Eagle Mine

Write about your trip to the San Gabriel Mountains.

Eagle Mine

Joined: February 12th, 2014, 9:35 am

June 9th, 2018, 6:29 am #1

The last time I went to this area, I hit the Baldora and Gold Dollar sites on the way to San Antonio Ridge and Iron Mt. Eagle Mine had to be left out because it was out of the way, and I'd visit it another day. Today was that day.

The plan was to take the Heaton Flat trail up to Coldwater saddle, and then the old trail to Coldwater canyon (behind Widman Ranch). I trimmed back the brush on the old trail previously, but couldn't deal with the overabundant yucca in that area. This time I took somebody's (too lazy to look up who) suggestion to use hedge shears for the yucca, so I bought these the night before. Review: these are much heavier than the loppers I used before. They are effective for cutting back the yucca, however. Not at all effective for anything else, so the loppers are still handy. I forgot my gloves at home, so this ended up being a surprisingly bloody affair: impaled myself with maybe 1/2" worth of thorn several times. There was a LOT of yucca, and I didn't get to it all. And at this point another pass with the loppers would be good. Towards the end of the old trail the loppers started jamming up, and became mostly useless. I THINK some of the plant goo got into the gear mechanism, and simply needs to be cleaned out, but I don't know. Will deal with that later.

OK, anyway. I vaguely recall from old trip reports that Sean, Henry and Zé all experienced terrain challenges on their trips, and I think Zé was trying to follow the old trails (maybe? don't feel like looking it up right now). So I skipped the trails, and went straight up the Dry Gulch/Coldwater Canyon ridge from where it begins at the junction of these channels. When the ridge reaches the desired elevation, it allegedly meets the old trail, that traverses East to the Eagle Mine site. Since this is a traverse, I don't particularly care if the old trail is there anymore or not.

The old hunter's blind about Widman Ranch is still there, but they took down the ladder:



I walked up a little bit, and picked up a minor gully at the toe of the ridge. The ridge is steep in places, but pretty straightforward overall. The steepest section is probably at the very bottom. Going up I tried to stay on top as much as possible, and ended up crawling through brush a few times. But on the way down I picked my lines much more judiciously, left the ridge top several times, and didn't need to crawl at all. So this is a usable route. Looks like this about halfway up:



The ridge is in the middle, and you gain the prominent bump at the top, and go past it to get to Eagle Mine. The ridge is steep, but really not so bad. Where the old trail comes in, the terrain mellows out. The trail is clearly visible in many places, but since much of the traverse crosses scree fields, it's easy to lose. It looks like the USGS topos have a fairly precise marking of this section of trail. Soon I finished the traverse and was at the dry streambed, looking at the rock wall of the Eagle Mine site on the other side of the channel.



There's stuff here, but the stamp mill dominates the site:





Besides these being obviously pretty cool, it looks like somebody was trying to move them. There's a roll of some pretty serious webbing tucked in to the gap between the two presses:



And inside the left press was webbing hooks and ratchets:



Clearly these were placed there after the fact. No idea.

The crushed ore from the mill goes into this thing (a sluice box?):



The not-yet-crushed ore comes from this chute on a higher level:



And the chute is fed from here:



The adit goes back maybe 50ft, then turns straight up. I looked around for an upper entrance, but couldn't find it. But I really didn't look all that hard. The shafts were probably cut directly through a quartz vein: you can see the remains of it all along the ceiling.





There's lots of miscellaneous stuff scattered around:

















Across the streambed was another rock foundation, with nothing on it:



This maybe is where the cabin stood?

Eventually I headed back. Did a much better job staying on the old trail on the return trip, and it really is mostly still there. Somebody even flagged out this trail recently. This made it tempting to skip the ridge and to descend on the trail, but I lacked faith, and it was way too hot for such experiments.

Back at Coldwater Canyon, the water was flowing



And there were a number of those trees that look like Giant Sequoias but aren't Giant Sequoias.



I headed back. Set off a rattler in the brush somewhere, and found this guy (Rosy Boa?) in the rocks above the old trail:



4 birthday baloons
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Joined: September 30th, 2007, 1:51 am

June 10th, 2018, 12:14 am #2

The not-sequoias are Calocedrus (Incense Cedar) - I've seen a few that are nearly the size of sequoias or coastal redwoods.  The biggest was in Pacoima Canyon, about 3 km down from the start of the trail at Lightning Point.  I don't think it's there anymore, after the Station Fire.  Another very nice grove of them is located at the spring along the road into Lupine, on the first switchback below Blue Ridge Road.
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tekewin
Resident Trailcam Guy
tekewin
Resident Trailcam Guy
Joined: April 11th, 2013, 11:07 pm

June 10th, 2018, 12:49 am #3

Nice, Dima. Have you been to all the mines around Iron now? I can't imagine anyone trying to move that heavy equipment out of there. I can't imagine how it could be worth it.
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Joined: February 12th, 2014, 9:35 am

June 10th, 2018, 3:25 pm #4

Yes, I've now been to all of them. Apparently Eagle has a much larger working further up that I haven't been to, and I haven't been to the residential area of Gold Dollar. It's a nice area, and I'll come back.
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HikeUp
Likes Beer
HikeUp
Likes Beer
Joined: September 28th, 2007, 3:21 am

June 10th, 2018, 3:35 pm #5

That snake is free climbing the nose!
Hike up! The world's about to end. Flickr.
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Girl Hiker
Rock Scrambler
Girl Hiker
Rock Scrambler
Joined: April 4th, 2014, 1:46 pm

June 12th, 2018, 4:42 pm #6

Nice!
"Never limit yourself to what you can do!"
Bart Yasso  
My Hero
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AW
Canyon Man
AW
Canyon Man
Joined: October 1st, 2007, 6:00 pm

June 13th, 2018, 2:54 am #7

I wouldnt mind an overnite there. Nice.
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