Went back to Old Mine for 5th or 6th visit in 50 years on Thanksgiving weekend 2000. It was a nice day, but truck got all scatched up (again) and stuck in ravine on way out. This page is dedicated to 4 nice young people in the white truck that pushed us out of the mess there. If they hadn't shown up we would have spent night out in dessert. The 3 guys and 1 girl in the white truck were also looking for mine but were in wrong canyon. We didn't see them at all, but they sure showed up at the right time. I am beginning to think I should write a page about the roads in the backside of the Estrellas.

Anyway, Arthur (brother), Brad (friend) and I went to the Old Mine to look for the dates in the rock I saw 40 years ago and to check out the currals and walls. Here are the pictures:

This doesn't really belong here - a twilight picture of the Estrellas in Backgroud and downtown Tempe below.


OK, we start the trip. This is our approach to the Old Mine site, taken from about 3-4 miles away. Stone House ravine is in exect upper middle of the picture.


This is looking up the ravine, from Quartz Point at very bottom of mountain. This one of two quartz outcroppings that serve as markers for the mine and house. The ravine itself is out of sight on left.

Arthur standing along old rock walls (currals) that go up the ravine.

I would guess that these stone rocks, piled together, are more interesting than any other aspect of the old mine. We followed them for over 250 yards. I would guess they were part of an extensive curral system to keep animals. There are also two square currals on the side of the mountain.

Another view of the stone rock walls. Whoever did this, for whatever reason, it sure was a lot of work!

Yet another view!

One of two retangular currals on side of hill. Picture taken in 1994. You have to be at right position to see these walls. No self-respecting gringo would build anything like this.

Further up the mountain, Brad following the old path. It is in bad shape, but you can see that in someplaces it has stone layered and built up under it for support. As you can see, the mine is up, up in the mountain.


This is the first view of the Old Stone House. You can't see it until you are almost on top of it, maybe 30 yards away.


A very good shot of Old House from the well.

From above. Brad and Arthur checking out the messages left by people over last 8-10 years.

Based upon the number of notes, I would guess only 2-3 groups visit the site every year (unless, of course, some people didn't have a pen or pencil!).

The ledge inside the "House" where bottle is kept. I think we need a bigger bottle.

Some of the notes left by the brave, adventuresome folks that visit the site.

Close up of our notes, left 1994, 1995 and 2000.

The mine. Looks pretty dangerous to me.

Why not? Here is more or less the lay of the land:

The bottom left white dot is the Quartz Point outcropping at bottom of ravine that goes up the mountain. The ravine is in yellow. The red is more or less indicates the position of the stone wall currals in the ravine. The green line is the mining road (put in in the 60s I think) and path up to mine. This is the approach almost everyone uses now. Back in the 50s people came in from the north side. The pink dot is roughly where the mine, house and well are. The upper white dot is a second quartz outcropping just above the mine that serves as a marker for those going up the ravine. Most of the ravine is not visible from the valley floor, because it angles to the left (north) at the bottom of the mountain. This is the same picture as the first one above (p1).


Bonus picture: Sent to me by JR, an old time Sierra Estrella aficionado. His family goes way back also. Got his name and number from a note in Old House. This is a good picture of the stone work in the wall. No mortar, cement or even adobe, just rock carefully layered. This same type of craftwork is seen in House, above the mine and in curral walls. The stonework in the well walls looks a little different. This is an art!! I tried to pile some rocks together and they wouldn't stay put!

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