Driving around the area 50 miles or so south of Death Valley, we came upon a abandoned mining area. There was still mining going on (surface deposits) but they had upgraded the facilities. I liked this one better, though. Twenty miles farther north, Ballarat is a mining town that has a single inhabitant. The piano is sitting on the porch, and doesn’t get tuned often.
Supposedly, the pickup truck above was once ‘owned’ by Charles Manson, the cult leader in the late 60’s that was convicted of a number of murders. It sits in Ballarat, a small private holding within Death Valley National Park. Ballarat has a population of one.
Below is a building that is in Ballarat. If you want to call it a building. I thought it made a nice jumble, though.
These interesting structures are ‘bee hive kilns’ are found in Death Valley National Park and were used to create charcoal for smelting ore that was found locally. (This was back in the early 1900’s)
They are found high in the mountains where there were pines growing to make satisfactory charcoal. Unfortunately, the pines are very slow growing (not much water), and the trees that you see in the background are junipers that have taken the place of the pines. The claims ran out or became too expensive to work to justify the costs of working in such an inhospitable environment. The kilns were left, along with the destruction of the pine forest for miles around.
The ruins of the Ashford Mill are within the boundary of Death Valley National Park. The mill was built in 1914 and was processing the ore from the Golden Treasure Mine about 5 miles to the east. The location is just south of Badwater and is below sea level and a hot and dry environment. Not a good location for processing ore.
This is the lowest point in the North American continent, Badwater, Death Valley National Park at 282 ft (86m) below sea level. It was 104 degrees (40 C) when I took this photo. The white color is caused by people walking out to the actual low point in the middle of the valley. It is an alkali salt and the white color reflects the heat and makes it seem that much warmer. Not a pleasant place to spend a lot of time, but a unique experience.
The mountains across the valley include the highest point in Death Valley National Park … Telescope Peak at 11, 043 feet (3366 m). Quite a contrast in elevation in a short distance.