Thursday, May 20, 2021

Johnny Lang Mine

 If you google "Johnny Lang Mine", nearly all of the search results direct you to Johnny Lang and the Lost Horse Mine. The Lost Horse Mine is a popular destination within Joshua Tree National Park, and it's perhaps the best preserved mine in the Park. Johnny Lang discovered the Lost Horse Mine, so I guess it's not surprising that this is where Google directs you.
 
And yet, there is a location called "Johnny Lang Mine". It shows up on some maps. In the desert blog sites and social media pages I follow, I can't recall seeing a post, or even a photo, of the Johnny Lang Mine. I love a good mystery, and places that are off the beaten path and rarely visited, so join me today as I try to find the Johnny Lang mine!
 
The drive in to the spot where I'm going to begin my hike is absolutely stunning. Driving this old dirt road through the Joshua trees was one of the highlights of my day. Unfortunately, this day turned out to be hot (upper 80's). The hike would lead me up a mountainside, so lots of elevation change. I was hiking solo in an area I've not hiked before, so important considerations were to proceed with caution and carry lots of water. I am also carrying a Garmin InReach (since there is no cell service in the park) so I can send my wife my location on a regular basis.
 
I spot this interesting arch on my drive in.
 
Throughout this hike, I would be seeing dead Joshua Trees. In 2009, the so called "Lost Horse Fire" burned 450 acres in this area. It destroyed many Joshua trees, pinion pines, and junipers. The area is still in recovery mode, and it's encouraging to see new sprouts coming from some of the damaged Joshua trees.
 
There is no trail to follow to get to Johnny Lang mine, so I'm hiking across open desert, following a route I've saved to my handheld GPS. My track is being recording on my Garmin GPSMAP 64st and also on my phone using the Gaia GPS app. In theory, the data recorded at the end of the hike should be identical.
 

Interesting rock formations.
 
Beautifully balanced boulder!
 
The rocks in this area are getting interesting and colorful.
 
This rock catches my attention. First of all, it looks as if it was placed here. Secondly, it's got a lot of interesting color in it (predominantly gold, although hard to see in the photo). I have no idea what a gold nugget would look like in nature, but perhaps something like this?? It's quite large, and requires two hands to lift it. Have I struck it rich?? 😉
 
Scallop rock. My climb to the top of this small mountain is starting to begin. It's steep, it's hot, and I'm huffing and puffing. For this kind of hiking, you take your time. One step at a time, rest as often as you want, and enjoy the scenery along the way!
 
After a long uphill slog, I finally make it to the top. I think that's Mt. Minerva Hoyt in the distance. Somewhere up here is where the mine should be, but I don't see it yet.
  
 

The views are nice, but where the heck is the Johnny Lang Mine??
 
Finally, my first view of the mine! I'm going to have to climb down to it. My legs feel like noodles from the long climb up, but I think I can make it. It's a long hike back so I have to be smart and keep some gas in the tank.
 
I'm disappointed, but not surprised, that the mine has a protective cage over it. It will make it hard to get any decent photos. But these mines are extremely dangerous and often very deep.
 
I'm sticking the lens of my camera through the iron cage grates to get this photo. What an interesting old crank and cable. I can't tell how deep this vertical shaft descends, or how someone would get down there to dig. Is there a horizontal shaft somewhere in the area that connects to this shaft?
 
My friend Steve C. told me that this cage wasn't here in the '80s and before. He has memories of crawling on hands and knees to the edge to look down. Both scary and dangerous!!
 
After a little more exploring, I need to start thinking about the hike back. I'll sign off here, and share photos from the hike back on my next post. Thanks for joining me on this adventure!!
 
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Stay safe & stay healthy!

46 comments:

  1. I hope you wouldn't have investigated the mine if there were no cage - puts my heart in my throat thinking about. Beautiful country and photos. I'm glad there is a cage. Stay safe please.

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  2. ...once again you amaze me with the barren beauty in the Joshua Tree National Park. Thanks for taking me along, I couldn't have done it without your help!

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  3. Your right an interesting hike in to find the mine and I can see why it is the best thing to have a protective cage over it. From the look of it's down right dangerous & I hate to think of what would happen if you fell in, no one would know, the mines here tend to go in horizontally if they are open or capped if not.

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  4. That is about as crude a pully system as anybody could devise. It couldn't have been too deep seeing how there is no mechanical advantage to the pulley. Amazing that they knew where to dig a mine. What a lot of work!!
    Did you pick up your gold nugget on the way out?

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    1. Thanks, Alan. Nope, left it where I found it. I guess I'll always wonder if it actually had any gold in it!

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  5. Just an incredible and unforgiving landscape to be in.

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  6. I'm always impressed with this landscape. What an experience!

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  8. Wonderful photos.
    Keep sharing.

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  9. Wow! great post. I too like exploring alone but rainforests don't permit naturally :-)

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  10. Quite an adventure. By yourself, in an area you really don't know and it is HOT! Mother here chastising you---LOL. Interesting rock formations and interesting mine you FOUND!. That first rock formation reminded me of an Elephant.
    Enjoy
    MB

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  11. Don't remember there was a fire there. But, from Yosemite I know it takes about ten years for a forest to start growing again after a fire. Beautiful rock formations, as always! The gold rock glistens in the sun:) Jesh

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  12. Your first picture is really a petrified elephant. (Mammoth?) I was glad to see that you take reasonable precautions, by the way. Another great post!

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  13. Great landscape and so a fantastic blue sky! Wonderful :)

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  14. I'm guessing the device you take with you is like a beacon locator in case emergency services need to find you? Its amazing how many people here go hiking with nothing.

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  15. Only the thought to make a shaft under these conditions is already mesmerizing but another nice find. After the find of the petrified elephant you also discovered a dancing Joshua tree happy to give birth again. The wonderful world of the desert.

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  16. It would take more than the hope of finding gold to get me to dig a hole in a place like that. Those miners must've been tough - and desperate - men.
    You're lucky that when you tried to search for Johnny Lang Mine you didn't get a helpful suggestion like "Do you mean Old Lang Syne?"

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  17. I like the balancing act with that bolder. It looks like it would be easily tipped over. It weights tons so probably it won´t move. In that case it would all ready been tipped over. I admire your stamina, I couldn´t do that.

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  18. Dearest Peter,
    That was again quite some discovery and with very little reward in the end... But that is GOOD!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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  19. Wow! Another great adventure for you and marvelous photos for us ~ thanks ~ Xo

    Happy Weekend to You,


    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  20. It is nice that the Park Service didn't remove the hoist when they but the cage over the shaft. Though it doesn't look like it will last much longer.

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  21. At last you found the deserted mine. The way to the mine is very beautiful, I loved the panoramas in your photo series. Once again very nice rock formations. I hope nature will recover after the fire.

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  22. Those trees are striking! I like reading how careful you are in your solo hikes. I've seen posts in state parks warning not to hike along, but I _like_ to hike alone lol I may look into one of those Garmin devices before my next little trip. Cell service can be spotty.

    I'm surprised -not knowing that area at all- that there's not signage, if not directional at least at the site. I'm impressed you found it at all! I admire your persistence.

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  23. There is a horizontal shaft below this but it doesn't connect to the vertical shaft (don't ask how I know this. The hike to this mine up Johnny Lang Canyon used to be stunning before the Quail Mtn Fire in 1979 swept through all of it. There is a water well at the mouth of the canyon that still brought up water.

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    1. Thanks again for everything. Very sorry I missed the vertical shaft. I guess a good reason for another visit? I think I've been to the water well at the mouth of the canyon. Yes, the hand pump still works!

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  24. Another "wow" moment on your blog. Just thinking of you hiking by yourself in that heat... You obviously made it back safe, but I can't wait for Part II and if you took the rock back with you. I'm voting "no".

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    1. Thanks, Alana. You can't remove anything from the park, so I left it just as I found it. Heck, perhaps I would be a rich man today otherwise!!

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  25. I'm glad to hear you have a way of communicating your location. I had wondered. I know you're an experienced hiker, but it's not a bad idea of having backup in case something does happen. Sad that the area was burned out. But nature has a way of replenishing itself after something like that.

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  26. Wow what an incredible journey!

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  27. Your photos are amazing . . beautiful . . and seems as if you've taken us to another world. Thank You SO Much.

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  28. Well done to find it! Fascinating. I hope the grate was placed on BEFORE any accidents!

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  29. A nice (visual) report of this hike, Peter. Beautiful pictures of rock formations and nice that you finally reached your goal again.

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  30. Righteous Little Adventure There And Always Nice To Experience Noodle Legs Once In Awhile - Solid Sign Your Alive - Excellent Call On The BLK & White Shot - Nailed It - Stay Strong

    Cheers

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  31. Greetings and Salutations! Oh my goodness that Scallop Rock looked like a place to nap by a pool. LOL! I liked the balanced rock and the rock with the slit through it. What an adventure and such a HOT day. I'm glad you have a GPS to connect with wife. Have a happy week end. Be safe.

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  32. It amazes me how you can post this incredible content week after week. Good job!

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  33. I don't know how you do it! You certainly have a lot more stamina than I do. Combining the heat with the steep upgrade would definitely do me in. Cool that you made it to your goal. I might have missed it in your writing, but what kind of ore was mined there?

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    1. Thanks, Susie. Some days my stamina is better than others! I believe this was a gold mine, although I don't think it ever produced much gold.

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  34. the second image looks like an elephant.

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  35. That was an amazing hike. I can tell you know what you are doing by the amount of precautions you took for this hike. Brave of you to just head out with no trail to follow.

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  36. A very interesting hike through a stunning landscape! Wow!

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  37. I can imagine your wife really appreciates being able to keep track of where you are. I think I would be on tenterhooks all the time! My daughter has just completed walking 250 miles solo on the Arizona Trail, and that freaked me out enough even though I know she is very aware of safety issues, as you are. Look forward to the next instalment :)

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  38. You left us with a teaser! As if we wouldn't be back for your next post anyway, now for sure we have to make sure you made it down! Whoa this was a difficult hike. Im kind of amazed that you had the strength to operate your camera on those rests-between-steps. But am very glad you did. Beautiful and scary. And interesting also to know about what you do to map your routes and more importantly stay in touch with home just in case. Im quite fond of armchair hiking and I enjoyed this a lot

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  39. Amazing views. I like a lot of those big rocks.

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  40. Hmmm Im thinking the bird stick kind of reminds me of a dragon. Cool shape though

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