Eldorado and Cottonwood Valley - 01/14/16 Trip Notes

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This page last updated on 06/15/2017
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Directions: Searchlight is situated in the Colorado River Basin in Clark County, Nevada on U.S. 95 and State Route 164, midway between Las Vegas and Laughlin (Fig. 02). From the Stratosphere Casino head northeast on Las Vegas Blvd about 3 miles and bear right to merge onto US-515/93/95 south towards Boulder City. Follow US-93/95 for 17 miles and then merge onto US-95 South (Veterans Memorial Hwy) for 36 miles to Searchlight. At the light, turn left onto NV-164 (Cottonwood Valley Rd.) and travel about a mile and then turn left onto 157 (Gas Pipeline Rd.). Travel on this dirt road about a half mile until you come to a large clearing (parking area). Park here and use this as a staging area.

Area Description: Even though I have visited here on several occasions, I always have a difficult time trying find the right label to describe this area. Some maps call the vast desert area due east of Searchlight, NV, nestled between the Eldorado Mountains to the north and the Newberry Mountains to the south, Cottonwood Valley. West to east, the area between Searchlight and Lake Mohave (Colorado River), is divided down the middle and managed by two agencies, the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and the NRA (National Recreation Area). The northern portion of this large valley is bordered by the Ireteba Wilderness Areas and the Nellis Wash Wilderness and Spirit Mountain Wilderness areas to the south (Fig. 02).

01/14/2016 Trip Notes: Harvey Smith, my friend Jim Herring and I decided to do some four-wheeling around the Cottonwood Valley area, east of Searchlight. After reaching the staging area on Gas Pipeline Road, we unloaded the quad and Ranger (Fig. 01) and began our journey by heading out in a northeast direction toward the Oakland Mine site and then on to Lake Mohave. The "yellow" on the map on (Fig. 02) highlights the routes we traveled on this visit.  Even though Harvey and I had both been here before, we began by giving Jim an extensive tour of the mine sites around the Oakland Mine. With numerous adits and shafts, mine heads, water tanks, a 4 stamp battery mechanical crusher, and other numerous debris, this site offers much to explore (Fig. 03). The stamp battery crusher seen in the collage was probably quite noisy and somewhat awkward to operate. Its traditional use was for the processing of mineral extraction, whether it be copper, silver, gold, or any other metal contained within host rock. The stamps were heavy metal weights that were lifted and dropped on the ore by a crankshaft. The crushed ore would then be further refined, usually by a mercury or cyanide process. From what I have learned, there appears to be more than one mine claim located here. The remains of the mine located on the hill south of the Oakland Mine appears to be a separate claim (Fig. 04). When searching around this site, I found a mine claim (Fig. 05) located in a pipe that was buried in the ground indicating that this site was the Berkley Mine Claim. Located on the top of this hill is what appears to be a steam driven piston and belt system (Fig. 06) that was made by the Ingersoll Rand company of New York. It appears that it was used to drive the pulley at the hoist equipment. Looking into the barred off shaft, it is apparent that this shaft is quite deep. (refer to the bottom right picture in Fig. 03). (trip notes con't below)

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Trip Notes Continued: After touring these sites, we began our journey through the hills and out across the valley by going though an area that was populated with hundreds of Pencil Cactus and Joshua Trees (Figs. 07 & 08).  We then followed a wash that paralleled Cottonwood Cove Road, east towards Lake Mohave (Fig. 09).  Refer to (Fig. 02). Driving down this wash along the road we encountered a car graveyard (Fig. 10). After reaching Rockefeller Road, we headed northeast toward the Irebeta Peaks, across a section of the valley that is covered with thousands of Jumping Cholla Cactus (Fig. 11). We then turned right onto Copper Mountain Cove Road and followed it down to Copper Mountain Cove (refer to Fig. 02) along the edge of Lake Mohave (Fig. 12). This peaceful spot was full of cat-n-tails, thick tamarisk salt cedar, an was a great spot to grab bite. While here we even spotted a fisherman that was boating out on the lake (Fig. 13). From here he drove back up Copper Mountain Road to Rockefeller Road and to the intersection of Solicitor Mine Road. This road travels northwest up the side of a mountain and a power-line at the top. The view in (Fig. 14) was looking back toward Lake Mohave. When we reached the power-line we weren't sure which way we needed to go. We decided to turn left and head down, following the power-line. Unfortunately, we should have followed the route (noted in red on the map in (Fig. 02), across the power-line road. Even though the route we chose took us somewhat out of our way, it provided some really great scenery and views (Fig. 15). All-in-all, it was another great day exploring abandoned gold mines and roaming around Cottonwood Valley.

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