The California Master Map having been split into North and South, room for more trails exist; although, the way things are going the southern map may need splitting again shortly. One hundred and twenty-eight new GPS locations for mines and other waypoints have been added to the Darwin Falls Trail. [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home: Southern California Master Map.]
On top of that, eighty-six new trail segments (both ride and hike) have been added … WHEW! These new additions have been submitted by an "anonymous reader" who apparently is some sort of "mine aficionado" scouring southern California for mines and their data. Credit where it is due to Mr. Anonymous; but, the data needs substantial re-working so I'll pat myself on the back as well… even if I need to dislocate my arm to do it.
We love submissions – any submissions – at Offroading Home; but, because these were anonymous, and no information was given about where they came from or how they were generated, we need to verify each trail by hand comparing them to satellite images. We don't publish those which don't match what looks like a plausible trail on the map.
Because there are so many, it also required a complete re-do of the map structure. The many new waypoints and trails are in a folder by themselves which can visually be turned on (default) and off by checking the box in the Google Earth sidebar, in case it gets too cluttered for you.
Each trail will change colors as you hover over it (so you can tell where it begins and ends) and the waypoints have popup description boxes. This should give riders who've never been to the area a great resource in planning trips to this Inyo County area near Death Valley and Owens Lake.
Finding Information About MinesAbout the new trail areas, and resources to find mine information, the submitter writes:
"The Darwin Hills area is literally full of mines, it is a place for rock hounds and for collectors of minerals. There is no need to enter mine shafts, just dig around in the mine dumps and mine tailings. Very nice specimen can still be found this way.
Some hints about sources for information about mines:
1. The overall best source is the USGS: http://mrdata.usgs.gov/mrds/find-mrds.php; but, even there you will find some position errors and some mines are missing.
2. Another source is the Mindat: http://www.mindat.org/ However, there are also some inaccuracies in the position it gives as well. None-the-less it is very useful because it has all the details of the minerals found, including images.
3. A third source is FindTheBest: http://mineral-resources.findthebest.com/ This site has the advantage of a reverse search function – you enter the coordinates and it will search for all mines in the vicinity. Although it works, I find that it is not very reliable. It still is a useful function however.
If you already have the name of the mine, go to the search function of USGS and confirm the findings with Mindat.
If you are hiking or off-roading and you find remains of an unknown mine: Note the coordinates and search with FindTheBest. Then verify the results with USGS and Mindat. If you have a smart phone and an Internet connection, you might be able to do this even in the field.
You will see that many different mines have the same name. For example there are at least 40 Lucky Jim Mines in the U.S. Another problem is that many times the same mine has had different names over the years. Therefore, an additional identification is needed and the "Deposit ID" used by the USGS seems the best, it is a number with 8 digits, like 10285464 which is the ID for the Lucky Jim Mine in the Inyo County." [Ed note: The submitters Deposit ID numbers were not included in the map's pop-ups due to space/size considerations.]
This information may be more than many of you want to know, but I, for one, generally enjoy riding an area much more if I know a bit about what's there – or if there's a little mystery to solve. Oh, and he also wants me to warn you that it's best to obtain permission of the land/mineral rights owners before entering posted lands and to be safe and behave yourselves – which we always do without needing to be told, right?