Nov 112009

We were in New Mexico for other reasons, but managed to visit two sites while here – both in extreme southern New Mexico, near where we were staying in Las Cruces.

September 18th

Kilibourne Hole is a “Maar” – a volcanic feature where subterranean magma came into contact with ground water near the surface. The latter flashed to steam, blowing out a hole about a mile in diameter but less than a hundred feet deep. It is located about 8 miles from the Mexican border in a very empty part of New Mexico.

Kilibourne Hole Peridot

From a couple miles away you can see the edge of the Maar as a slight broad rise on the horizon. In the interior of the hole, there is a distinct layer of volcanic basalt. Under this layer, and weathered-out elsewhere, there are volcanic “bombs” that contain little specks of gem quality Olivine, otherwise known as Peridot.

Kilibourne Hole from a Distance

Here is a closer look at the wall from the outside. It is only about 20 feet tall and easy to walk up.

Wall of Kilibourne Hole

Here is the view into the hole from the top of the edge wall.

Interior of Kilibourne Hole

If you travel here, be very wary of rattlesnakes. We came across five rattlers in the space of about 10 minutes. Just make sure you make a lot of noise on the rocks so they either go away, or rattle so that you have a good shot at spotting one before stepping on it!

Blacktail Rattlesnake

Here you can clearly see the basalt layer. The bombs are found in the dirt beneath this layer, but it takes quite a bit of digging. We found a couple that had weathered out and fallen further down the slope and that was good enough for this trip as it was getting pretty late in the afternoon.

Basalt Layer

September 20th

The area south of Deming, New Mexico is filled with sites for geodes, including a state park dedicated to rockhounding. We spoke to a couple mineral shops in the area and finally settled on checking out a couple sites on the south edge of the Little Florida Mountains.

This is the general area. There was no obvious prospect hole or other diggings, so we just wandered the area and checked out the rocks. We found several pieces of Agate and one good Quartz & Agate Geode.

Geode Site

This is the view south from where we parked. There is supposed to be at least three dig sites here, so a more thorough search of the area is probably a good idea for a future trip.

View to the South

Oct 172008

For this trip, we flew into Denver for a 10-day loop through Colorado. Originally I tried to rent an FJ Cruiser because I knew we’d be facing some pretty rough roads up in the mountains. Well, there are no rental agencies that have FJ’s, but it turns out Toyota rents them directly! There is only one dealer in the Denver area that does rentals, but they did not return any emails or phone calls. A little research and I found out why – there are a ton of online reviews about their poor service.

So we settled for a 4-Runner from Budget. It handled every road admirably, although we did get passed on one particularly bad stretch… by an FJ Cruiser. 🙂

Picking up the 4-Runner

The first site we wanted to hit was blue Barite near Stoneham, so we headed out onto the plains northeast from Denver to the town of Sterling – that was the nearest motel.

Dinner the first night was limited to the fast food joints still open after we arrived, but it turns out the food from Taco John’s was surprisingly good. I can strongly recommend the Super Potato Ole’s if you find yourself in the upper Midwest or on a military base, where most of their joints are located.

October 2nd

This morning we started out from Sterling and made the short drive west to Stonham. This entire region of Colorado was once buried under volcanic ash from mountain building events in the Rockies.

All of this material has been eroded away leaving the flat plains, except for a spot just north of Stoneham called the “chalk cliffs”.

Chalk Cliffs

The cliffs are not actually Chalk, but Clay. Within the Clay there are layers of Shale and Calcite, and within these, hydrothermal solutions have deposited Barite. Unfortunately, the talus from the eroding Clay has completely buried and hidden any Shale strata. There are plenty of blue Barite crystals to be found on the surface, but it is very tough to find any Shale/Calcite/Barite matrix specimens.

After a couple hours here, we continued west and up into the mountains above the town of Lyons.

We hit the mining area near Jamestown looking for Fluorite, but found that all the mines but one were in the process of reclamation. The one remaining – the Emmet Mine – is an open pit almost completely covered in Purple Fluorite, but almost all of it was weathered to a powder, so it was hard to find any good crystals.

After the Emmet Mine, we headed north through Rocky Mountain National Park, and then south to the town of Hot Sulfur Springs, were we had dinner and stayed for the night at the Riverside Hotel.

Update – The Riverside Hotel was foreclosed in mid 2010. Check the current status before you plan a trip there!

October 3rd

From Hot Sulfur Springs, we continued south on the back roads from Kremmling to State Bridge, then down route 131 to Wolcott, and along I-70 to a site just north of Gypsum with Selenite crystals.

Just north of the freeway is an area with very twisted strata of Gypsum and Selenite. Small crystals are all over the area, but we found the best pieces in two boulders that had fallen down from higher up on the cliff face.

Selenite Locality

Gypsum Strata

Selenite Containing Boulders

Just down the road from the Selenite locality is a fairly recent volcanic crater. “Recent” in this case means only 4,200 years ago. Reportedly, early cartographers used the crater as a reference point for their maps, labeling it “Dot Zero”. Today the nearby town carries the slightly worn-down name of Dotsero.

Dotsero Crater

The crater itself is about a 1/2 mile across and 1300 feet deep. The remnants of a lava flow can be found just down the hill.

We continued south for the rest of the day and stayed in Gunnison that night.

October 4th

Leaving Gunnison after a huge breakfast at the W Cafe, we headed south for a bit on Colorado 149 to a small collection of ghost towns and mine dumps along the “Gunnision Gold Belt”.

The first ghost town going from west to east, Spencer, has been mostly replaced by a ranch. There really isn’t much evidence left of mines or old buildings.

Remains of Spencer

The last one, Vulcan was unreachable because of gated private property along the road to get there. The middle one, Midway (appropriately enough), was all we could get to.

Midway Mine Dump

We checked out one dump and one prospect hole, but didn’t find much there beyond Malachite.

After this, we visited the Black Canyon of the Gunnison and then drove south to Ouray and the Box Canyon Lodge, our home for the next four days.

October 5th

We started out today by taking US-550 south, over Red Mountain Pass to Silverton. The snow started falling as we passed 10,000 feet.

Red Mountain Area

Our first rockhounding stop for the day was the Aspen Mine, just above the Animas River, a few miles from Silverton. Rockhounding Colorado lists this site as having Fluorite octohedrons.

The first obstacle is a stream that has to be forded. Fortunately the water is less than a foot deep this time of year – could be a real challenge during spring runoff.

Crossing the stream

On the way up, we passed the old tram line that runs from the Mayflower Mill down in the Animas Valley up to the Mayflower & Shenandoah Mines, perched on the mountainside at 13,300 feet.

Tram Tower

Many of the ore buckets are still present – hanging from the old cables. Not only did these bring ore down from the mine to the mill, but it is generally how the miners rode to work in the morning. Not a practice of which OSHA would have approved.

Tram Bucket

We got to a spot in the area with a few old buildings and an ore chute from the Legal Tender Mine, higher up on the hill, but the road to the Aspen Mine was not obvious.

Aspen Mine Building

Ore Chute

We finally located the road to the Aspen Mine – it was overgrown with pine trees large enough that it seems no one had come this way with a vehicle for at least 15-20 years.

After hiking down, we found the old mine entrance had been covered completely by a rock slide, and there was a decent amount of water flowing out from where the entrance would have been. This water has completely flooded a second access road lower down, and turned the top level of the dumps into a swamp. The water then forms two little waterfalls flowing down the face of the tailings pile. You can see the collapsed entrance just above and to the left of the tailings in this pic.

Aspen Mine Tailings from Animas Valley

After negotiating the water hazards, we found some pretty pieces of white Quartz with Pyrite and Bornite, and one nice round cluster of clear Quartz crystals. However, there was not a single spec of Fluorite to be found.

Later research proved that while the mine we were exploring was indeed the Aspen Mine, the book that said there was Fluorite here got it wrong. The Fluorite is to be found higher up on the Legal Tender Mine and in the chute coming down from that mine. Unfortunately, we didn’t figure this out until later, and had no opportunity to go back. Something to check on a future trip!

The next stop was further north up the Animas Valley at Eureka Gulch.

The remains of the Sunnyside Mill are located here at the foot of the gulch.

Sunnyside Mill Ruins

We took the road up behind the mill looking for Rhodenite. This road goes all the way up Eureka Gulch to the Sunnyside Mine and the remains of Lake Emma, which disappeared one day when a plug of permafrost under the lake melted and drained the entire lake into the mine. However, it started snowing pretty hard about halfway up, so we decided to just stop and look along the road. We did turn up two decent pieces of Rhodenite that must have fallen from the many trucks that carried ore down from the mines over the years.

View from above the Sunnyside Mill

Where we found the Rhodenite

That was it for rockhounding on this day, but we continued north up the Animas Valley to the ghost town of Animas Forks, which seemed to look oddly appropriate shrouded in falling snow.

Animas Forks

After this we took the road towards Engineer Pass and down to US-550 just south of Ouray. The plus side of this route is the spectacular alpine tundra scenery at the summit of the road.

Near the Engineer Pass Turnoff

Alpine Meadow near Mineral Point

The minus side is the last three miles coming down the mountains towards 550. The road quickly degrades to an E-ticket ride. We later checked it out in a 4-wheeling guide and found it rates an 8 out of 10. The photo here is not an action shot – the truck was relatively stable in this two-wheels-on-the-ground position, at least enough for me to get out and take the picture.

What Fun!

October 6th

After the trials of rock crawling the previous day, we took it easy today – did some shopping in Ouray and then hiked up to Cascade Falls (only a 1/2 mile from the end of 6th Avenue in Ouray).

Cascade Falls

Cascade Falls

After lunch we visited Box Canyon Falls (also within the Ouray city limits) and their large indigenous Chipmunk population.

Slot Canyon at Box Canyon Falls

Chipmunk #1

Chipmunk #2

October 7th

First order of business today was to follow the Camp Bird Mine Road all the way up to Yankee Boy Basin. Lots of waterfalls and nice scenery up here.

On the way back down we stopped at the very large tailings piles of the Revenue Mine. This is marked on most maps as the town site of Sneffels, now a ghost town with only one or two bulidings. At it’s height, 3,000 people lived here, more than three times the present population of Ouray.

We found good Galena, Quartz, Pyrite, Fluorite and Sphalerite pieces here.

Revenue Mine Tailings

In the afternoon we drove over Ophir Pass and into Telleride, but didn’t do any more rockhounding for the rest of the day.

October 8th

We said our goodbyes to Ouray this morning and headed south through Durango, then up US-160 towards South Fork. Along the way, we passed through Wolf Creek Pass, just north of Pagosa Springs where various geodes are to be found in a road cut of volcanic Basalt.

We managed to liberate lots of solid Agate geodes that may polish well, one nice Amethyst geode, a Chalcedony geode with paper-thin walls, and two geodes with thin white fiberous crystals within. We originally thought these were Natrolite, but I now think they are Mordenite, possibly growing over pale orange Heulandite crystals.

After this stop, we continued north to the Streamside Bed & Breakfast in Nathrop for our last three nights of vacation.

October 9th

The spot where we stayed is literally at the foot of Mount Antero, a famous Aquamarine locality. However, Antero is 14,269 feet, and the collecting area is only a couple hundred feet below the summit. This might be something we’d try in July, but not mid-October!

Instead, we drove west for a few miles to the semi-ghost town of St. Elmo (lots of old buildings, a few scattered residents), then a bit south to the Mary Murphy and Pat Murphy mines.

This was cold and windy enough, at just over 12,300 feet. The dumps had tons of Galena, a decent amount of Rhodenite, a few small crystals of light pink Rhodocrosite, and one nice piece of Azurite (at least it seems we found the only one).

Mary & Pat Murphy Mines

View from below the Dumps

Road Down from the Mines

We then came down from the mountains and over to a small hill of Rhyolite alongside the Arkansas river, just outside of Nathrop. Small vesicles in the banded Rhyolite contain small but perfectly formed Spessartine Garnets, and even smaller Topaz crystals.

We did find quite a few garnets, the largest about 1mm, but perfect dodecahedrons ranging from gemmy pale orange to deep red. The Topaz crystals, if present, must be virtually microscopic – we found no trace of them.

October 10th

Our last day in Colorado we only hit one rockhounding site ’cause it was quite a drive from where we were staying – about two hours south near the small town of La Garita.

The Crystal Hill Mine was originally a Gold mine, but by following veins of Quartz in the volcanic breccia, you can eventually find vugs containing water-clear Quartz or Amethyst. It is hard-rock mining though, and we called it quits after uncovering one small Quartz-filled cavity. There is plenty of Manganese ore in the area, so we weren’t too surprised to find Dendritic Pyrolucite.

There must be someone raising Llamas or Alpacas on a ranch just below the mine area because this wildlife definitely seems out of place here.

Non-local Wildlife

Jun 042002

May 24th

We decided to fly into Las Vegas and make a big loop through Arizona for this trip. I’m not sure if the airlines actually stock extra quantities of those mini booze bottles for flights from the East Coast to Vegas, but judging by the passenger’s temperaments as Vegas drew closer, they must.

I tried to hook up the GPS to the laptop during the flight to find out where we were, but couldn’t get it to work! It was working last trip, so I figured we would have to spend some time upon arrival to figure out what went wrong.

Arrived in Las Vegas, Nevada. We had reserved a Jeep Cherokee with Dollar Rent-A-Car, but found out they had none when we arrived. Ended up with a Dodge Durango instead – same price and it turned out to be pretty nice.

After the required lunch at In-N-Out, we began the quest to get the GPS working again…

The GPS receiver itself was working fine but it was no longer sending any data to the laptop. After playing with every conceivable option in the setup of the GPS and the laptop, we figured it had to be the cable. So we started looking for a Magellan GPS to Laptop cable. Well, it seems that GPS is not a high priority in Vegas. We went to Office Max, Office Depot, Wal-Mart, Sports Authority, Circuit City, Best Buy, another electronics store, a camping store, and we called several other stores. Not a single place even carried GPS receivers, let alone the cable that we needed.

At about 5pm we resolved to drive off to Wickenburg, Arizona and to try again for GPS parts in Phoenix tomorrow.

The trip into Arizona was without incident and we arrived at the Owl Tree Inn bed & breakfast, our home for the next six nights.

May 25th

Today started with a trip into Phoenix to find a GPS cable. The first stop, a Staples, actually had one! I hooked it up, went outside and still nothing. The staff there even let me try a different GPS receiver and cable without having to buy it first.

After a lot of trial and error, I concluded it must be something in the laptop itself. A trip to the CompUSA next door and I bought a USB-to-Serial converter (they wouldn’t let me try it unless I bought it first – one point for Staples, zero for CompUSA). This worked even with the original GPS and cable, so we were all set. The conclusion is that the serial port on my laptop had died.

After lunch at a nearby Fuddruckers, we decided to head back to the Wickenburg area – most of the day was already spent. We did have info on one spot right near Wickenburg though, a hill of Rhyolite with small Quartz geodes. We did find a few 1-3″ geodes and a couple larger, but with fairly small cavities.

May 26th

This morning we started out by driving north about 20 miles on US-93 to the turn-off for Date Creek Ranch. One of the mineral guides for this area cited clear Quartz crystals all over the hills in this area. Though we looked around and dug a bit for a couple hours, all we found was a small milky Quartz Leaverite – A Leaverite being a mineral specimen that would best complement your collection by leaving it right where it is.

After this, we went back towards Wickenburg and took AZ-89 through the town of Congress towards the old ghost towns and mines at the foot of Rich Hill.

The Gold here was discovered in the early 1860’s and was so plentiful that many people got rich just walking around picking up the Gold lying on the surface – some nuggets the size of potatoes. This, in fact, is where the name Rich Hill comes from. Over $500,000 ($14 million in today’s dollars) was collected from the surface and stream gravels in the first five years.

At the base of Rich Hill are the three ghost towns of Weaver, Stanton and Octave. Follow the links to read all about them.

About 6 months prior to our visit someone found a nugget weighing in at almost 2 pounds in this area, so we spent some time in and near the washes with a gold detector. The good news is that we found something at every spot the detector went off. The bad news is that they were all bullets or small chunks of wire.

While we found no gold, we did find an Eagle perched on a cactus and eating a snake! Not quite like the Mexican flag:

But pretty close – I think that’s a Prickly Pear on the flag, and this was a Saguaro.

Eagle and Snake on Saguaro Cactus

Couldn’t get much closer without disturbing him, but we did get a couple shots after he took to the air.

Eagle and Snake in Flight

This turned out to be a premonition of things to come later…

We then headed west from Wickenburg on US-60 to the town of Wenden. If you’re looking for cold beer, great food and good service, what can I say? Maybe you should stay out of Wenden.

The only Bar & Grill in Wenden


Our first stop was the Bonanza Mine, about 9 miles north of Wenden in the Harcuvar Mountains. The road got pretty rough over the last mile or so, so we didn’t make it as far as the abandoned inclined railroad marked on the topo map. Too bad, sounds like something cool to check out.

Bonanza Mine

The mine itself had some pretty good dumps with both Iron and Copper minerals present.

The View from the Mine

The view from the mine, looking back towards McMullen Valley, Wenden and the Harquahala Mountains beyond. Those mountains were our next destination. Specifically, the Harquahala mining district and ghost town.

As you can see from the map, there are enough mines and dumps here to explore for several weeks. We only spent the afternoon, so failed to find most of the long list of minerals found here. A good candidate for a future trip!

Site of the Former Town of Harquahala

This is roughly the spot where the gold boom town of Harquahala was once located. There are still a few buildings, outside this photo. The town arose shortly after the discovery of gold in 1888, and continued for a long time by western ghost town standards – the last residents departed in 1932. There was a mill located here that cast the gold ore into large ingots weighting 400 pounds; much larger than the ingots cast at other mills (a 400 lb bar would be about 6″ square and 18″ long). Stories tell that the ingots were so heavy, they occasionally broke through the floor of the wagons carrying them, sometimes unknown to the driver. Finding a single lost ingot at today’s gold prices would net just over $10.8 million.

It was on the way to this spot that we had our second encounter with Eagles chowing down on rattlesnakes. We had spotted the first one earlier, sitting on a Saguaro cactus near Stanton. This one was right in the middle of the dirt road, and we surprised him when we came over a rise and found ourselves bearing down on him from about 30 feet away. He immediately took to the air, and dropped the snake! The bloody, headless snake landed right in the middle of the windshield, slid up over the roof, and landed on the road behind us before I could come to a full stop. We got out to check out the snake – I’m guessing that tearing off the head is how the Eagles avoid ingesting any venom. The Eagle remained nearby, flying a slow circle about 100 feet away and occasionally squawking – guess he wanted his lunch back! We left him his snake and drove on, at which point Melissa offered, “Good thing the sunroof was closed!”

May 27th

Except for one location, today was a total bust – and not for the normal reasons…

We have sometimes been unable to locate certain rockhounding sites. Old mines and other locations for which we have a lat/long are trivial with the GPS and topographic maps, but sometime we only have “go about 2 miles down the dirt road and make a left at the big bush…” or something similar. Other times, we have found the site but failed to turn up any of the minerals supposed to be present. Today, however, we found a new problem that we had not experienced previously.

We started out heading north from Wickenburg and took AZ-89 towards Congress. Then up the long grade through the Weaver Mountains and Peeples Valley to Kirkland Junction. Then AZ-96 to Kirkland and north on Iron Springs road.

Our first stop was to be an old copper mining area near Iron Springs. However, when we got to the turnoff, the road was closed due to forest fires. Not the risk of forest fires, but actual fires that were currently burning.

Not to be deterred, we pressed on to Prescott and our second location, a copper mining district in the Sierra Prieta Mountains just southwest of the town. Again, closed due to forest fires. This time, at the point where the road was closed we could actually smell the smoke.

So we backtracked for a ways, took AZ-69 out of Prescott, highway 169 over to I-17, and north for a bit to the town of Camp Verde. Finally, paydirt.

Our goal here was an old salt mine that is covered with saline and calcium minerals.

Camp Verde Salt Hills

The white areas here are almost pure salt where we found some very nice Glauberite crystals.

On the way back south on I-17, we took the Crown King road exit. This road goes up through the Bradshaw Mountains and back to where we started, passing through three good size mining districts along the way. And guess what? The road was closed due to forest fires.

Gas Station in Cordes

We did get as far as the ghost town of Cordes and one of the mine dumps east of Cleator before the road closure. Luckily we didn’t need any gas because the only station in Cordes looked pretty closed.

May 28th

Castle Dome

This morning we headed halfway across Arizona to Quartzsite, then south on US-95 towards Yuma. We turned east on Castle Dome Mine Road, about 20 miles north of Yuma. There is a small museum here near where the old mill for the Castle Dome mine was located, but a few miles past that is the Hull Mine.

Hull Mine Hill

This is a small hill with several adits and at least one shaft. It is very solid rock, the main adit is very wide and flat, and there is good ventialtion from the shaft and other adits, so this is one mine we don’t have a problem entering. The dumps and the mine itself contain fluorescent Calcite, Galena, Fluorite and Wulfenite.

We heading into Yuma for lunch, then across the Colorado (which is barely a creek at this point) and into California.

The first exit off I-8 in California is county highway S34 / Ogilvy Road, which goes north all the way to CA-78 and Palo Verde. About 13 miles from I-8 is the turnoff for Indian Pass road. Just a few miles down the road, blue Dunmortierite can be found scattered around on the hills. One source also lists Kyanite at this location, but since Kyanite is about the same color and appearance as Dunmortierite, we think that’s probably a mistake.

Finally, we continued north to Palo Verde and turned off to the Opal Hill Mine.

This site is famous for it’s fire opals, and while we did collect several pieces, we haven’t done enough cleaning and examining to see if we got anything good.

May 29th

Our last day in Wickenberg, we mostly took it easy and spent some time better exploring the ghost towns of Weaver, Stanton and Octave.

Stanton in its Heyday

May 30th

Today we left Wickenburg and headed south for the Rancho Milagro B&B just outside Elgin. Along the way we stopped at the Ray Mine on AZ-177 south of Superior.

Ray Mine

This is a typical open pit copper operation where the primary ore is Chalcopyrite. To give you some idea of the scale, there are five specks on the left side of the photo, about halfway down the mine. Each of these is a giant haul truck like this:

Haul Truck

Just south of the Ray Mine, we turned off at Hayden and went about 5 miles northwest to the Seventy-Nine Mine. This mine operated off and on from 1879 through 1951 and the primary ores were Lead, Zinc, Copper, Silver, Gold, Molybdenum, Tin, Vanadium, and Iron. It also operated for mineral specimens up until the 1990’s. We searched the dumps and surface area and found some good Wulfenite samples and several Copper minerals.

A little further south from Hayden on AZ-77 is the town of Dudleyville where we found some big chunks of Heulandite with Calcite and Celadonite at the railroad cut just west of town.

Further south we began to see more forest fires like those that stopped us a few days ago. These were burning in the Santa Catalina mountains north of Tucson.

Forest Fires

More Forest Fires

May 31th

Today we headed northeast from Elgin to a Selenite locality just outside of St. David.

The site consists of a long bank of soft dirt and Rhyolite in which both Selenite crystals and Gypsum Roses can be found. The latter are found in slightly moist dirt and are extremely delicate until they are completely dried out.

Next, we headed back through Sonoita and south on AZ-82 towards Nogales. Along the way is the nice little town of Patagonia where we turned north to a site with Vanadanite. The Vanadanite crystals are quite small, but easily found encrusting most of the rocks in the area.

After lunch in Nogales (at a McDonalds within spitting distance of the Mexican border) we headed for our last rockhounding stop for the day. The Camp Washington and Duquesne area is thick with both old and currently operating mines. However, our goal was the Four Metals Mine, well short of the Camp Washington area, but just off of Duquesne Road, which is about 4 miles north of Nogales.

We were able to find some decent pieces of Rhodochrosite and Chalcopyrite, and some Molybdenite.

That night back at the B&B in Elgin we were serenaded by Coyotes and peeking out at about 3AM we saw 5 or 6 of them not more than 50 feet from our front door.

June 1st

This morning we travelled east from Elgin and made a tourist stop at Tombstone. I have to say, Boot Hill Cemetary is a real disappointment – a small area with headstone markers that they charge addmission to. Except all the markers are recently made with stenciled paint and not necassarily in the right places. A real tourist trap ripoff.

15 miles east of Tombstone is the Turquoise mining district in the Dragoon mountains around the town sites of Gleeson and Courtland. We found mostly Calcite and Quartz pieces on the dumps here, some with copper minerals.

Maud Hill - Gleeson

June 2nd

We left Elgin this morning and drove north towards Kingman, then west on the old Route 66. We stopped off at Shaffer Spring, just before the summit of the Black Mountains at Sitegreaves Pass. We found some bubbly Chalcedony here that fluoresces a nice bright green.

Just beyond the pass, we stopped off at the Gold Road Mine, which offer tours whenever the gold prices are too low to operate the mine. Fortunately for us (but not the mine owners) we were able to go on the tour that actually goes under Route 66. This mine dates back to 1900, so that is over 100 years of nearly continuous gold production.

This was one of the many mines in the area that led to the founding of Oatman (originally named “Vivian”). The population of Oatman peaked at 20,000 in 1930. Today, just under 200 people still live there.

Downtown Oatman

The descendants of miner’s burros still live throughout the area, and at any one time 10 or so make Oatman itself their home.

Oatman Burros

Melissa and Pal

Just beyond the town are the remains of the Tom Reed Mine and mill. This operated from 1910 until most gold mines were closed during the Second World War.

Tom Reed Mill Ruins

From Oatman, we continued across the Colorado River and stayed at one of the hotel/casinos in Laughlin.

June 3rd

Today we travelled from Laughlin back into Arizona and explored the mine-rich area near the towns of Chloride and Mineral Park.

Coming back through Chloride at dusk hundreds of wild rabbits came out! Not sure if they hang out here because someone feeds them or what, but they were everywhere.

Chloride Rabbits

That was it for this trip. We drove up to Vegas and flew home the next day.