Sunday, November 21, 2021

Jail Canyon -- Panamint Mountains

We've spent some time exploring new to us places in the Argus and Panamint Mountains.  This trip to Jail Canyon was a pre-run for the Panamint Valley Days which is the California Four Wheel Drive Association's annual exploration of the area.  The local Gear Grinder's Club is in charge of the runs and we were along for scouting.  Word was that the road into Jail Canyon in the Panamints had been washed out in the monsoons in July.  Rumor turned out to be fact.  We didn't have vehicles that could take us any closer than two miles away from the cabin, so we hiked the rest of the way.  

One of the many items still by the mine.

The road in is mainly a track through the flash flood wash.  Eventually we gave up when we got to a two and a half foot sheer drop in what used to be the road.

We are heading up a canyon into those mountains.

Bob's truck as he leads the way along the road/wash.

Bob on the edge of what was once a road.

The drop off that was the end of the road and start of the hike for us.

Looking up the "road".

From Michel Digonnet's Hiking Western Death Valley National Park -- Gold was first discovered in Jail Canyon in 1899 by Jack Curran and was mined until 1901 when a flood wiped out his mill.  On again, off again mining occurred until 1930 when the property came back as the Gem Mine. The 25 ton mill was erected around 1932 and contained a jaw crusher, elevator bin, ball mill, rake classifier, flotation unit, concentrating table and 50 horsepower diesel engine to drive it all.  By 1938 water entering the mine shut it down again.  Finally, in the 1940's A. F. Troster brought the mine back to life selling it in 1949 to the Corona Mining Company.  After working to re-timber the mine, the Corona Mining Company had given up by 1950 as the amount of gold available was slim.  Troster moved back in and continued to live in his cabin by the stream well into the 1950s.  Ok, Michel has eight pages of description, and it is well worth owning the book to get all the details.

The hike was certainly worth it.  A cabin remains, the mill is in really good condition, and there is water.  A flowing stream's worth of water.  

Heading up to the mill.

BJ drops into four wheel drive mode to get up a steep hill.

The Bobs trying to figure out how it worked.

Looking up the cabin beyond the mill.

1 comment:

  1. Love your comment about BJ in 4-wheel drive hiking mode. Looks steep.
    Another interesting canyon and mining adventure. Such raw geology.
    Sturdy yellow flowering plant. Cozy cabin - still usable!