Fall Haul

Part II

PSR and Darwin Wash

An ore loader high up in Darwin Wash.

Ahh... Panamint Springs Resort. An oasis in the north end of Panamint Valley. Life slows way down here. Nature takes the place of television. A pristine valley takes the place of the city and the sound of your heart beating is all you can hear when you are out in the canyons.

I am about a week early for the actual Hallowpalooza that is planned for the following weekend but who cares? I have a little job to do in Ridgecrest that will break up the week and in the meantime I am free to relax and explore. After getting settled into my campsite I decide to catch up on some reading. I'm in the middle of 'Deep Enough' by Frank A. Crampton. The story of a working stiff in the Western Mine Camps.

I decide to take a little trip with the dog out to an old favorite cabin nearby. Once there I see by the log book that only a few visitors have been out to this remote area in the last 8 months and it is in good shape and very clean. The Osborne cabin had become part of a project called the Adopt-A-Cabin Program sponsored by the BLM. Volunteers would donate time and materials to rebuild and refurbish old mining cabins for use by visitors wishing to spend a night or two in them. Last year Chris (B-Spec) and I spent 5 days in this one during the Spring Fling. It gets so quiet out there that you can hear a lizard sneeze a mile away. The Adopt-A-Cabin program has since been discarded by the BLM due to lawsuits created by one miner who didn't give permission to let her ruined cabins be rebuilt by the volunteers. What a shame!

The job in Ridgecrest only takes a couple of days and then I am back at PSR for the beginning of Fall Haul. Our first destination will be Darwin, via the old road up Darwin Wash which will take us past and through some old mining sites, mill sites and a couple of springs. The wash is very picturesque and colorfull as you will see in the photos. At the end of this excursion we will come out in the back side of the town of Darwin. Darwin is but a ghost of it's previous self but still has a people living there. The Darwin Mine has been closed for some time but some of the towns people still do some light mining in the area. But our main goal is the wash itself so that is what we will concentrate on in this report.

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Camp is set up at PSR. Looks a lot like Palm Springs! A nice afternoon in the shade. So far I am the only one here for the Haul. This campground is Tabby approved.
A lone white rose decorates the area. Later on the nightly breeze blew it's pedals away. The sun is setting near the Osborne Cabin. Tabby waits patiently as we approach the cabin. We arrive and Tabby goes immediately to work holding the dirt down so it won't get away.
A view from above the cabin. More photos of this cabin can be seen here. B-Spec admiring his work at PSR. Night time has it's moments. A dual ore bin for loading is the first thing you come to in Darwin Wash. Everybody photographed this thing.
Looking back down from the ore bin we see where we have been. This little road heads up to one of the adits. You ever wonder about these when you look back? A closer look at what you drive and depend on when traversing these trails.
Looking down on the dual are bin. Looking up at the ruins of a mill site and smelter. The caved tunnel leads to the bottom of the smelter. Tabby seeks some shade in the tunnel entrance. Notice the blackened rock lying about.
One last look at the over photographed dual ore bin... We arrive at a mill site on the west flank of Zinc Hill. A Lucky Pabst can lies amongst some litter. This mill site has seen better days.
An old shaft. A look down the shaft. Tailings dump. I came real close to stepping on this sleeping rattle snake.
You can see him perched on a shelf near the center of this photo. Zinc was milled here from adamite and limestone. Small amounts of silver and lead were also found here. Looking down from the top of the dump. A look back down the canyon at the old Eichbaum Toll Road.
A can dump of good size. It turns out that they are all one quart oil cans. What ever powered this mill used a lot of oil. This old car is really torn up! Debris lies scattered about.
A small barn and corral at Miller Springs. This water tank was used to send water to the Darwin Mine. The ladder to the tank is locked. Pump controls.
One of the three pumps I found. Water is pumped into the tank and then pumped over the mountain to the mine. Another pump house. This gauge shows the gallons per minute and number of gallons pumped. The pipe that takes water from the main pump house to the mine.
This powerefull electric motor ran on 3 phase 220 power that came from Darwin. It was used to pump water over the mountain. The water pump. Out it goes.
And up the hill. My answer to Jaime of the Dzrt Grls. A look at the walls of one of the mines above Darwin Wash. Tabby says it's shiney in here!
Another candidate for "Where In The World Is Panamintcharlie Dot Com?" An old time car wash. These didn't have "Hot Wax" till the 80s. Ore chute and tramway ruins. Doug (desert4wd) says he gets better gas milage if he gets out and pushes.
China Gardens Spring with koi fish and everything. Tabby takes a swim. The fish seem to congrgate at our feet in hopes of some tastey morsels. Nancy and Patty at China Springs Garden. Good time for a lunch break. The spring fed pond.
What's left of a hammer mill pokes through the roof of this shed. A peeping Doug. Top view of the mill shed. Ore was fed down to the hammer mill through a series of crushers and seperators from here.
The remains of a foundation for a small stamp mill. Maybe one or two stamps. Looking back at the spring from the mill site. Another look at the pond. An out of place photo of the Zinc Hill Mill.
An old light fixture made by the Crouse Hinds Co. Other side of the fixture. We arrive in Darwin and Doug's Rubicon looks kind of out of place. Old Darwin Post Office and Gas Station. The attached cinderblock building is the morgue. Peek into that window sometime.
So ended our day trip to Darwin via the old toll road up Darwin Wash. We left Darwin out highway 190 and stopped at Father Crowley Point on the way back to PSR and beer on the porch.
Gas Prices were really high back in those days.

Fall Haul Part III

Back To Part 1