Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mojave National Preserve visit 1/13-1/15/2014, Pt 2/2.

I started this hike thinking that I was going up to the Globe Mine by following the middle fork of Globe Mine Road, but thanks to the drycyclist, I now know that I hiked up to the Good Hope Mine, the Globe Mine is reached by following the left fork. By following the right fork you can also experience this hike that I read on another blog and hope to do one day, once I am in a little better hiking shape. Note that in the videos I refer to the mine as the Globe Mine by mistake.
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Above is the view from Kelso Cima Road where I parked my car along the shoulder. Note it is not a good idea to park on the other side of the tracks for a couple of reasons. A) you might get stuck and this did happen to me once a few years ago. B) sometimes the trains will sit and idle for hours blocking this crossing. If that happens you will just have to sit and wait.C) the possibility of vandalism. Hardly anybody stops and goes over this crossing. Your car can not be seen from the road side of the tracks if you park on the other side as the rails are up on a levee.
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View down hill looking back toward the tracks. Note the sandy road surface. The photograph below I call “Holding on for dear life.”
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Below note that the road has become a lot worse. Do not bring a passenger car up the middle fork of Globe Mine Road, that’s my safest advice.
While a high clearance cargo van would make this part, it gets worse further up and I recommend high clearance suv or truck, preferably 4wd on this road. The left fork I personally drove a cargo van all the way up to the wilderness boundary a few years ago but recent rain events might have washed it out. The right fork I have not traveled on and make no recommendation.
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There are worse spots ahead and don’t bring a typical city slicker truck or suv up here; you know the type, spinner rims with 20” bandaid tires wrapped around them, no “trailer queens” on this road. Your vehicle will pick up a few scratches going up this road, you are hereby warned. It is 3 long, sandy miles up to the Good Hope Mine and they are tough miles in places.

Another strong bit of advice is to not attempt this hike in the summer. Warning! You could die on this hike in the summer! If you do still insist on hiking it then, stock up with at least 2 gallons of water. This is 600 feet of elevation gain going up, sandy both ways, and you will probably be hiking in over 100 degree weather. I am 59, work at a sedentary job and not in the best shape. It was a moderate hike for me but in the summer I would have ended up sprawling on the ground hiding from the blazing sun under the meager shade of a creosote, probably with heat exhaustion or stroke.
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Can you imagine laying out under that meager shade looking off at Kelso Dunes, waiting hours for the sun to go down?
Below is another section of bad road.
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After about an hour and a half, I came upon the mine vicinity but first I started seeing old rusty food cans and other metal debris scattered along the road. That told me I was close. Then I came upon this cement building foundation which had a fire ring alongside it. I am not sure if it was from the mining days or brought later by site visitors.
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Below is the fire ring which is hidden by the creosote bush that my new Trekking Poles were leaning against.
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I sat on the edge of the foundation for a few minutes enjoying the cool breeze, it was about 62 degrees F and eating a Clif Bar(white chocolate macadamia) and washing it down with my still cold water which I had in my waist pack. Then it was time to do a little more exploring.
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In the above shot, you are looking up the hill from the pad by the fire pit. The road follows to the left to other parts of the site and veers off to the right prior to that and across a rugged, deep wash to the main mine shafts/stamping area dead ahead. When I saw that wash, I wondered how anybody, even in a jeep could drive up there, but believe it or not, there is a website online where I saw a photo of a Toyota truck coming down from up there. Unbelievable!
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Above is a close up taken from the same location as before, the steep and rugged part of the road crossing the wash lies below the bottom of this photo.

Around the bend there was a pad with a fallen wooden structure which I video’d, here is a screen capture showing it. The rest of the photos that follow are all video screen captures as well.
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The shaft above, or possibly an adit, has been partially filled in with rubble, possibly by the park service but I would not want to fall in, it might not be possible to crawl out. Note the dirt covered rock edge. Be careful when you approach shafts like this as the ground could cave in right under your feet. Not far from here was the possible foundations for a stamp mill plus the main shaft, cement lined with fallen head, as well as another very dangerous shaft and the ore hopper, along with remains of some sort of tank system. Again all following photos are video screen captures.
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Take great care approaching the shaft photographed next, you could very easily slide in and down a long way. In my opinion, this is the most dangerous shaft on this mine site.
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Looking down the shaft. Note I hold the camera way out and am not close to the potentially loose ground next to the opening.
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That was pretty much it. Gathering up my trekking poles, I started hoofing it the 3 miles downhill back to my car. I wish I could say it was easy walking back in the sand, but overall it was still tough, but not quite as bad as going uphill.

Once I got back to my car, I celebrated by popping the top on that still cold bottle of Sioux City Sarsaparilla, shut down my smartphone app, US Topo Maps Pro which tracked me and provided the following information:

Start 10:28:00
Duration 3h 36m 29s
Distance 6.11 mi
Average speed 1.69mph
The next I had to scrutinize the GPX file for, max elevation in feet was 3,041, minimum was at my car, 2,379.

Overall I was pleased with the US Topo Maps Pro android app which seemed more intuitive to me than Viewranger, and only cost me $5 from the Amazon app store vs about $11 at the Google Play store. I plan on putting it up on an ad here soon. I was also pleased with my Hikker HP-5 Anti-shock Hiking Poles, $25.50 at Amazon and with the book by Michel Digonnete,”Hiking the Mojave Desert: the Natural and Cultural Heritage of the Mojave National Preserve.”

Hope you enjoyed the report. Here are a couple of final thoughts. I am surprised that the park service has not closed off these shafts or filled them in. A couple are extremely dangerous, my guess is that due to the difficulty in reaching this site, it is not a priority. If you come here with children, do not leave them unattended, it is a long way to the bottom. If you come alone as I did, take extreme caution and let others know of your destination. While it is only 5 miles as the crow flies to Kelso Depot, do you really want to place a bet with your life?

I seriously doubt that people come up here on a weekly basis.

Later on, I will put some of the videos up at Youtube but it won’t be for a few days.