Christmas In Ballarat

Part II

Defense Mine and Lookout City

The Defense Mine
  • Location - Ballarat
  • Goal - Defense Mine and Lookout City
  • Date - December 27 - 2005
  • Participants - 9 - Jay, Mira and Logan. Chris and Kelly. Bob and Muie. Larry and Tabby the Wonder Dog.

There was another trip we did on the 26th but due to circumstances I got no pictures of this run. Some heavy weather was due to come in so Chris, Kelly and I decided to snag the Stone Cabin in Briggs Camp. We headed up South Park Canyon to find that the cabin had been taken. Briggs was taken also so we decided to head back down and go up Goler and find a cabin for the night. This meant we had to hurry back down to camp and leave a note for Jay and the others as to our intentions so they wouldn't come all the way up to Briggs Camp to visit us when we weren't there. We then headed up Goler Wash towards Striped Butte Valley only to find that all of those cabins were also taken. We found this out as it was getting dark so we just headed back to camp with our tails between our legs and set up again in Ballarat. So much for Adopt A Cabins.... By the way. I did more night wheeling on this trip than any other in my life...

The trip to Defense Mine is now tops on my list of great trips. First it was the absolute heaviest of rock crawling and hard core wheeling I or my Blazer have ever done much less think about doing. If Jay hadn't shown up at the beginning of the trail I know Chris and I would have turned back. Jays superior knowledge of spotting and wheeling is what got us up and down that trail in one piece. Or at all for that matter. (Thanks Again Jay!) Mira also helped out by getting out of the Jeep and shooting photographs of us doing the hard parts. I haven't seen those pics yet. I'll add a link when I get it.

The Defense Mine is truly the largest and most intact that I have been to so far. It is enormous in size and has many levels. Even though we spent quite a bit of time there we only scratched the surface and need to go back. After exploring the mine we took a side road up to Lookout City. I'm told that there was a huge smelter up there and we found some ruins but not much is left. The coal for the smelter came all the way from Wildrose. On the way back down I clipped a razor sharp rock and sliced one of my tires wide open. We all stopped for a brief time while I put on the spare and then we all carefully headed back down the trail towards camp. That night we would burn the Christmas Tree and then Chris and Kelly would head back to Utah the next morning.

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This Ore Bin is the first sign of mining on the way to Defense. Another view as we pass reveals a caved adit. Chris's Exterra and Blue Sky Jeeper and Jay in front on the way up. Ditto
Here we are... What do we do now? Me standing in front of the ore auditors Office at the main ore dump. Tabby likes this place. Tabby and I in front of an adit. A work bench for lining out fuse lengths for explosives.
Another view of the explosives bench. Well it doesn't say Keep "Out" so LET'S GO! Chris and Muie try to figure out what these symbols on the intersection wall mean. Just keeps going and going and going....
The symbols we are trying to figure out. oops,,, back here again LOL!.... Box on the tracks. Blinded Chris with the flash LOL!...
Looking up a stope. The secondary exit. Ladder up to another level. Some Tommy Knockers that I found at the bottom of this shaft.
Me looking down at the group. Blinded Jay with the flash. This is getting confusing.... Where's the smart people when you need them? DOH! The box again...
Blinded the dog with the flash.... I gotta stop doing that... The light at the end of the tunnel! See the tram cable from the above adits? Ore auditors shack.
Tabby tries to ride the rails. She's more of a rock dog I think. Side view of the main ore chute. Tabby checks out the rail stop. Looks like a good ride but the sudden stop will get ya....
Nice shot of the split in the tracks. Things just sort of drop off here. Ore auditors office inside. Another view of the main ore dump.
Jay helps Chris get his ExterrA over a hard spot. Jay explains to Chris why cars have paint... These were all over the place at Lookout City near the area where the smelters were. Please contact me if you know what they are. Looking up from the tears where the smelters were located we see Jays CJ-7.
Looking towards the north end of the Panamint Valley from Lookout. Mine adits that seem almost impossible to work now. The road is impassable. These are the upper workings of the Modoc for which Lookout City is famous. A building foundation in Lookout City. Rockin The ExterrA! This is what they were made for.

Part III

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