The Delights of Delano on the 1st day of Summer.


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Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Original Post - Jun 22, 2018 - 09:03pm PT
For the Summer Solstice, I boiled out of Choss Creek mid-morning on June 20th, after a long-bout of rainy weather, & headed to one of the more remote old mining camps in NE Nevada.

This sign had simply been broken off on aptly-named Signboard Pass.
After a few shot up & destroyed signs & 60 miles of mostly-good gravel & dirt roads, I found Delano, or what was left of it.

Delano might not be the most remote ghost town in NE Nevada, but I think I have visited the rest of them previously. There are not many structures left in Delano, since the whole area had been burned by a huge Northern Nevada fire, a few years back.

Some assert, mining there dates back to the 1850ís & the nearby California Trail, but the 1957 book, Geology & Mineral Resources of Elko County Nevada, states the first mines were in the 1890ís & the district had produced about $2,000,000 of silver, lead, copper, & zinc, as of that date. It was mined up through the 1950ís, but there are no signs of more recent mining & no signs of recent visitors.

The road from Signboard Pass out to Delano.

After driving a very good dirt road out to the edge of the mining district, I enjoyed working around gullies in the main road that went up the bottom of the drainage below the mines. Along the way I found a mostly burned 20th century rock & concrete house that looks like it had a rock roof?

There was a "perfectly-good" old pickup truck nearby.

After some more adventure on the overgrown & eroded road up the shallow canyon below the mines, I reached a ridge & stopped there at 3:00 PM. It seemed like a likely car-camp spot.

The interesting road up to the saddle. It appears I may have been the first to drive it this year.

I parked, & while I was packing up for my hike activated my PLB & let Heidi know where I was, then hiked a steeper, overgrown road up & over to the main mines, I had noted from below.

After a bit of hiking and a bunch of smaller mines, I found some a large mine & old cabins that had survived the big fire. Although I inspected some mine dumps, I didnít find any mineral specimens of interest. Such is often the problem with lead & silver mines, especially those worked in the 20th century, when more efficient transport, meant less collectable specimens left behind. However! I found another perfectly good old truck, hidden in giant sagebrush.
At about 5:00 P.M., I craved more exercise & hiked gentle slopes up towards the summit of 6,885í Mine Mountain. I was seriously into what I call ďthe stupid hour,Ē due to low blood sugar, but there didnít seem to be any reason I couldnít stumble to the summit & enjoy cocktail hour later.
Suddenly, a five-strand barbed-wire drift-fence appeared.

I worked along it, looking for a weakness, but the wires were tighter than the legendary Scotsmanís purse-strings.

I found a spot with no obvious burrs or cactus & slithered under the fence like a spastic old snake.

I found some Bonsai sagebrush on the final summit ridge.

A little more hiking, with little elevation gain, led to the summit, which had an actual summit cairn, or was it a claim marker? Since it was the first day of summer, I thought a summit celebration inspired by a 19th century photo of the patriotic Judge Winchell, on some Sierra summit, would be appropriate.

Judge Winchell

Unfortunately, I had forgot to bring a flag along.
After a longish hike back to camp, broken by still more old mines I needed to inspect for mineral specimens, I reached camp, without having carried a rock off the mountain. That certainly made the day a success.

It was warm, but I had a pleasant breeze, & no biting insects, although the sun took a long time setting on the longest day of the year.

I toasted the summer solstice few times, cooked two brats for dinner & took some photos of my sublime surroundings & once again activated my PLB, to let Heidi know I had survived the day & settled in for the night.

Mine Mountain from camp.

It was a good Solstice day.

The next morning, I drove the higher road I had walked, although it was initially a little scary to drive, back around Mine Mountain. It led me by a few more mines I hadnít visited, but as it dipped lower, a new large mine was in view. I think this one was the Delano Mine.

After a short visit, during which I foud a rock hammer, someone left behind,

An old boiler:

A piece of ore-sorting machinery from the 1940's

and the one-time gated inclined-shaft of the mine, which someone had sawed open.

I drove a few more miles south & adventured up more washed out, but passable roads to another large mine, where I finally kept a specimen of garnet & epidote.

I was home in Choss Creek by 5:00 PM.

Best wishes for your summer adventures!


Sport climber
Sands Motel , Las Vegas
Jun 22, 2018 - 09:15pm PT
Fritz...Was driving thru the remote highways of northern Nevada yesterday rubber necking at rock formations and peaks... i was thinking about Fritz and his mining-peak bagging adventures...We must have been on the same wave length.. I have the exact same rock hammer .rj

from out where the anecdotes roam
Jun 23, 2018 - 12:12am PT
looks luscious up there, and suitably forsaken.
industrious bastards weren't they? that's a favorable assessment
in most circles, all the swells agree. ask any ghost!

i wish our sage smelled as good as yours.
thanks for the inspiration

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 23, 2018 - 12:49am PT
Nice, Fritz. Better than my solstice sitting in airports and an aluminium tube for 10 hours. But it did have a decent ending...

After dinner the evening was quite decent too...

Mountain climber
13,000 feet
Jun 23, 2018 - 01:18am PT
note Fritz has the good sense to go to remote places, in a Toyota.

great TR and sixgun!

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 23, 2018 - 07:06am PT
Gentlemen! Thanks for your comments.

RJ! Happy to see you associate me with Northern Nevada.

Reilly: I appreciate your cultural tastes. We're doing a yard sale/antique sale this weekend in a local antique store parking lot. Heidi pulled out my much-worn ancient Shakespear book & was getting ready to sell it. I quashed that notion.

Unfortunately, on my second day of old mine exploration, I kept a rock. It is a schisty specimen of small garnets & Epidote. Until I cleaned it up, & looked at it under magnification, I thought the Epidote was the lead mineral Pyromorphite.

Here's a closeup of the specimen.

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
Topic Author's Reply - Jun 23, 2018 - 09:35am PT
T Hocking! The only old dynamite stories I have are from my teen-age years of looking for pre-1900 bottles & other desirable miner artifacts in Idaho's Wood River Valley.

Happily, my parents acquainted me with the dangers of old dynamite. I remember seeing an ancient case of dynamite rotting in an old outhouse at a mine.

At age 17, my friend John Rember decided that if we pulled out some of the back wall logs from a mostly collapsed cabin, we might expose some artifacts. We instead exposed a brand-new case of dynamite that had obviously been stolen & hidden. John, who had some experience with dynamite during his familiesí building Forest Service trails, was really excited about having his very own case of dynamite.

I flat refused to have anything to do with the dynamite, but we loaded the case in his jeep & took it home to his parents, who turned it into the local cops. It was soon confirmed as stolen.

I recall reading about a prospector caught in a snow-storm in early 20th century Idaho, who found an unoccupied cabin with a stove & firewood. After he had a fairly good fire going in the stove, the box of blasting caps hidden in the stove exploded, while he was warming his hands & face over it.

He lived, but was not a pretty sight after that.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jun 25, 2018 - 01:12am PT
For the Schist Master...

Cool schist, huh? Lotta cool schist at the British Museum.
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