SECTION: GHOST TOWNS & ABANDONED MINES
BERTHA MINE, GOODSPRINGS DISTRICT, NEVADA (2009)
the Bertha Mine (and most mines in the Goodsprings District) is
almost non-existent, and all I know about it is that it is just
about the most remote & difficult to access mines in the District;
it can only be reached after a long, difficult, arduous hike up
a steep canyon, requiring climbing up steep dropoffs and scrambling
over large boulders, as well as crashing through thorny bushes choking
the canyon floor. A direct route was once in place, but it has long
since washed away. Bypassing the canyon floor is not feasible, since
the abundance of sheer cliffs and rock faces prevents skirting the
canyon floor. We specifically waited for cooler weather before attempting
this hike, as there is NO water available in the area.
The Bertha Mine is not accessible by any road nor any remaining
trail; even the remains of the base camp & milling/processing
facilities cannot be reached by road, and may only be reached after
a long hike. Just how these miners got all their equipment &
supplies not only to their camp but up the canyon to the mines is
beyond my comprehension! There are signs that a significant pack
trail was once present, but most traces of it are long gone, as
it ran right along or in the canyon floor and occasional cloudbursts
have obliterated all remaining traces. With that said, we were hoping
that the mines would be fairly intact and that surprises would await
us; we were not disappointed!
Goodsprings was named for cattle rancher Joe Good, who used to water
his herd at the springs named after him. The town of Goodsprings
thrives to this day, but has many reminders of its glorified mining
past. In fact, there is an effort underway to have the former grade
of the Yellow Pine Mining Railroad designated as a trail under the
federal Rails To Trails program. The mining district extends well
beyond Goodsprings and generally incorporates mines around Sandy
Valley & the Potosi Mountain range as well. This section covers
a wide area throughout the district, including photos in & around
Goodsprings township proper.
Strikes in the area were recorded beginning in the early 1880s,
but high transportation costs stymied development until the SP,LA&SL
Railroad (aka "The Salt Lake Route," forerunner of the
Union Pacific) rails were laid through Jean in 1905, less than 10
miles to the south. In 1882 the Keystone Mine was located west of
Goodsprings, and a small mill was constucted in the town. The Yellow
Pine Mining Company was formed in 1901, by combining several smaller
claims located in Porphyry Gulch, roughly 4 miles northwest of Goodsprings
town. The increase in ore output from the various area mines demanded
better transportation to the SP,LA&SL railhead at Jean, and
so in 1909 an attempt was made to acquire the remaining assets of
the defunct Quartette Mining Company's railroad (the locomotives
& some equipment had already been acquired by the Arden Plaster
Company); the deal was not consumated until more than a year later,
and the Yellow Pine Mining Company Railroad was completed in June,
1911. The railroad was approximately 12-1/2 miles long, and featured
steep grades all along its length: 4 to 5% in the "easy"
section out of Jean, and then up to 12% in short sections
along the rest of the route! Runaways and accidents were not uncommon
during the railroad's lifespan. The railroad ran from Jean northwards
into Goodsprings (where the Yellow Pine Mining Co. mill was also
located, along the railroad route), and then northwesterly to the
Yellow Pine Mine. Several other mines were also served by the railroad
along the way to enhance revenue, a very few with their own spurs.
Many of these mines are privately owned, and posted "No Trespassing."
If you don't have permission from the owners, please do not trespass
upon private property! The BLM has also been active in the area,
sealing off unsafe mine entrances & installing bat grates over
others (to support the native bat populations found within some
of the area mines). Many of these mines are very unstable and unsafe!
So please STAY OUT & STAY ALIVE! And in the meantime
enjoy some of my exclusive photos of the interiors of these mines
|The only remaining
aerial tram tower, very high up on a very steep mountainside.
to Bertha Mine Page |
to Goodsprings Mining District Page |
to Ghost Towns & Mines Page
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