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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We went out to our favorite Salt River Canyon again last saturday. We started with the intent of getting to a new area that we had not been to before. It has a couple of mine entrances and a couple of large ore bins to discover. We took a very indistinct trail that we thought might take us to the mine enterances but after a good 3/4 hour hike down the mountain side, the trail completely dissapeared. It was a viable trail at one time with several manmade switchbacks and definitely cut out of the cliff face in others, but it just ended. So we hiked back up until we found another trail off of the first one. This one looked much clearer and maybe even used not too long ago. BUT. Instead of taking us around the top of the mountain to where we figured the mines were, it took us all the way up on the peak of the mountain. It was a difficult climb because the mountain top was all loose big rock. Very hard to walk on and most of the rock was unstable, rolling out from under you. I fell and ended up with a giant swollen elbow, and another fell and bruised her back and legs, also scratching her back up. Nothing serious but annouying. We did find the original air exhaust holes the were drilled down to the mines but they had been filled in. So we knew we were over the mines, we just could not get down to them. So we gave up and went to the area that the last hike had been to but none of us were with them that day. So it was new to us. In going to the new area we went past our favorite spot where the 2000 ft shear cliff outlook and waterfall is. One of us had never been on the hikes before so we had to show her the area. This is a quick pic of the bottom of the first half of the falls (no water was running that day). This waterfall drops to the first pool then off of that again for another 800 ft.



I forgot to get a pic but in driving back to the falls area we discovered '38-'39 Oldsmobile off the side of the road we that must have been swept from somewhere up river during last years rains. It was all crushed up under trees and other debris.
As we continued back into the mountain area we stopped again at the old deserted mining village and the founder of our Pontiac club backed his GTO into one of the old building for pics.



Then we went to the area that we wanted to all along. This shot it is from the back of the canyon where the road is literally cut out of the rock face. You are looking out along the canyon and to the right is the two mines that we were walking too. The mining trail that feeds the old mines starts/cuts off of this same road, about 1/2 mile farther to the right, leads down under the road exactly where the pic is from, then continues to follow along the cliff wall to the two white "beards" that cascade down the cliff. The white "beards" are the tailings or refuse from the mines. If you look real close at the cliff right at the same level as the top of the tailings, you can just make out the trail that goes along the cliff, around and under thge pic location. That is how we accessed the mines. Lots of rock slides that we had to crawl over and lots of trail washouts that we had to cross very carefully.



Now the cool part. The mine is huge inside. Only about 8 feet from floor to ceiling throughout the entire mine as that is the depth of the layer they were interested in. But it was probably as big as two football fields inside, and possibly bigger since we did not go all the way to the very back or either side. What they did was start the mining operation and as they moved inward they would drop the tailings out the front over the ledge, that is the white "beards' you see. Then at some point they build walls with the bigger chunks of refuse rock, supporting them with wood poles jammed against the roof, and dump the tailings back into the open areas of the mine. In this pic you can see a tunnel they built by putting up the wood poles to hold the wall and the other side of the wall is all finer tailings piled up agains those walls. The pics are hazy. I didn't realize that our breath was steaming because of the humidity in the mine and causing the haze.



The main tunnel that goes straight in from the entrance, splits off in different directions several times as it goes back into the mine. This is a pic of one of those branches. This branch was a good 100 yards in from the front, turned and we are a good 50 yards from the corner, with a good 50 yards or more to the end.



So although we beat the hell out of ourselves, we came away very happy with the day. Even though those trails we followed to nothing earlier in the day really wrung us out. The stuff that we did accomplish made it all worth it. We have another one planned for the end of the month. I should just about recover completely by then. If not I'll tuff it out. LOL!!!! Mark L
 

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This is what makes the southwest a lot of fun to explore. You never know what you will find, and when you do find it, it's not rusted into the ground. Great pictures and story!
 

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That's awesome, Mark. Great story! One can only imagine what it was like to have worked in those mines. Many long and grueling days for little more than pennies, probably. Thanks for sharing that! :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hey guys. I just love doing these exploritory hikes. The Canyon is about 150 miles from my house. It's partially on Indian Land so we have to get permits for each day, but it's only $10 per day. But as you said, the ride there is beautiful, once there the vistas are fanatasitc. Now I'm not the greatest with heights. Some of these cutouts/trails that were used to transport items (trucks, parts, people etc) to the mies are 1200 feet above the canyon and some places are shear drops. So I have a tendency to hug the inside walls, LOL. But the longer I am on site the more I get used to the heights and actually go to the edges--sometimes. When we were on top the first mountain we looked across at the main highway that goes down into the canyon. We could see wreckage on the side of the canyon right below a vista pull off. Directly below it (about 200 feet) and just above a sheer cliff section was a smashed approx. 12 foot speed boat, the trailer seperated and just above that, and a tow vehicle just below the boat. The car or truck tow vehicle was smashed beyond recognition for that distance. The boat and trailer had a '50's look to it but that does not mean it went over the side then, could have been anytime. But it had been there a long time. The guys in our Pontiac club started a thread on the H.A.M.B. forum and many people were asking for us to get parts from the cars and ir tell us where to find them. This last time back several cars that we had discovered have disappeared. So we don't know if it was local people just scavaging the cars for scrap or if our discoveriy and telling people was the possible cause of their disappearence. To that end we have put out a statement that we will continue to tell about and show pics of these wrecks but we will no longer give any clues to their whereabouts. We may be crazy but we enjoy just finding them and looking at them and don't want people just stealing them. Plus some have been in such a remote and almost inaccessable place or position that if people were in the car when it went over, most likely someone lost their life in that car/truck. This is a smashed '64 Chevy SS that we found. He is holding up the hood and th eback of th eChevy cna be seen behind him. As you can see they are really mangled.



This is coming into the canyon.



This is a shot of the two cars we were using that day and the pull off where the boat and trailer etc. are down over the side.



This is the torque converter and some sheet metal from the '64 Chevy. Somewhere along the time there must have been a small avalanche.



Just to the east of this shot, about 100 yards, is a 1958 Pontiac convertable also smashed to pieces. So much so that we had to get down to it and look it over just to determine what kind of car it was.
This is a shot from the bottom of the canyon looking back to the canyon wall/cliffs where we have been doing all our mine hunting. The two white "beards" up the canyon (directly above the Pontiac) are the tailings from the mine we just visited. If you go just a little to the left you can see more tailings of mines that we want to get to next time. They are accessed by the same road that we took to get to the one we just visited.



Mark L
 
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