In 1869, a group of miners and businessmen organized the Piute Company, whose purpose was to explore the eastern Mojave desert for mineral wealth. Near Clark Mountain, named after a Visalia businessman and saloon keeper who was one of the company members, substantial deposits of copper and silver were discovered. Silver mines such as the Stonewall, Beatrice, Monitor, Lizzie Bullock and Taylor drew miners from near and far and soon the nearby townsite of Ivanpah blossomed into life. The Piute Company soon dissolved as big money moved in and mines were bought and sold. This was a boom time and no end was in sight for the riches deep underground. Inevitably, though, the euphoria began to wear off as ore deposits were exhausted. Finally, in the 1890's, Ivanpah and the silver mines on the north side of Clark Mountain began their long slide into obscurity.
Yep, that's where we come in. Always up for a challenge, the Dzrtgrls, aka the Queens of Obscurity, have been doing their homework and we think that we've found the proverbial "X" that marks the spot. Heheheh. So, after an early morning gas stop in Baker, the Desert Canary is currently picking its way toward what we believe is Alaska Hill, sometimes called Mineral Hill, where the bulk of the old mines were located. Due to the lack of exact location data for each of the old mines, it's likely that we'll never be able to assign a specific name to a site. We should, though, be able to find artifacts that will enable us to see whether a given site fits into the 1870-1890 time window. That's the plan, anyway. The Clark Mountain region is now sort of the disarticulated head of the Mojave National Preserve due to its location on the north side of Interstate 15. This is a new area for us and we're really looking forward to not only hunting for old mines but also checking out the flora and fauna.
If you'd like to join us for this adventure, plug in a fan, massage your legs and grab a flashlight, 'cause it's going to be hot, the terrain will be steep and the mine tunnels pitch black! When you've got your gear together, a quick click on the photo link below will get you started.