longitude. It will take you exactly to the arristra. Pretty cool, don't you think? Here's where I had to get a bit creative. There is no cell service in the park, so I can't use Google Maps (or equivalent) on my phone to help me find the arrastra. I have an app called MotionX GPS. It lets you download maps ahead of time so you can find your way, even without cell service. Better yet, you can enter and save latitude/longitude information (called "WayPoints"), and the app will show you the way to the exact spot! As I made my way across the desert in search of the arristra, I frequently checked my phone to see if I was veering off in the wrong direction. It worked perfectly! In the "old days", a compass and topo map served the same purpose.
So off I went, fully-charged cellphone in hand and plenty of water with directions to 34.028742,-116.028038, trekking cross-country through the desert. I really don't think I would have found the arrastra without my phone app. The terrain looks totally different from the ground as compared to the Google Map satellite view!
It was a perfect day for a trek across the desert.
Mild temps and beautiful skies as I hiked around the boulders!
According to my phone app, the arrastra should be over and just a little beyond this peak!
If you look closely in the above photo, you can see a small placard on the right. The arrastra is just above it and to the left.
The Pinto Wye arrastra... I found it! Middle of nowhere, with no trails leading to it, but here it is!
The drag stone... used to crush the gold ore. I checked the area for gold nuggets but didn't find anything. Worth a try, though, right? You never know...
Double wagon-wheel construction.
I hope to post "Pinto Wye Arrastra Part II" next week with some photos of the mine near the arrastra. I might even post a "Part III" because I found some very cool surprises on my hike back to my Jeep, so stay tuned!!
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Have a great weekend!!
Have a great weekend!!