Due to a lot of pre-dawn driving, we arrive at the wilderness boundary just as the first tendrils of sunlight climb over the Providence Mountains and brush the landscape with rich morning colors. There's excitement flowing as we stretch our legs and tighten up the straps on our day packs. We're hoping that today's hike will enable us to crack a few of the mysteries that surround the Tough Nut. What, for example, will we find at the lower well site? What's at the lower camp where the tunnel and grave site are shown on the topo maps? Will there be any water at nearby Tough Nut Spring? Just how tough is the steep climb to the upper workings where tunnels, shafts and ruin symbols are shown on the maps? Yep, lots of questions to answer.
Even our pre-trip research hasn't turned up much about this spot. We know that the mine is mentioned in the Sept. 15, 1894 "Twelfth Report of the State Mineralogist" but we still don't know when it was first discovered. The only other hit on the name comes from the Barstow Printer newspaper which ran an article in the March 10, 1916 edition that made mention that "F. G. Latham of the Tough Nut Property is making good headway on the tunnel, with excellent prospects of reaching something soon." Maybe, if we finally get this hike underway, we'll reach something soon as well! Heheheh.
Have we got you hooked? We know that we already are! We've been itchin' to do this hike for quite a while. Even though we're making an early start, we still have the feeling that this is going to be one of those dawn to dusk character builders. So, if you're coming, grab your cyber hiking gear and click on the photo link below. We're going exploring!