17 October 2009

Lost Horse Mine

Joshua Tree National Park

Locate the trailhead.

After lunch, we rattled down the single lane dirt track to the Lost Horse Mine trailhead past the gate that closes at sunset. The trail winds upward along an old dirt track to the mine in about two miles and continues around in a somewhat longer loop if desired. Signs indicated a fire had been through the year before although we didn't see any natural signs of recent burn.

desert and mountains
Looking out over the desert to the distant mountains near the start of the trail.


Soon enough, we did come to the edge of the burn area, which changed our immediate landscape quite a bit.
 
An edge of the burned area.
Desert foreground and burned desert background. There is a difference. This is an edge to the burned area.

Burned Joshua trees with desert backdrop.
These young Joshua trees have had a hard life, but a few of them look to be green and growing. When they're this small, they still look like the usual yucca, just on a stalk.

With a bit more walking up the hill, we came upon the mine that was our destination. The most interesting workings are fenced off, partly because of the open shaft it stands above.

First look at the mine.
The main mine workings, which are surrounded by a few other leftovers from the old mining operation.

A wheel and an axel.
Some of the more mobile pieces of mine workings actually litter the bottom of the gully that would gather water here in the event of actual rain.

A wall of stones around the opening for one of the mine's old shafts.
There were signs discussing the usual map of a mine like this one although they didn't discuss this one in particular. Various shafts were dug out at all angles from the main shaft and this wall marks where one once came up.

wheels and gears
Wheels that are part of the workings that sit over the main shaft and probably held some elevator like system once.

more of the same workings
This is the same main structure with all it's apparati.

The back of the building.
The back of that same main building.

gears
The gears that kept it all working.

After looking over the mine, we climbed to the top of the mountain to see what we could see.

The desert valley below.
The desert valley below to the other side of the mountain than where we started.

The view to the right.
Off to the right of that valley, rolling hills are found.

more view
More of the view from the top of the mountain, which wasn't the highest peak around.

Most the folks up on the mountain.
Most of the folks up here on the mountain, me and a couple others missing.

We climbed back down and headed back to be out by sunset, even though the chances of the road being closed actually at sunset seemed rather slim to none. Still, we had plans. Actually, as we passed after watching the sunset, the road was still quite open. A tarantula was spotted by the trail. Although I've been told that on some nights the ground moves with the bodies of hundred of tarantulas, this was the first I've seen in the wild.

the spider in question
A California native out for a stroll. This tarantula was wandering along beside the road.

We continued on down the road again after a while looking at the rather large spider and headed for our next destination.

some dried yucca flowers
Yucca flower stalks but not a lot of flowers remaining.

more yucca (Joshua tree)
Young Joshua trees that were in flower this year. At least the one on the left was and now the stalk is draped over the other one.





©2009,2010 Valerie Norton
Posted 6 February 2010

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