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Our Expedition At Colorado Hill & Mogul Peak On April 13th 2013

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  • angel_of_thy_eternal_twilight
    Everytime I feel that I seen all their is to see I find something new something very few people ever journeyed at. Its hard to believe this place is less
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 14, 2013
      Everytime I feel that I seen all their is to see I find something new something very few people ever journeyed at. Its hard to believe this place is less then a half hour from my home lets just say its a world within a world. I chose for our expedition to start off in Mono Pass near a old ghost town site with very little remaining then we would venture over the mountains into this massive valley which contains the Mogul Mining District.
      Our journey would be all the more difficult as the road into Monitor Pass was out so we would have to hike up along on foot via road following the stream and old mono mining district. We did find some old foundations even climbed a few mine debris piles along the road but soon to our left we would find an old mining road that switched back for a couple of miles along these massive red cliffs.
      It was very difficult to traverse the road there was piece of wood, massive boulders and debris all over the place. At times we lost the mining road and just kept heading on up. You could tell that all the mines along the road were collapsed or dynamited which dashed my hope of finding a possible Bigfoot den. I have seen these creatures I have come closer then you could ever imagine but to find where they seek shelter at is another story it itself and the mines were not it as I suspected.
      I will say this halfway up along the cliffs nestled in a wash I found an open mine the problem was it was flooded and only about 5' in height. The water looked red as if it was contaminated so I was not able to get back into it. Its hard telling if the water is throughout the mine or its for the first hundred feet of the entrance. We continued our push higher along the cliffs of the very steep mono pass leaving it behind us. Along the way we would find old rails used by mine carts an occasional TNT box all the signs that at one time this was a bustling mining camp.
      The boys and I would eventually make it to the Zaka Mine where there were tailings, wooden structure, shed and a trailer. We were at the top of the red cliffs overlooks Mono Pass and the snowy peaks of the Carson Iceberg Wilderness. This was not a place you could four wheel in or take a vehicle you had to hike it on foot. It was a real big treat to be at one of our first major mine sites even though only remnants of the past remained including an old pot sitting on a stove it gave the place character.
      The tunnel for this mine was very wide but it did not go far back and there were wood planks surrounding it as if it were guarded. My guess would be they dug so far back until they realized the quartz vein either ended or did not hold any valuable miners. Things would get more interesting as we took the Zaka mining road back from the mine to our left which took us past a rusty gate into this large lush valley with a panorama in front of us of snowy peaks.
      As we hiked to our left was Colorado Hill then adjacent to us was Mogul Peak which btw looks like a massive piles of rocks and pretty cliffs. Colorado Hill was more like a mountain and my goal with it was to find an older miners cabin. The problem was is once we came out to the valley we began our ascension up the hill not knowing where this cabin could be. I counted multiple roads going up into the woods of the hill and only one would take us to where we wanted to be otherwise it could have eaten into our trip by a couple hours.
      The boys and I at times decided to just climb the steep hill to get to some of its higher roads that is when we took this road that dead ended with boulders as if some of the mountain collapsed. On a hunch I led the boys and I over the rocks where we found the road continued onward following the outer edge of the hill not to far from the peak. The road split into a Y we ended up following it to the left where it dead ended at the miners cabin overlooks the entire valley, Mogul Peak and off in the distance we could see small debris piles further down into the valley. Most were very small mines probably worked solo by one or as many as two men.
      We would have lunch inside of the cabin it kept us out of the high winds. I explored the hillside below the cabin as well there were allot of rusty cans,bed springs, stove and scrap metal. We would cut down Colorado Hill take a road that split to the bottom of the valley as our next goal would be to head up along Mogul Peak in search of the Morning Star Mine one of the oldest and largest mines within this district.
      What I could not believe while hiking back here is how little signs there are off any human activity. For example down one of the roads was some four wheeling tracks its obvious there are other roads back in here then the way we hiked on in. I also seen a set of boot tracks for awhile down one of the sandy roads of about a size 13 but other then that I could tell this is a place very few humans ever get to see. You cant just drive on in not one truck tire track back here just 360 degrees of mountains, rock formations, cliffs and snow capped peaks. I did see a sign that said you are in the Toiyabe-Humboldt National Forest. The forestry was not maintaining it however there was no trail maps or anything at the kiosk.
      While following the road we found a pile of red and black feathers. Just a matter of a few feet away was also a couple of 11.5" tracks with mild toe impressions. This size generally is equivalent to an adolescent Bigfoot anotherwards one that is not full grown. I thought perhaps maybe it killed the bird then made the tracks as it headed back up into the peaks. The view was very beautiful here the ground was flat it was just a green prairie and we were right in the middle of this jewel.
      We ended up taking the road between two very rocky peaks one of them being Mogul Peak. The cliffs, rock formations and red rocks were amazing. As we entered the canyon we begin to follow a creek about a mile away to our right below Mogul Peak was the remnants of the morning star mine. For that would seal the deal this at one time was a major mine in the sierras. All I could see is its massive debris pile and tailings protruding atop of it.
      The boys started to head to the top of the mine I stayed below it to look for more tracks as the ground in the canyon was lush with mud, emerald grass, flowers and perfect for a creature like Bigfoot to remain elusive here. I did not find any tracks but I did find a second creek which was polluted by a white substance. So it is possible that the water back in this canyon is not safe to drink which would explain why I found no strange tracks back here.
      I finally ascended to the Morning Star Mine where my boys were watching me climbing. It was really tedious for me my knee is not doing so well so I struggled with that last part of the climb to the mine. Hell I didn't even know this was the Morning Star we speculated that it was but was not sure. Only later after seeing an old photo of it was I able to match it up with my finds.
      The entrance into the mine was collapsed we found some mine cart rails half buried under the earth. I also found a collapsed miners cabin and some other structure that was half burnt. There were tailings protruding from the debris pile which we sat on and took a family photo of the snowy mountains behind us. The view down into the canyon was stellar as well as we could see the creek meandering through the green meadows.
      We would hike down the mining road exiting the canyon where we begin to take a road to the right which appeared to be heading to the top of some unknown peak. I decided to turn us around as the sun was getting ready to set. But what I noticed off to my left up in the cliffs was a den of sorts maybe even a cave. There would be no way we would reach it without getting stuck here at night so we used our powerful zooms to photograph it to see if anything was peering out from it at us.
      As we started to head back we somehow got side tracked as in the woods was the remnants of some wood structure. It may have been part of a mine or miners cabin all that remained is a few post and planks. At that point I decided to take a shortcut so we made a descent along a creek in the woods. I remember one part was so steep I decided to slide down on my ass I traveled nearly 50' good stuff felt like a kid all over again. That is where my son found this large broken bone in the middle of the woods and also a post surrounded by stones. Perhaps a grave marker of some kind?
      I thought we would hit the road in the valley but instead the creek led us out for nearly two miles to a plateau full of sage brush and grass. Surprisingly it overlooked the road and the Carson River below. My truck was just parked a couple miles up this road so we really felt good about all the ground and wilderness we covered. We decided to take our shoes off and eat dinner here for almost an hour. The sun was going down we made it out of here perfect timing then eventually we would once again follow the creek out to the road.
      Following the creek we had to be careful the rocks were slippery even though my hiking boots are waterproof they only work when you do not step knee deep through the water lol. I will say this though for about a mile of the hike along the creek the kids and I found some really pretty purple rocks. Although they mined gold in these mills there were many other minerals that they mined here as well including this mineral which is very dominant in the wash we took out to the Carson River.
      We ended up hiking down the road for about two miles it was good to see the truck. Strangely not one vehicle drove down the road as we followed the river all in all it was a very intriguing site I cannot believe that this place is in my backyard practically. Its not like its a well known place its actually very secluded by mountains and cliffs. To get back here requires miles of hiking and id say we did about 12 miles of it.
      When I arrived home I had so many cuts that is how you know your Squatching its when you come home bloody legs, bruises, foliage caught in your beard and your clothes are muddy. When I ate my dinner I do not remember much I went to the bathroom fell asleep standing up, fell asleep at the dinner table and when I went to post on FB my status about it smashed my head on my keyboard. I was pretty tired and spent the later part of this week still recovering. I am not well physically years ago I could do a hike like this 4 times faster but now these expeditions run from morning till night so between my back and knees I am lucky to each and everytime make it home safe.
      It is just an amazing place so close to home it makes you wonder what other secrets are found in some of the canyons and between some of these peaks. The large broken bone, pile of feathers and tracks drew in some of my curiosity that predators do lurk these woods. I look forward to working with this region and eventually visiting other nearby sites such as Monitor an old ghost town which actually also is found nearby. Your going to be amazed with this addition to our site its gorgeous its a place so very few ever get to see let alone know of its existence.
      Lord Rick
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