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Is the Keane Wonder Mine worth a photographic visit?

ATLANTA
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Is the Keane Wonder Mine worth a photographic visit?

Going to DV on a photo workshop in Feb and I'm going to go to the park from LV via Beatty and going to stop at Rhyolite ghost town. On the Beatty cut-off road I'll be close to Keane Wonder mine and I am wondering if there is much to photograph at the mine near the road or the view below? I won't have time to hike the mile up the mountain to the old mine.

We'll be in DV for four days seeing all the "must-see" sites and I didn't want to go to the Keane Mine is there's not much to photograph there.

Thanks, Kent

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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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1. Re: Is the Keane Wonder Mine worth a photographic visit?

There is a lot to see and photofraph at Keane Wonder and the surrounding mine sites (Cuty's Mill, Keane Springs, Chloride City, etc.)--BUT unfortunately the whole area is closed to the public until further notice. It was determined to be a safety hazard because of the numerous shafts, structural problems, and hazardous materials.

Details here:

nps.gov/deva/…keane-wonder-mine.htm

Rhyolite has lots of great photo ops.

If you have a 4WD high clearance, Titus Canyon is a terrific trip. It's about 26 miles of 1-way backcountry road that starts jjust west of Rhyolite, with something for everyone: unusual plants (higher elevation); unique rock formations and colors; a ghost town with many building and "Cousin Jack" ruins (Leadfield, which was founded on a scam); petroglyphs; a chance (if early and lucky) to see bighorn sheep at Klare Spring; and a spectacular exit with steep, narrow canyon walls that show the power of erosion by flashflooding.

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2. Re: Is the Keane Wonder Mine worth a photographic visit?

* "There is a lot to see and photofraph at Keane Wonder and the surrounding mine sites (Cuty's Mill," *

My proofreader is on vacation. Should read:

There is a lot to see and photograph at Keane Wonder and the surrounding mine sites (Cyty's Mill)...

ATLANTA
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3. Re: Is the Keane Wonder Mine worth a photographic visit?

Thanks, Frisco, for the info (bummer). I'll probably rent a minivan and Titus and Chlorite both appear to have too rough roads and I'll fly into LV at 11:00 AM and figure I'll get out with the rental car by 12:30 and need to be at Furnace Creek Ranch by 5:30. I'm going to Rhyolite and thought I could squeeze in Keane, but its not to be. I really appreciate the link to the NPS info.

Maybe I'll do Titus on another trip.

Kent

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4. Re: Is the Keane Wonder Mine worth a photographic visit?

For vivid colors in the afternoon, check out Artist's Drive, which is on Badwater Road. It's a scenic drive that leads to a spot where mineral oxides have dyed the hillsides in rainbow colors. It faces west and the colors especially stand out when the sun is low in the afternoon.

Since you're staying several days, you don't need to rush to do this the first day. Badwater Road has several natural wonders where you'll want to linger and enjoy.

The Sand Dunes are also very photogenic when the sun is low. Early in the morning you can find tracks made by wildlife that forages at night. Later in the day, the wind often sweeps these away. The Sand Dunes aren't too far off your route from Rhyolite to Furnace Creek, so you could make a short detour if you have enough time.

ATLANTA
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5. Re: Is the Keane Wonder Mine worth a photographic visit?

This is the itinerary. It's grouped by times rather than in cronoligical order so we'll go to different places that are close together at the "right" times. This is pasted from another post I did.

"I'm going to DV with a photo workshop in Feb and wondered if their agenda covers most of the things to see? I went thru there a couple of years ago on my way to Lone Pine from LV and stayed at Furnace Creek, but I was there from late one afternoon until 10:00 the following morning.

Some places will be either too far to go or over too rough roads, so they are out. They include: Racetrack & Grandstand, Hole-in-the-Wall, Willow Spring and the area around Panamint Springs.

We will stay in Furnace Creek. I will go from Vegas to Beatty and see Rhyolite Ghost Town and Keane Wonder Mine on my way to Furnace Creek.

Here's the itinerary:

Sunrise or early morning- Stovepipe Wells/ Mesquite Flat sand dunes (on two different mornings) and Zabriskie Point

Mid morning- Salt Creek Walk, Badwater Basin salt flat (and I assume Devils Golf Course since its right there)

Afternoon- Artist Palate, Scotty's Castle

Dusk or sunset- Golden Canyon, Dante's View and Ubehebe Crater

If they don't drive thru 20 Mule Team Canyon, I'll do that.

I'll go back to Vegas on Hwy 190 to Pahrump and Hwy 160. Is there anything worth seeing or stopping for along the way?

Thanks, Kent

Also I'll go to Agurreberre Point."

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6. Re: Is the Keane Wonder Mine worth a photographic visit?

Hwy 190 east is where the roads for Zabriskie Point, 20 Mule Team Canyon, and Dante's View take off. Along the Dante's road are side roads to Ryan and the Billie Mine, which are borax mining operations. Ryan is the village you can see on the hillside as you look east from Zabriskie Point. These sites aren't open to the public, but you can get a glimpse of them, and also of a few mill sites and tailings piles along the Dante's road (esp. the east side).

Just outside the park boundary is the hamlet of Death Valley Junction, a former borax company town. The Amargosa Opera House and Hotel is the former company housing. It's a historic landmark with a hotel (very bare bones, restored about to the point of minimum habitability) and a theatre with live stage shows. You can read about it here.

http://www.amargosa-opera-house.com/

After you turn left onto Stateline Road for Pahrump, you can make a side trip to Ash Meadows National Wilflife Refuge. It's very different from Death Valley--a desert marsh region, very green, with a variety of plant and animal life that you don't find in drier areas. Devil's Hole is in Ash Meadows and is the habitat of one of the rarest of all endangered species, the Devil's Hole pupfish.

http://www.fws.gov/desertcomplex/ashmeadows/

Ash Meadows is small enough to get a decent overview in a couple of hours, or you can spend longer. There is no camping.

Aguereberry Point is one of the higher elevations reachable by car, about 6400' in elevation. The view is spectacular, a bit like Dante's but from the west side of the Valley. It can get snow or ice, and the road is narrow, steep, and rough. I have gotten to it by auto in the winter, but ask the rangers or visitor center before going.

ATLANTA
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7. Re: Is the Keane Wonder Mine worth a photographic visit?

Thanks again, Frisco. I'll check out the places on the way back to LV. I have two other quick questions:

1. Is the road off Hwy 190 towards Aguereberry Point paved (one map calls it Wildrose Rd. and another Emigrant Pass Rd.)? I know that the turnoff to Aguereberry Point isn't. I'll get there at mid-morning and hope the light is OK for photos.

2. Is the trip to Skidoo worth it from a photography standpoint? I understand the road is really rough.

Thanks again,

Kent

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8. Re: Is the Keane Wonder Mine worth a photographic visit?

Hi, Kent--

The main road off 190 is Emigrant-Wildrose, often just called Emigrant. It starts at the Emigrant campground 9-10 miles west of Stove Pipe Wells (take a look at the old ranger station also located there, now vacant, but a good example of 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps architecture using regional materials).

Emigrant Rd. is 99.999% paved. As you go south, look for the remains of Journigan's Mill on the west side (before you get to the SKidoo turnoff). This was a custom mill, iow an ore mill not attached to a mining operation, which processed other people's ore. It has huge vats visible from the road (they used a cyanide process to recdover metal from the ore, which is one reason why old DV mine sites are hazardous). If you walk aroun above the vats, you'll find concrete foundations that show how massive the equipment was that used to be there.

The part of Emigrant Rd. that isn't paved is a mile or two south of Wildrose junction, where the pavement keeps getting torn up by flashfloods and runoff from a spring. The NPS takes a grader to it a few times a year as needed.

If you go up Aguereberry Pt. Rd., the lower part is fine. You'll see a settlement called Harrisburg, homestead of an early 20th century miner. It's just a ramshackle collection of boards and bits and pieces, but get out and walk around. With a little exploring, you'll find the remains of the Cashier Mill, an ore processing mill. As you drive on, keep an eye out for more mine headframe and mill ruins in the distance, and a few near the road. There was a lot of mining in this area and evidence still remains.

Whether you get to the top will depend a lot on the weather. It's only 6-7 miles, so I hope you make it.

Skidoo was once a substantial and prosperous town, as you know if you've seen historic pictures. About $1,000,000 in gold came out of its mines. In its day, it had electricity, a telegraph line, and a herd of goats for milk and meat. It had one of the most celebrated hangings in DV history. No structures still stand except the huge stamp mill, which IIRC had 50 stamps, attesting to the amount of ore being processed. It was powered by a Pelton water wheel. The NPS has worked on documenting its condition and plans to stabilize it. I was with some of the staff doing the initial surveying in the 1980s. For now, like many old minng structures, it isn't safe to enter.

There are some old and modern pictures on this ghost town website.

www.ghosttowns.com/states/ca/skidoo.html.

BTW, if you go to the website's main page, you'll find listings for hundreds of ghost towns in the U.S. and Canada.

http://www.ghosttowns.com

ATLANTA
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9. Re: Is the Keane Wonder Mine worth a photographic visit?

Thanks for the info, Frisco. I'm really excited about DV. A couple of years ago I drove thru there on the way to Lone Pine, Bishop and the town at Mono Lake and on the way to Sacramento I stopped at Bodie. Boy, did I love Bodie and I like any "old" stuff. Went to Virginia and Nevada City Montana a couple of years ago and loved it also. One is an old restored (or moved in old houses) with dirt and gravel streets.

Kent

10. Re: Is the Keane Wonder Mine worth a photographic visit?

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