Christmas In Ballarat 2006

Part I

The Arrival

Sunset At Ballarat

Greetings from Ballarat. Once again I find myself out in the desert of the Panamint Valley for the holidays. Of course that's the way I like it. I would be under the stars with a nice warm fire and a few good friends. No plans really. Just hang out and see what each day offered.

The "Jack Rabbit" mine would be one exploring trip shared with Dezdan, B-Spec and Kelly. Of course Tabby The Wonder Dog would also be along. Another great trip would take Dan and I up to the Baldy mine and Mill Site or more colorfully called the Hobbit Mine by Jamie. Bill Gossett showed up in the Scout early one morning rounding up a couple of visiting Germans who were also there in a Unimog. Eric (Badtux) would accompany Bill and the Germans on a trip through Pleasant Canyon / South Park loop with me along as far as the World Beater Cabin. There was snow up there and I'm only locked in the rear so I opted to turn back. I visited the Osborne Cabin as I usually do just to check on the condition, and it's a really quiet place just to relax for the afternoon. Barkers Ranch up Goler Wash and Novac Camp up Surprise Canyon were also to be included in the list.

Wild Bill dropped off a ton of firewood at so we had great campfires to gather around each night. (Thanks Bill!) Desert Wonder and Desert Dad were camped out in the valley. They were there for most of the evening activities and we went on different runs together during the days. While they were out exporing one place we were out exploring another and could hear each other on the radios. We also ran into Older and Younger Fossil and passed Kelly with the Cow going the other way on Trona Rd. We met two hunters in Clair Canyon and I got to take Lepidium and his lovely wife Riannah up there to look at her ancestory. She is a direct decendent of the Clairs from Clair Camp. Her mother's hand prints at the age of one year are in a concrete footing. Riannah is expecting a new little explorer any day now and she is already looking for baby back packs and a 4wd stroller.

After a few business trips to Ridgecrest and a wonderful Christmas at Ballarat I found myself at PSR for the last few days of the trip where I just relaxed before heading home on New Year's Eve.

We'll start off with the arrival in Ballarat camp ground and the first trip up to the "Jack Rabbit" mine. The primary mineral here was tungsten and was operated up untill the 60s. The mill site here was completely powered by electricity that was produced by two huge diesel powered generators. I don't know how much power they put out but they were huge. One has been vandalised for it's copper. And if you haven't guessed by now, the "Jack Rabbit" is a code name for the mine so it doesn't get vandalised further.

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All set up and ready for anything. The morning sun heats the trailer up nicely. With my Ca. fire permit I'm legal. Life is good.
Wild Bill stops in for Lunch. Tabby is fixated on his MRE. Sunset in Ballarat. Same sunset a bit later. Reflections in the windows.
A nice warm fire and good friends. A great evening in Ballarat. Our first trip takes us up to the Jack Rabbit Mine. Not an easy place to get to. My Blazer is too wide to go the distance. Dez gives Tabby and I a ride and after a long and scary trip we make it to the mine and mill site.
Lots of interesting machines and gozintos. Everything at this mill was powered by generated electricity. Tabby takes a break amongst the machinery. B-Spec lends some scale to the huge jaw crusher. The conveyor belt is intact and this thing looks like all it needs is some fresh batteries to start up.
Another view. Dez checks out the ore and the bin. Wouldn't this make a great water fall? It looks as though most of the milling was done right here on the premises.
The two huge generators. I don't know how much power they put out. Another view of the ore bin and jaw crusher. Another view of the millworks. Tram cable leading up to another bin at the mine.
Chris takes a closer look at the vandalised generator. This stuff is private property folks. Differnt view of one of the two generators that powered everything at this mill. A look back as we get ready to leave. Notice something missing from this picture? The only building is in ruin. It looks as though it was vandalised.

Part II - The "Hobbit" Mine and The Osborne Cabin