Inside/Out – Exploring the remains of the Pleasanton Talc Mine one of the numerous mines located in the southeastern border of Death Valley National Park.
Its massive collapsing ore bin is one of the first things you’ll notice.
The Pleasanton was worked on several levels, with a (collapsed) connecting shaft in between
The lower level is a large loading dock and tramway network, used for loading both Monarch (located nearby) and Pleasanton ores during the latter years of their combined operations.
On the upper workings are several…
…very deep shafts…
…complete with a partial tramway…
…and an old wooden headframe.
Another vertical shaft sits above the wooden headframe.
You’ll also find an entrance to the powder magazine.
It’s not that deep, just big enough to hold the explosives needed to expand the mine.
You’ll notice another little hole in the mountain next to the powder magazine. I couldn’t tell if it was natural or just another exploratory dig that was abandoned.
Random piece of mining equipment found while exploring the area.
Further up the mountain along an old mining road, we came across another possible powder magazine…
…or perhaps it was just another shady hole used by the miners to escape the unbearable heat inside and outside of the mine.
Right next to that was another opening into the mine.
Which provided amazing views of the desert valley below.
This was also the only opening we felt semi-safe exploring further.
Always make sure you’re aware of all the dangers before entering any mine.
One of the first dangers we encountered was this massive vertical shaft that would’ve easily swallowed someone if they weren’t paying attention to where they were stepping. If you were unlucky enough to slip down here, you most likely wouldn’t be coming back up to the surface dead or alive.
This Jenga pile was right next to the deep, dark vertical shaft to hell.
Since talc isn’t known for its stability properties, wood was often used to shore up the mines, especially near the entrances.
The mine itself didn’t go that far back before hitting a collapse.
So we turned around and carefully walked back to where we began.
Exit, straight ahead!
After exploring the Pleasanton Mine, it was time for the not so pleasant hike back to the car. It was hot, we were low on fluids and the new hiking shoes I had recently purchased were killing my feet.
As you can see in this photo, there was no way my 2WD Jeep Cherokee was going to make it past this point, thus the 5 mile roundtrip hike. Even though the hike was killer, it was well worth the effort to see this incredible piece of California’s mining history. If you ever make the journey yourself, be prepared, don’t be stupid and always respect the land and artifacts that remain so that future generations can enjoy these amazing places.