Sunday, June 5, 2011

Exploring the Wide Open Spaces!

So I was studying the Joshua Tree National Park map (#226) by National Geographic.  I'm a map lover, and it's always dangerous for me to study a map because I can always find someplace new to explore.

If you're familiar with JTNP, you might know there's a big chunk cut out of the north side of the park, starting roughly from Utah Trail and extending to Ironage Rd. (east to west) and south of Highway 62 to the park boundary.  This area is labeled "Pinto Mountains" on the map, and is absolutely loaded with mines... probably at least 50 labeled mines on my map (and who knows how many more unlabeled mines exist?).  Anyway, it's fun to take the Jeep out and see if you can find them, so Saturday my wife and I set off with food, lots of water, the map, and a goal: Find Marbolite Mine.  This one isn't too remote... only about 5 miles off Hwy 62, so off we went!

So, let me cut to the chase... guess it's good news / bad news.  The bad news is we never did find a mine... no opening in the mountain, no hole in the ground, etc.  Mainly just mine artifacts such as cables and old foundations.  The good news:  a fun drive, a great place to explore, a great place to take pictures, and well worth the drive.

Mine cables cross top of mountain-top... but where's the mine?? (awesome view, however!!)
I explored all over the place... top of the peak, in front of the peak, even behind the mountain, so pretty sure there is no existing mine (probably been filled in by BLM).  Here's some additional pics from the drive.  Enjoy!

Cool rock and cable in the Marbolite Mine area.

The road to the mine tracks through a beautiful wash - SmokeTree in foreground

My wife catching the wind along the drive home.

Yours truly along the dusty trail.

Heading west on Hwy. 62 at sunset.

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