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Report - Warm Springs Mine (with Swimming Pool!!!)- Death Valley, California, USA (March 2012)

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by 747_kirki, Mar 21, 2012.

  1. 747_kirki

    747_kirki Death Valley is Mine
    28DL Full Member

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    Sorry for the delay in posting this one up… Our mad flying visit to spend two days in Death Valley at the start of March ended with a trip to Warm Springs Mining Camp – pretty far off the beaten track.

    To get there you have to take the Badwater Road about 6miles south of the Furnace Creek Inn:
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    The mine itself wasn’t sealed up, so you could get in:
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    But we soon encountered a steep shaft dropping away to the left which (thankfully) was covered over with some fencing wire. Looking down it with a torch there was no ladder – it was just a steep shaft going somewhere deep.
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    The tunnel ahead continued on a little way but we soon reached a collapse and could get no further:
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    And just outside were some other workings:

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    Look back to where we parked the car for this side-trip (such a beautiful place out here:

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    There were multiple buildings still standing, some in a good state of repair, and people obviously use them to sleep in occasionaly if camping in the back-country overnight, of if they run into trouble. If doing this, there is a sign inside the main building asking you to keep the doors shut when you enter and depart, to avoid the packrats entering (apparently they can make a real mess of the place). Ewwwww!

    Warm Springs had served as a comfortable base camp for the many talc miners who have come and gone since the 1930s. Louise Grantham is credited as having brought this bit of luxury to the mining industry who worked here. It was by far the best mining camp I have ever encountered in the US.

    Whilst no doubt added much more recently, it had its own kitchens and a massive thick door off into a separate room. At first I thought I was opening some kind of safe, but it then turned out to be a deep-freeze!

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    Out the back there was also a swimming pool, complete with diving board. You really have to visit this place and know the surroundings to appreciate how TOTALLY unexpected this is. You are in the middle of nowhere (truly, no one could hear you scream out here), the last thing you expect to find is a sturdy group of buildings – let alone a bloody swimming pool! I can imagine this was an utter luxury on days when it can reach 120 degrees in the heat of summer.

    The pool is spring-fed, and water still trickled into it, although it was now just full of brown sludge:

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    Some other shots arout the camp:

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    TO BE CONTINUED...!

    Only a few yards down from the camp was the largest mine opening I’ve ever found in the US. It was ginormous, although totally sealed up with metal bars to prevent anyone – or any vehicle (yes, it’s that big) – from even having a sniff of underground exploring action. A heavily worn sign a little way up reveals that this mine was once owned by Pfizer.

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    Again, some research on the area revealed that talc was not the only mineral commodity handled here at Warm Springs. In 1939 gold miners erected a mill here to process gold ore from the Gold Hill Mine (a few miles away). The mill has suffered relatively little vandalism in recent years and looks very much like a reconstructed museum piece designed to display various types of ore dressing. Through a series of belts and gears, a single, horizontal-cylinder gasoline engine drives three different kinds of ore crushers:

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