Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hole-in-the-Ground Hike

Driving east on the lower half of Geology Tour Road along the south-facing Hexie Mountains, there are clear signs of mining activity. I carefully checked out the area on Google Maps, and yes, signs of mining are all over the area. I planned my route and added coordinates to my GPS.
See the disturbed soil at the top of the hill in the middle of the photo (above)? That's an example of an easy to spot area that's been mined. If you were to hike up there, you might find an old mine. Or perhaps just a hole in the ground. Or perhaps nothing. The authorities (BLM, NPS, etc.) have done a good job (many would say too good) filling in and fencing off old mines. It takes some of the fun out of exploring these areas when they are filled in with little left to see. You have to get pretty remote to find intact mining areas.
I started my hike going up this old mining road. Doesn't look much like a road, does it? Those old miners and their vehicles must have been tough and gutsy, or perhaps downright crazy!!
I made this hike back in April when things were a little cooler and some of the cactus were in bloom.
This area has abundant red barrel cactus. This shot is at the top of the old mining "road" before it veers off to the right.
One of the many areas of mining activity that turned out to be simple holes in the ground (likely much more extensive back in the day, but since filled in).
The old mining road as it turns and parallels the mountain. I would not want to drive this road! I decided to follow it further up the mountain.
Hey, this looks more promising! To this point, everything I've come across has been holes in the ground.
Turns out this was just a shallow exploratory mine, and ended after about 30 feet or so.
The view looking out.
One of my favorite shots from the hike... a hedgehog cactus next to a red barrel, both in flower.  Nice colors in an otherwise rocky and barren environment!
More sign of past mining activity. See the heavy cable coming out of the ground? Also, a good view west toward Geology Tour Road and Pleasant Valley.
What should we call this rock formation? Dinosaur's Back? Dragon Spine?? I like this B&W version.
How about this one? Birdrock??

Time to head home. I can't resist stopping to take this photo (even though I've taken a bunch from here in the past). The exit sign and picture of the sedan out here in the middle of nowhere seem so odd and out-of-place, they always make me smile!

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36 comments:

  1. So many intriguing photos of this desert world. Love the desert colours - cactus flowers and rocks and sands. Just beautiful.

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  2. My eyes are so drawn to the beautiful cactus blooms. I love these shots.

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  3. That old mining road would be perfect for a mule, don't you think?

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  4. Wonderful view and superb clicks.
    Greetings.

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  5. Beautiful cactus flowers, dinosaur's back and a small tunnel.

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  6. Awesome place to visit, maybe they had tracked trucks to go over the roads

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  7. Always sharp and crisp. Love it.

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  8. Hello, the road does look awfully rough. I like the red barrels and the hedgehog cactus blooms. Lovely series! Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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  9. Wonderful to see those colorful flowers in the middle of that strange and dyr landscape.
    Your sky is crisp and clear as always. I like your gesture to change our skies for some time. :-)

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  10. ahhhhhh you make me miss my Southwest.

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  11. Interesting place! Great picture of the Hedgehog Cactus.

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  12. Yes I can see why you'd name that rock formation Bird Rock! Love the view out of the cave mouth and the last shot is a winner!

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  13. wow!the cactus flower looks great in the desert

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  14. Wow, certainly rough terrain. It looks like another planet. I love the cactus flowers. These are beautiful photos.

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  15. I have come across many abandoned mines on hikes in the desert and each time I wonder what prompted someone to start digging here? The spot looks no different than over there, or there. Love the scenery and flowers.

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  16. I enjoyed viewing the desert...quite different terrain from where I live (Ontario,Canada)--ontheland

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  17. A different and fascinating desert from the one I'm used too- lovely to see your photo journey depicted so beautifully and I love the pink/red/blue sky one.

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  18. Another nice tour with great shots. The shot from inside the "hole" made me think of scenes from "The Searchers". I confess I wouldn't want to be out there in August.

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  19. That's quite a moonscape, relieved only by the beauty of the cacti. Superb photography, as I've come to expect when I visit your blog.

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  20. Thank you for the fun hike. I specially like photos no. 3, 4 and the one of the hedgehog cactus.
    EmCi @ Pret-a-Vivre

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  21. I so enjoyed the cyber hike to mines and viewing cacti in bloom. Illinois doesn't have areas that look like this land you get to explore. Lucky duck! All the images are amazing.
    JM, Illinois

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  22. Love the cactus blooms!
    I would guess filling in the mines is done as a safety issue. You must have noticed that people get dumber every day - they could carelessly walk along and fall in a hole.
    Have a wonderful week-end!
    Lea

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  23. such a desolate but beautiful area. love the red barrel cactus.

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  24. The cactus flowers are gorgeous, and I like the name "Dragon's Spine" for the rock formation. Great photos!

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  25. Such a beautiful area in the desert, you got some great shots. I spent some time a few months ago exploring our area's mining history and I need to make several posts about it.

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  26. Growing up in the west there were lots of old mines up in the mountains. I remember the roads to them also being pretty much impassable looking but I guess that it was all about minimizing cost rather than trying to get civil engineering awards. You are braver than I checking into the shallow mines. They look like great snake dens to me.

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  27. What a wonderful set of images!! I admire your determination and curiosity, both rewarded with some great shots, especially the two cacti and the 'stegosaurus' rock...and that last image elicited a big smile from me, too. Kudos!

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  28. Your favorite is my favorite!!! Gorgeous color against a gorgeous sky!!!

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  29. interesting what you can find with GPS and a little research. Wish I was younger :)

    I hope you got some rain. We don´t really get "rain" only showers. :(

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  30. I just love the landscape there and the cactus flowers and so pretty, we don't have anything like that here...

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  31. Very exciting exploration! I was thinking how hot it must have been until I read that you went there in April. Love the cactus in bloom. It is so hot and humid right now in south Florida that it is hazardous to walk too far away from home and air conditioning.

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  32. Great photos from an amazing place!

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