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Report - Tucki Mine, Death Valley, California, USA – 1 March 2012

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by 747_kirki, Mar 3, 2012.

  1. 747_kirki

    747_kirki Death Valley is Mine
    28DL Full Member

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    They say some people get their kicks on Route 66. Not me, I prefer to get mine in the back-country of wild, remote, beautiful America... :thumb

    So on the afternoon of Day 1 of 2 in Death Valley we headed off towards a place called Stovepipe Wells, and then took the Emigrant Pass up to a little-noticed sidetrack which the map suggested headed off to a place called Tucki Mine.

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    The road is not signed (few of the back-country tracks are out here), and it is little more than an an unimproved 10-mile-long dirt road, with several fairly rocky stretches which feel more like you are driving up a river bed than a track. Weirdly enough my SatNav from home recognises the track, and referred to it as being Lucky Wash Road. The wonders of modern tech eh – even out here! :cool:

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    Anyway, getting back to it, the history books tell us that this place was an underground operation that produced some ore from shallow stopes. The last recorded production was in December 1971. Although no figures for total production have been found, mine receipts from gold bullion delivered in 1941 amounted to almost $18,000. Mining had started here in 1909.

    Today the site contains cabins, concrete pads, and sheds ranged along the east side of a narrow gully, and assorted mine workings covering the west hillside. When we first arrived we checked out the small “residences”, which today resemble mere shacks. The doors were held shut on a catch, and inside was an explorers dream...

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    There was a sofa, bed, shelves for keeping belongings on (packed full) and a few old tins of food – mostly past their sell-by date!

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    Opposite the bed, there was also this strange cage – almost like something you’d have to keep a pet in. What on earth used to live in it
    I have no idea, but it seemed a weird find.

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    There were some mags strewn about the place too – the most recent was dated “Fall 1992”, making it nearly 30 years old.

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    There were also some tools on the wall behind the door, with a note asking people not to steel them, but to use them to help keep the shack in one piece (nice!). The floorboards throughout felt very weak, so I was careful where to step - 16 stone and bouncy boards aren't a good mix. :eek:

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    Outside of the main “residence” was a metal shack, and inside it had an old shower attacement – this must have been the place to wash after a hard day’s work down the mines. Remember too that whilst it's fairly mild at this time of year, in the middle of summer, it routinely tops out at more than 120 degrees. So a cool shower would be essential on a day like that!

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    Away from the buildings was an area for storing rock brought out from the mine, with some old wooden mill-type construction just above - and in a bad state of decay.

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    And then a little further down was the main mine opening. And this one has no bars stopping you from going in. I walked in a way, and then it spread out into a number of rabbit runs. There was a turning on the left which seemed to be partly collapsed, but ahead was a long run going far into the distance, and with a second turning shortly after on the right. Unlike Lost Burro Mine, there was nothing inside this one – just empty passageways, but you could really get the feeling inside that the walls contained a mass of history... and had no doubt made some prospectors very rich indeed.

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    I read in a book that there are several older diggings and adits on the hillside, but I couldn’t actually see any from my vantage point. A day's exploration would no doubt reveal more though, but I was pressed for time. There is also supposed to an inclined timbered shaft, and an old ore chute, but I couldn’t find them either. And you have to be real careful where there are timbered shafts, as they have often overgrown or been covered over – and you really don’t want to step on them by accident!

    Anyway, it was a fascinating find, well off the beaten track – and the fully equipped cabin was an unexpected bonus.

    To put all this into perspective though, there are widely reported to be between 10,000 and 50,000 mines in Death Valley alone - this place is ore rich. No one knows the true number, but they know its big - and many have yet to be "re-located". It's one truly amazing place - and seems a world away from Heathrow airport on Wednesday morning! Shame I’m flying back home later today…

    Will post up Friday’s explore soon – and what an explore it proved! We found an old mining camp complete with abandoned swimming pool and diving board… I kid you not – tucked away in the remotest of mountain hills in the middle of nowhere…! To follow soon! :tumbleweed
     
    #1 747_kirki, Mar 3, 2012
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2012

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