There's more to Joshua Tree National Park than rock climbing and campgrounds choked with large motor homes full of peripatetic snowbirds. Our hardy little group will ditch the masses and explore two seldom visited sites, the Contact Mine and the Pinto Wye Arrastra, and then check out the more easily accessible Wall Street Mill. For this trip the Dzrtgrls have joined forces with Guy and Alysia, Lewis, and Dezdan. We certainly feel honored to be in such good company! These are some of the premier desertologists around! Why don't you join us too? We're sure you'll enjoy these spots. As a bonus, since you'll be doing the virtual version, you won't even need any sunscreen!
So grab some water and a daypack, our first stop is the contact mine. A short hike up a wash puts us on the old road leading to this once prosperous mine. The road itself is a marvel of dry stacked rock work that enables this shelf road to maintain a steady grade to the mine. A pleasing amount of old machinery remains near the shafts, and old cans and stove parts are found near the camp.
The Pinto Wye Arrastra, our next stop, was only discovered in the mid 1960's. It sits in isolation just above a small wash and below the tailings of a short inclined shaft. It's a rare wagon wheel style arrastra, one of only two known on National Park property. There's no trail to it, so bring your GPS 'cause we've got the coordinates. If we're lucky, we might even find the old camp site that the miners used. Watch out for the cholla, though!
Well, if you thought the hard part was over, you're wrong! Urged on by the pestering of Lewis, we'll set off at dusk for an eerie exploration of the Wall Street Mill. You did bring your headlamp, didn't you? You'll need it! This old two stamp mill is one of the most intact that you'll see. It started life in 1891 at the New Eldorado Mill in Pinyon Wash, but was dismantled by Bill Keys and resurrected at its present location in the 1930's. If you survive this nocturnal adventure you can join us for pizza and spend the night camping at Guy's cabin before we come back to see the mill in daylight.
Does this sound like a good trip or what? Click on the photo link below and let's get going!