Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ride 5: Upper - Lower Gold Butte: "Nada" Mine

There are so many places to ride down on Gold Butte that it's a bit difficult to describe your ventures to people.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Upper-Lower Gold Butte]

You see Gold Butte, the "fat thumb" of land projecting from Mesquite toward Lake Mead, is divided (for riding purposes) into "Upper," "Middle" and "Lower." UPPER, of course, is on top and contains what locals call the "petroglyph trail" as well as several camping areas.

MIDDLE, is the strip of land which runs on both sides of Mud Wash and contains places like the Grotto, Devil's Throat and Devil's Fire as well as some very scenic riding and hiking.

The LOWER, basically, is everything below the middle — as it should be in an organized world.

The division is more than arbitrary because each is nearly an enclosed entity with it's own access. You cannot ride from the upper to the middle except by going all the way out to the edges and back in – a looong way.

Needless to say the lower is quite a drive down a dirt road so is less commonly visited except by us old farts who, for some nostalgic reason, love to see where history was made and find old mines and ghost towns.

There comes a time in every rightly-constructed boy's life when he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure.”
Samuel Clemmens, Mark Twain

The problem is that "Lower Gold Butte" is a very BIG portion and almost needs its own dividing system – which no one, yet, has come up with. The portion from Middle Gold Butte down to about the old town site of Gold Butte, I've heard locals call "Upper-Lower GB"; so, that seems as good as any name to me, and was where Gordon and I went last week.

We trailored to the Middle GB area and took the RZR down the "New Gold Butte Road" to the Cottonwood Wash fork. It was interesting to run around the fork to the left into Garden Spring, except we never did find Azure Ridge Mine.

From Historic Gold Butte Townsite we then took the loop southward around Pleasant Valley, Pierson Gap and Radio Crystal Mine like we've done several times before. We were pleasantly surprised to see that all the plastic/paper cones which had been placed in cemetery-like fashion for a failed research project have been removed by someone. Thanks!

We found that what we had been calling "Radio Crystal" was really Treasure Hawk Mine #4. Gordon must have been a miner cause he sure explained all the types of buildings that they've got there.

Radio Crystal Mine is a bit Southwest along the trail and we found it and a few pieces of rusty equipment too, although not much is happening there.

A big disappointment was that, like other places we've been, the area's springs and ponds have all but dried up and blown away. Grapevine springs is empty and dry and Falls Spring is neither a "falls" nor a "spring."

Stopping to take a quick look at the old mill stone near Gold Butte on the way back up, we met another couple of "codgers" who set-a-spell and talked with us. They gave directions that we had never heard of before, to the "real" Gold Butte mine; so, we were able to find it as well.

And, the piece-de-resistance, I spotted a hole up in the cliff on the way back and mentioned it to Gordon [something I probably shouldn't do again.] Immediately he wanted to go up to see it and followed the old logging road like a mountain goat.

It wasn't on our maps as an official mine; but, it clearly had been worked back into the hillside, had a tailing's pile and "colored" looking rubble stone at the entrance. It didn't look like anything of value had actually been discovered, and because it didn't have a name, we decided to call it: "Nada" Mine. It fits it to a tee.


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