Saturday

Lucy Gray Mine

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EFP-P1110300
(Fig. 01)
alltrails-maps-2
(Fig. 02)
Directions: From searchlight take 164 west to Nipton (about 20 miles),by road and trail northwest then east to sunset. There is a way to get to the Lucy Grey mine from Primm, Nevada by going around the dry lake bed and following the railroad tracks, however, the best way to get there is from the Nipton side which though further, is much faster. After about four miles of driving north along the paved road, called the Nipton Desert Road, that parallels the railroad bed that runs through the town of Nipton, you come to a railroad signal station. From here head east, passing through an open gated area and driving over a cattle guard (Fig. 02). The trail then heads in a northeast direction up an alluvial fan into the hills to the mouth of a large gully. The trek is mostly easy with one or two small sections that will require you to pay a little more attention.  Continuing up the wash trail another 1/4 mile you will come upon a large, old yellow dump truck marking the road that leads up the mountain to the mine site.
Note-1: Be aware, the Lucy Gray Mine is located just north of the  Nevada border, but if you approach from the Nipton side, you will briefly pass through California.  Being along the border, this is an area we've seen regularly patrolled.  I only mention that because I know many of you travel armed and California requires that firearms in a vehicle be unloaded and locked/cased.  Violations will, at a minimum, have your firearm(s) confiscated and likely end in arrest.
Note-2: It should be noted that, depending upon the site location, there are two different spellings for this mine – Lucy Grey and Lucy Gray. As of yet, I haven’t been able to determine which is the correct spelling.
                
04/29/2015 Trip Notes: Just after we arrived we heard a train coming from the north (Vegas) heading south. I grabbed my camera and began taking photos. Click here for pictures and info on the Union Pacific Railroad … The Union Pacific Railroad Crossing at Nipton. After unloading the Rhino, we crossed the road and began heading north, following the Union Pacific rail bed. The view of the Lucy Gray Mountains in (Fig. 01) was taken shortly after leaving Nipton. While driving up this road we passed an old cattle holding/loading corel (Fig.03). During the course of the next four miles we encountered three instances of desert tortoises crossing the road (Fig. 04). Click here for more information and pictures … Desert Tortoise Finding Near Nipton, California. When we reached the railroad signal station, we turned east, passing through an open gate and over a cattle guard. The trail then heads in a northeast direction up an alluvial fan into the hills to the mouth of a large gully (Fig 05).

Once you reach the gully and head into the hills, there are so many wash-like trails that the actual the trail becomes hard to follow. We ended up taking a wrong trail and had to eventually cross over a rough alluvial area to get back on the right trail (Fig. 06). The most difficult part of this trail is finding the route correct route that leads up to the mine and town site. If you are on the correct route, you will come to the small Lucy Grey Mine camp first (Fig. 07). This site is nothing more than an old cabin that looks like it had several extensions added on over time. The cabin is in surprisingly good shape and there are still plenty of relics inside, including tools, furniture and a refrigerator still containing some of its original contents as seen in the collage in (Fig. 08). Scroll down for more pictures and info on the mine itself.
                                    
FEP-P1110321
(Fig. 03)
EFP-P1110307
(Fig. 04)
EFP-P1110324
(Fig. 05)
EFP-P1110328
(Fig. 06)
EFP-P1110330
(Fig. 07)
2015 Lucy Gray Mine Camp
(Fig. 08)
EFP-P1110363
(Fig. 09)
Lucy Grey Mine 1a
(Fig. 10 & 11)
Lucy Grey Mine 2aMine Description: The Lucy Grey mine (Fig. 09) is located in Clark County Nevada, near the head of a basin that drains the west slope of the Lucy Grey Range, west of the McCullough Range. It is at an elevation of approximately 3,948 feet (Latitude: 35.54944 Longitude: -115.27556). Although there are several prospects within a mile south and west of the Lucy Grey, none ever attained an advanced state of development or production. It has been written that the mine consisted of nine unpatented claims. There are several shafts, including a 300 foot vertical shaft with levels at 80 feet, 200 feet and 250 feet, that by 1929 aggregated about 1,100 feet in length (Figs. 10 & 11) (1). At the time of production, it was equipped with a small on site cyanide plant. The Lucy Grey mine was started in either 1905 or 1913 and founded by T.L. Bright. Part of the Sunset or Lyons mining district, the location appears have been operating into the 1960s. The Lucy Grey appears to have produced Gold, Copper, Lead, Silver and Zinc. It has been noted that production since 1905 produced an estimated $50,000, mainly from gold. The grade of the mined ore fluctuated. Forty tons from 1913 to 1916 yielded $68 in gold and $9.70 in silver – ag per ton. In addition to the normal “danger – keep out” signs, this area is posted as radioactive, but it is an unofficial warning. Thorium and Uranium were mined in the area, but many miles away.  Neither were listed as even a tertiary ore at this mine.  It's possible that the mine interior contains elevated levels of radon, which is common for hard rock mining in this area, but would not be harmful from the ventilated surface. The mine was definitely a gold mine but some have come to mistake it as a uranium mine due to the unofficial radiation warning sign. Sadly, the Lucy Gray has been sealed by backfilling, foam, and bat bars. Sometime between January, 2010 and October, 2011 the mine openings were covered with heavy gauge steel grates and much damage was done to the main structure at the mine site itself.
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04/29/2015 Trip Notes (con’t): Continuing up the wash trail another 1/4 mile you will come upon a large, old yellow dump truck (Fig. 12) marking the beginning of the road that leads up the mountain to the main mine site. The road is mostly washed out and very steep, but well worth the hike up to the mine. We tried to drive up, however it proved to be so rocky, steep and washed out that we had to stop about a third of the way and hike the remainder (Figs. 13 & 14). Though most of its structures are in varying states of decay, there is still one near the top of the road that is still standing (Fig. 09). Hiking around this area will reveal several adits, shafts and air vents. I hiked up the mountain behind this structure and found several more openings, all covered with steel “bat gates” as seen in the collage in (Fig. 15). From the truck at the bottom of the road, to where I hiked up behind the mine structure, there is a 340 foot elevation gain. The mine's upper most shaft tops out at an elevation of nearly 4,300 feet. After hiking back down to the rhino we determined that there was no place wide enough to turn around safely, and ended up backing down the whole way (Fig. 16). Because there were several places where we had to carefully “rearrange” rocks to keep from sliding over the edge, this too us nearly an hour. On the ride back to Niption I did manage to capture a few wildflower pictures (Figs. 17-19).
                                   
EFP-P1110353
(Fig. 12)
EFP-P1110360
(Fig. 13)
EFP-P1110361
(Fig. 14)
2015 Lucy Grey Mine
(Fig. 15)
EFP-P1110392
(Fig. 16)
EFP-P1110390
(Fig. 17)
EFP-P1110399
(Fig. 18)
EFP-P1110403
(Fig. 19)
References:
(1) Geology and Mineral Resources of the Ivanpah Quadrangle ..., Issues 275-279 by Donnel Foster Hewett
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