(This is Tuesday’s post)
No wind this morning when Pheebs & I stepped out into the pre-dawn darkness. Beaming stars from mountain top to mountain top told me we were in for a clear sunny day. But I could see my breath in our coach’s amber outdoor light. A bit on the cool side but knew by mid morning we’d once again be in short sleeves.
We had some general directions on where to find the Antares (an-tar-ees) cabin but nothing specific. Knew it was somewhere near the NORTH STAR GOLD MINE site on the southeast corner of the Kofa Mountains up King Valley Road. With turkey salad sandwiches made up we swung the Jeep left out of our campsite & headed ourselves in an easterly direction. At marker 00 we again swung left & headed north straight for the Kofa Mountain range.
HEADING FOR THE KOFA MOUNTAIN RANGE
CAME ACROSS THIS UNUSUAL FORMATION WHICH WE KNEW NOT TO BE NATURAL
WE SUSPECT IT HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH MINING & WAS DUMPED HERE
GOT THEM A ‘KING OF THE CASTLE’ GAME GOING
It was a sunny morning again but we did have the Jeep’s heater snapped on for about half an hour until things warmed up outside. The road we were on was not new to us. We had been up this road & into this neck of the desert once before back in February of 2010. Had our little 2 wheel drive Hyundai Santa Fe at the time & it handled a lot of these roads just fine & especially King Valley Road which is reasonably smooth in spots.
JUST A LITTLE DESERT & MOUNTAIN SCENERY ALONG THE WAY
We spotted mine tailings on the mountainside ahead & knew from our map this was likely the site of North Star Mine. Turns out it was. Turned left off King Valley onto a narrow rocky road which led us maybe a quarter to half a mile in toward & almost right to the mountain base where we could see evidence of once upon a time mine buildings & workings. Old iron pipe gate with a wire across so parked the Jeep & we were off on foot the last few hundred yards or so. Spotted an intact building ahead & as we made our way closer we began to suspect this just might be the Antares Mine Cabin.
LOOKING CLOSELY YOU CAN SEE MINE TAILINGS & CONCRETE FOUNDATIONS
A plaque out front confirmed it was indeed the cabin. Not a little cabin like I had expected but a substantial intact building. And surprisingly enough it has not been trashed like we so often see with other old buildings out in remote areas. No broken windows or doors. How nice to see the rabble rousers have left this cabin alone. Even a bench on the porch.
Doors were locked of course but I was able to take some flash photos through the windows. If only these old places could talk oh the stories they could tell. The North Star Mine operation itself was only another few hundred yards beginning on a gentle slope & then crawling right up the steep mountain base.
THAT OLD WITH STEEL SINK IS THE EXACT SAME TYPE OF SINK WE HAVE IN CONGRESS
BUNK BEDS & NOTICE ALL THE NATURAL WOOD FLOORS & WALLS
EVEN SKY LIGHTS
We had walked about half way from the cabin to the mine site when I noticed Pheebs had stopped in her tracks staring straight ahead & up. I followed her site line & sure enough she had spotted a Bighorn Sheep making it’s way up the steep rocks heading away from the mine. Over the next 40 minutes while exploring around the mine we kept an eye on that Bighorn & he in turn kept an eye on us. We later saw him doing something rather strange.
In the meantime we spotted a mine shaft going straight into the mountain & it was easily accessible. Kelly sat on a rock watching the Bighorn while I slipped through the entrance into the horizontal shaft. I was right away surprised by the warm air coming out of the darkness ahead & stacks of crumbling cardboard cartons containing rock core samples piled on the ground. There were hundreds of them stacked along the mine shaft floor stretching far back into the tunnel. I ventured in about a hundred feet or so & the shaft just kept going & going & of course getting darker & darker the further I went from the entrance. With only my camera flash to light the way I decided I had better not go any further.
MINE SHAFT ENTRANCE AT LOWER LEFT
PHEEBS STAYED AT THE ENTRANCE WHILE I HAD A LOOK AROUND INSIDE
PRETTY DARK INSIDE & WARM
DOGGY WAS WAITING FOR ME BACK AT THE ENTRANCE
THIS IS A PIECE OF ONE OF THOSE CORE SAMPLES
KELLY WAITED OUTSIDE THE MINE ENTRANCE KEEPING AN EYE ON THE BIGHORN HIGHER UP
We continued our exploring around the site & I would say this was the best old mine site we have ever seen simply because much of what was there maybe 50 or a hundred years ago is still there. Especially old weather beaten lumber. An old wooden sluice box running down hill. Numerous old wooden ladders lying about.
THIS WASHED OUT AREA WOULD HAVE ONCE BEEN FILLED WITH BUSY MINE WORKERS
REMAINS OF EITHER A WATER OR CYANIDE TANK
Climbed up onto some thick reinforced concrete foundations where once heavy mining equipment had once been installed. Probably a stamp mill. This was obviously a fair sized operation at one time.
A HEAVY EQUIPMENT STAMP MILL MAY HAVE STOOD ATOP THIS STONE & CONCRETE WALL
I’M GUESSING A HEAVY FLYWHEEL ONCE TURNED IN THIS CONCRETE CHANNEL & AM GUESSING THAT WIDE STRAP OR STROP WAS ON THAT FLYWHEEL
ALL THIS SURE STIRS ONE’S IMAGINATION AS TO WHAT WAS HERE & HOW IT ALL WORKED
I was able to make my along a rough foot path to a section of the mine which I assume was the main pit. A wooden ladder went straight down into the inky darkness of a black hole & I could not see the bottom. Lot of old heavy lumber lying about here with a reinforced wooden girder which was probably used with some kind of block & tackle affair to bucket out the mine’s diggings. The vertical shaft was all boarded off with old lumber but if someone wanted to go down that old ladder into the shaft they could. That someone would not be me!! What an amazing place this was. One could almost hear the noisy clanking heavy mining equipment working away grinding heavy boulders down . Miners & workers shouting back & forth over the din. Shift changes as men came & went. What a history this place must have had.
Meanwhile the Bighorn sheep had moved a bit farther up the mountain but Kelly was still keeping an eye on him because he was up to something.
YOU CAN SEE HIS WHITE RUMP IN THE VERY CENTER OF THE PHOTO
He had stopped at a Barrel Cactus & was butting it with his head & pawing at it with his legs. This went on for a long time & every time he butted it the Cactus waivered back & forth. He reached his head up to the Cactus & was maybe eating parts of it. Unfortunately our binoculars were back in the Jeep.
HE REPEATEDLY HEAD BUTTED THIS BARREL CACTUS
HERE HE PAWS AT THE CACTUS WITH HIS HOOF
IN BOTH THESE PHOTOS THE BIGHORN & THE CACTUS ARE IN THE CENTER…RIGHT PHOTO SHOWS ABOUT HOW FAR AWAY HE WAS & IF IT HADN’T BEEN FOR PHEEBS SPOTTING HIM EARLIER WE NEVER WOULD HAVE SEEN HIM…AND IF KELLY HADN’T KEPT AN EYE ON HIM WE WOULDN’T HAVE SEEN HIM AT THE CACTUS BUT WE MIGHT HAVE HEARD HIM……….
We probably spent an hour at the site just looking around at everything, taking photos, & watching that Bighorn. Took a few last photos of the Antares Cabin below & that was about it.
KELLY SPOTTED THIS ROCK WITH A BUNCH OF GOLD FLECKS IN IT:))
We could tell Pheebs was thirsty so we made our way back down past the Antares cabin in the direction of the Jeep. We couldn’t help but notice the heaping amounts of broken green glass. Not just the usual stuff left by uncaring people. No, this was much more than that & the types of broken bottles all seemed the same. Beer bottle size. We’re guessing this may have been the dump site for the mine plus the nearby long gone mining town of Polaris.
Back at the Jeep Pheebs had a big drink & we all got right into our turkey salad sandwiches with chips. No pickles this time, too messy. For Kelly & I this is our kind of favorite day. Out exploring, seeing & finding things we had never seen before. Historical old places & events. And all the time surrounded by clean fresh air & some of the most magnificent natural scenery Mother Nature has to offer anywhere. How could we be any more fortunate.
Another desert road led off towards the southwestern side of the Kofas & we knew it to be a dead end road. Slipped on down it anyway to see if there was anything at the end. Just more beautiful scenery just as we expected.
CLOUD SHADOWS ON FLOATING ACROSS THE MOUNTAIN TOPS
Followed the road back & turned in the direction of another old historical mine about a mile & a half away called the KING OF ARIZONA GOLD MINE. There are a few people living out here close to that mine so we didn’t venture up to it. Prospectors can be a little unpredictable when it comes to Gold claims. Just some telephoto shots of what I think were King of Arizona Mine buildings. And a few shots of some dwellings we think people lived at. I had taken similar photos here back in 2010.
I’M GUESSING THESE ARE THE MINE BUILDINGS AT THE ‘KING OF ARIZONA MINE’
WE THINK PEOPLE LIVE HERE
It was a dust filled bumpy drive back across the green desert floor to our rig. Stepped on it a bit on our return & made it in about half an hour. It was going on 3 o’clock so our great exploring day had lasted about 5 hours. Again, it was our kind of day here at the Bayfield Bunch.
ANOTHER SHOOT-OUT WITH OUR CAMERAS ON THE WAY BACK TO THE RIG
Our fresh water tank is low so we made the decision to head for home in the morning. We have water jugs here to pick us up more water but we both agreed it was time to head home for a rest anyway. Again it is what’s so great about having a sticks & bricks base right here in the middle of Arizona. Just as we so much enjoy getting away on our boondocking adventures we also so much enjoy returning to our Congress home base. As has been said so many times, ‘the best of both worlds’.
<<< PUTTING THE SOLAR PANEL DOWN IN PREPARATION FOR LEAVING IN THE MORNING
Deciding on an RV lifestyle is a major decision in anybody’s life made even bigger if one decides to sell everything they own & hit the road traveling full time in their RV. Probably the biggest hurdle after a decision has been made to do that is selling one’s house. This can go well or it can turn into a bit of a nightmare for many. Case in point is MERIKAY'S recent post. Stress is an everyday factor at the moment as she & husband Craig deal with the frustrations & disappointments of trying to sell their house. This is an honest from the heart post & Merikay pulls no punches about how she & Craig are feeling about this & what has been happening because of it in their lives. I always appreciate & respect people who are honest enough with their feelings, themselves, & others to write posts like this………………
GROANER’S CORNER:(( I think most everybody has required the services of a Lawyer at some point in their lives & have no doubt come away with some of the following feelings………………
- Why is it that many lawyers have broken noses?
From chasing parked ambulances.
- What do you call a lawyer with an I.Q. of 50?
- What do you call a lawyer whose gone bad?
- What's the difference between a lawyer and a trampoline?
You take off your shoes to jump on a trampoline!
- How can you tell when a lawyer is lying?
His lips are moving.
- What's the difference between a dead dog in the road and a dead lawyer in the road?
There are skid marks in front of the dog.
- How many lawyers does it take to roof a house?
Depends on how thin you slice them.
- What do lawyers do when they die ?