Thursday, September 29, 2016

Searching for an Old Desert Mine (Color Version)

On our last trip out to the desert, we went looking for an old mine located about 20 miles or so east of 29 Palms, CA. If you know this part of the desert, then you know the area is remote. Very remote. I read about this mine and it appealed to me because it looks like it's only a short drive (3-4 miles) off of Highway 62 with some cool stuff to see. I researched it carefully on Google Maps, planned my route, packed up the Jeep, and off we went!


Well, best laid plans. We didn't get more than a few hundred yards off the pavement before the sand got super-soft, deep and powdery. Even in 4WD, we were close to getting stuck. I decided not to risk it, turned the Jeep around, parked, and we had a little picnic. The mine will have to wait for another day and another way to approach it. I haven't given up yet!


My granddaughter wasted no time getting dolls out and playtime started!


And certainly not a wasted trip. I took the opportunity to photograph some of my favorite desert denizens (smoke trees). These bushy trees are found in desert washes and have a strange beauty all their own.
My wife even found a geocache. We know nothing about geocaching, and couldn't figure out what this little tin filled with... something... was doing in the center of a creosote bush in the middle of nowhere! We opened it up, my wife made an entry in the logbook, and added a couple treasures. My granddaughter was fascinated by it!
Highway 62, looking west. For Skywatch Friday "Sun in Your Eyes" edition!
In this stretch of the desert, Highway 62 is pretty quiet with limited traffic. However, you still want to pay attention to the occasional car or truck when you're out in the middle of the road taking pictures!


Sand sculpture!
While exploring the area, I came across two old water tanks and dry wells. See that big rusted-out opening on the side of the tank? Here's what it looks like from inside the tank:


Another view of the water tank, this shot is facing north. The mountains are starting to take on a slight purple tint.


One of the last shots of the day. As the sun was setting in the west, the mountains took on this incredible purple hue. Also, you can see what's left of some old fence posts. This area must have been something back in the day, with two wells and evidence of fencing. Perhaps an old ranch house? A nice opportunity for future research to see if I can't trace the roots of this area.

Next post I'm planning on B&W shots of this same location. I really prefer them. It's such a remote and lonely stretch of desert that B&W works perfectly. But I'll let you be the judge.


Linking with Skywatch Friday.
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Thanks for stopping by!!


36 comments:

  1. The desert offers different charm all its own. I love your photos.

    Worth a Thousand Words

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  2. Hello, awesome desert photos. I like the smoke trees, the sky thru the well and the view of the mountains. Great series! Happy Thursday, enjoy your day and weekend ahead!

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  3. I am a fan of B&W for many things, but having seen these shots, I'm glad you were feeling colorful. Loved the "inside the tank" shot. Wonderful post.

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  4. You deserve these great shots! You are a land captain, voyaging beyond the trod places, on your own guts and know how! You are prudent as those who are self reliant have learned to be. Well done

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  5. So enjoy your varied desert scenes. most appealing is the smoke tree.

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  6. Such an adventure and your granddaughter is totally comfortable with it. I love geocaching. I am addicted to it. The rest of my family cannot stand it.

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  7. Even without getting to your destination you ended up in a beautiful place with your granddaughter.

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  8. Gorgeous photos! You've done an amazing job with that desert light.

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  9. Nice tour of the desert with wonderful shots.

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  10. The desert looks so mysterious! It looks like you found some unusual sights even if you could not make it to the mine.

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  11. Always impressive photos of the desert. The one with your granddaughter made me smile.

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  12. Lovely light and texture in these shots.

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  13. Great photo's of the Desert. Love the Jeep, great car to have to go off road. You need fatter tyres and less pressure to run over sand like that though even then I'd be cautious. Trust the little granddaughter not to have a care in the world and sit down & play but then that is what she should be doing

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    1. Ps Geocaching https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocaching

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  14. Great shots again and that trees are unbelievable, so well adapted to their surroundings.

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  15. Sounds like you'll be doing more geocaching in the near future! Fantastic desert shots especially loved seeing the purple mountains but my fav was the shot from inside the old metal water tank!

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  16. Fabulous post. Your granddaughter is adorable.
    You really know how to capture the beauty the desert offers.. these images are wonderful!

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  17. ahhhh, enjoyed. Love visiting the desert vicariously with you. I spent so much time in the desert in my youth...every visit you make me feel 10yo again.

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  18. Beautiful photos as usual. My daughter was into geocaching for a bit when she was younger.

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  19. Oh my, how I miss the desert. One more month and I hope to be back in it. I don't do geocaching but did find one quite by accident in the forest. It was well hidden too. You may wonder how in fact then did I find it. I'm always looking around on the ground where ever I go. You'll never find your fortune looking into the sky.

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  20. Superb collection and fascinating accompanying text!! I hope you did not put your granddaughter into the tank to make that shot ..lol.. How fortunate to have access to the desert!! Only in recent trips have I begun to appreciate its immense variety and opportunities to shoot.

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  21. Pictures of the desert are fabulous and so different from my neck of the woods.
    The picture looking into the rusted out water tank was really cool.
    The purple mountains are beautiful.

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  22. The water table must have dropped greatly over the years-- and I'm sure it is still getting worse out there. The soft sand reminds me of once getting stuck while driving along a beach-- tried to turn around as tide was coming in and had to enter the dry sand. Got out with a little help from my friends!

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  23. The water table must have dropped greatly over the years-- and I'm sure it is still getting worse out there. The soft sand reminds me of once getting stuck while driving along a beach-- tried to turn around as tide was coming in and had to enter the dry sand. Got out with a little help from my friends!

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  24. One time we flew a rented airplane to Death Valley to meet friends who were camping by truck. We all climbed in and headed out into the desert. He's a geologist and we learned a lot, but then a huge sandstorm struck. We had to hunker down in the truck to wait it out. Even then the dust leaked in through every crevice. When we got back to the airport the plane had bounced up and down on its tethers and bent the tail tiedown ring. The rental company wasn't happy, but there wasn't any way to tie it down tighter. - Margy

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  25. smoke trees? Can´t remember ever seen any before. Beautiful in their own right. You take your granddaughter to many adventures. Glad though you did not risk it. As you mention, it will be another day for you. A hike maybe. :)

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  26. Whew, better safe than sorry -- getting stuck out there does not sound fun at all. The purple mountains are breathtaking. We loved the smoke trees we saw all around that area. It's so cute seeing your granddaughter make herself (and her dolls) at home in the desert just as if the whole place is her own personal playground. I guess it sort of is, which is wonderful!

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  27. Your granddaughter is so cute! If I were in her place, I would probably be sleeping already but she found a way to amuse herself :D My favorite shot is the one taken from inside the tank. Awesome composition!

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  28. I love these trips into the desert, so different from my own experience. The quality of light and the resulting colour is beautiful. I like the otherworldliness of inside the tank!

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  30. It may not have been what you had initially planned, but it looks like you all had a good time. You also got some fantastic photos! sounds like a great day.

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  31. Purple mountain majesty. Love that last image. the whole area is beautiful.

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