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February 6, 2016
Our most recent field trip took us to the North end of Ivanpah, around Clark Mountain. We've been in the area on days with a zero chance of rain and seen near flood conditions. One moment, the skies are blue. Then a small cloud pops up out of nowhere, drops heavy rain for a few minutes and disappears. The trip up to Clark Mountain from Primm is very gradual with wide valleys that funnel and concentrates rain into channels.
Trail conditions are just as unpredictable. Immediately after a rain, trails can be cut through or completely washed out. After a few light rains, in the month or two, the trails can be passable again after they naturally settle. With the exception of the trail leading up to Taylor and Lizzie Bullock Mines, the trail was much easier than it was just a few short months ago where 4WD was required. This day, the weather was near perfect and the trail had just the right amount of chop to keep it interesting.
Since a large section of this trail was along steep cliffs, we wanted to get everyone back on pavement before sunset. Even with the best off road lighting, a convoy on a dusty trail at night can be dangerous. As always, the best part of these trips is the stopping and socializing. Keeping daylight in mind, we tried to limit our stops. As it turned out, we weren't able to reach the better underground mines and found ourselves well ahead of schedule. So, I do owe everyone an apology for keeping an unnecessarily quick pace.
Our target trip highlights were the Silver Hill Cabin, Pacific Mill, Frank Curtis Cabin, Coliseum Mine, Taylor Mine and Lizzie Bullock Mine, but as mentioned, we never reached the final two destinations. Instead, we diverted the group to the nearby Umberci Mine. Although not as impressive as the intended mines, it was good to get underground as a group again.