Friday, October 27, 2017

Monarch Mine, Nevada

After leaving Sprucemont, Nevada (see the previous post), we continued up Spruce Mountain about two more miles.  The road got much rougher, although it was not nearly as difficult as we expected.  I did use four-wheel drive, and in one or two places low range, and was glad I recently added skid plates to my truck.

Our first view of the mine area included a few houses along a side road.  The area is very steep, with houses on different levels of the hillside.

Most of the buildings are frame houses, but there is one cabin made from massive logs that probably dates back to the earliest days of the mine, around 1899.

This is a true ghost town.  Many buildings are totally collapsed, and those that are still standing have a lot of damage.  Some look like they were nice at one time, but now the wallpaper is peeling and the ceilings coming down.  But, their positions high on the mountains had great views from the windows.

There is a huge crumbling ore bin right in the middle of the residences, and a mine shaft nearby, so miners didn’t have to go far to work.  The gigantic timbers were held together with massive nuts, bolts, and square washers.  Now many are gone, and others are beautifully rusty.

The Monarch Mine was a big producer of lead during World War I.  According to the USGS website, 

"About $200,000 worth up to 1902; 21,000 tons ore worth $475,000 from 1919 to 1921; more production through 1952. Total production was over $1,000,000 worth, including some zinc and copper."

This photo gives some idea of how steep the mountain is, and how houses were built on plots leveled out of the hillside.  We enjoyed exploring the townsite, but didn’t stay long because snow flurries started, and we were a long way from pavement.  The Spruce Mountain mining area was well worth the visit.

I hope you enjoy the photos, but please respect the copyrights and do not use them for any purpose without permission.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Sprucemont, Nevada

We were on our annual fall camping trip with plans to explore ghost towns in Montana.  Then the weather went bad and we decided to migrate south.  We spent a day in Wells, Nevada and searched for ghost towns in the Spruce Mountain mining district.

We were looking for Sprucemont, about 10 miles from the nearest paved road, and got into a maze of dirt roads on Spruce Mountain.  When the roads got worse we decided to turn around and look for another route, and I spotted the remains of this log cabin high on a nearby ridge.  It is an unusual double cabin, which makes me think it could have been part of a string of businesses along the town’s main street.  The other side of the cabin has collapsed, and most of the dirt roof is gone.

We looked uphill and saw other structures.  These were much newer frame buildings, which had all been vandalized, and a few had totally collapsed.  The weather was heavily overcast with a storm moving in, so the light wasn’t very good, but then the clouds broke, and I got a decent photo of this old house.

Sprucemont began about 1870 when several mines were started on Spruce Mountain.  By 1887 there were five saloons here, but just a year later, mines were closing and Sprucemont was nearly deserted.  In 1899 the Monarch Mining Company was started, and Sprucemont came to life, but was again nearly deserted by 1913.  In the 1930’s a third period of mining started, and continued through about 1952.  By 1961 the district had ceased all production.  This helps explain the different building styles we see at Sprucemont.  The big log cabin likely dates from the first or second era, and the frame buildings from the third.

The people who lived in Sprucemont had a million-dollar view of the East Humboldt range. The cloud shadows crossing the valley seemed to emphasize the immense space of the valley at the base of Spruce Mountain.

From here we continued up the mountain to find the Monarch Mine.  I will try to post that adventure in a few days.

Please remember, these photos are copyrighted.  I will allow them to be used for charitable purposes, but charge reasonable fees for personal use.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

St Charles Canyon, Idaho

This has been a strange year for fall color.  It seems that wherever I went I was too early, or too late, or the color just never got very good.  The one exception was St Charles Canyon, just a few miles from home.  I went there on a cold, stormy day with Bruce Gregory and Stephen Johnson who were visiting from California.

The mountain maples were incredible.  They had an amazing variety of colors ranging from yellow to red.  Most of the aspens hadn’t changed yet, so there was some green in the mix as well.

Blue Pond Spring is one of the most beautiful spots in St Charles Canyon, but moose have been known to chase people away from here.  On this rainy day, I had the pond to myself and enjoyed the willow reflections.

Some of the maples were yellow, making nice substitutes for the still green aspens.  They made a beautiful background for the white bark of this aspen.

The green aspen leaves contrasted with the brilliant maples, especially the red ones.

Raindrops looked great on incredibly red mountain maple leaves.

As we left the canyon we stopped to photograph one last scene where a line of maples climbed the canyon wall to the top.  I think the wet stormy weather had a lot to do with the amazing color, and St Charles Canyon was the best we saw this year.

Please respect copyright laws, and do not use my photos without permission.  I will give permission to use photos for educational and charitable purposes, but charge a small fee for personal use.