As a nomad, I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting places to camp and explore. During my migration back to the Southwest United States for the Winter I came across an abandoned mine in the middle of the Nevada desert while browsing freecampsites.net, and knew I had stop there for a few nights.
The road was easy at first, following underneath enormous power lines for miles across the dusty flats, but as soon as I turned up into the hills I was glad my truck had 4 wheel drive. The first thing I noticed as I approached the mine were the ruined bases of some old stone buildings.
Dozens of these buildings scattered the landscape with some likely serving as shelter while others were probably used as processing facilities and general stores. I’d guess there were at least a dozen families living up here at one time. An old cemetery I found on my way out revealed that this place was most active in the early 1900’s and was pretty much abandoned after 1920. I find myself wondering what forces caused these buildings to fall apart in only 100 years time.
Behind my campsite I found a deep horizontal mine shaft that someone long ago had tried to close off with barbed wire.
The temperature outside was very warm, but as soon as I approached the entrance to the cave it felt like it had dropped 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit. Since I was completely alone out there I opted not to risk exploring very deep, though this mine appeared to extend a long ways into the rocky hills. In a desperate situation this cave could serve as a good shelter from the elements, providing protection from the heat in the Summer and insulation from the cold of Winter, though that would require evicting the fox that currently calls it home.
In what appears to have been the heart of the community of miners I found an old rusted vehicle.
I’ve never seen this model of vehicle before, but judging by the simplicity of its components and the amount of degradation, I’d guess this was here back when the mine was still in operation. If you recognize the model of car, I hope you’ll let us all know what it is! The presence of a vehicle tells us a lot about the community itself, in that there were likely some people making decent cash up here, and that there was at least semi-frequent comings and goings.
As I explored the area further on my Solar eBike, I came across what was once a very large structure.
This is by far the most substantial building in the area, and appears to have extended outwards from another mine shaft in the hill. I’m guessing the exterior was a processing facility for whatever they were mining, and was probably owned by the most influential group in the area.
I ended up camping in the here for a couple of nights. I wanted to stay much longer, but I needed to meet someone in New Mexico, so had to be on my way. In a future post I’ll detail the 100 year old cemetery I discovered while I was leaving the area.