May Lundy Mine - photo gallery

October 7, 2014

We took many photos during our last trip up to the mine.  Below are about 170 of them, and some documentary to go along too.
You may need to refresh your browser to see them all.

The road to the mine begins here, at the outlet of Lundy Lake.  Lundy proper and Lundy Canyon are seen at the far end of the lake.  Lake levels are low (we are in a drought) but come winter this is sometimes a great ice skating lake.  When the lake is frozen, it groans and makes all sorts of strange sounds.  This fall morning it is about 8:45 a.m. and we have the place to ourselves except for two Italian fishermen. 

From the parking lot the second thing I notice (after the crisp fall air) are the locks on the gate between us and the road.  I have access to a set of keys but these locks likely have been changed.  On the way up we'll pass a couple more old gates that guard the old road to May Lundy mine.  This road was built in 1882 even before the US Forest Service was in existence.  Today it makes a hitching post for our Great Pyrenees, Casper. 

After big winters sometimes the lake level makes it all the way up to the dam.

From the parking lot, looking up at Gilcrest Peak, we're going to skirt this mountain and enjoy the early morning shade.  Gilcrest looks a little similar to Mt. McGee near our house with all the rocky outcrops.

The road skirts Lundy Lake and is hemmed in by colorful fall foliage.  Casper, a certified trouble maker, is quickly off leash as the two fishermen confirm that no one was on the trail this morning, plus there are no other cars in the lot.  "Kuvasz", one of them muttered in broken English and pointed at him.  "One person dog".  His daughter had one and when he took care of it it bit his arm.  (and severed it at the elbow -- just kidding!!)  We were told the Kuvasz comes from eastern Hungary.  Casper came from Bakersfield and from a litter of Great Pyrenees but there were a couple of short hair Pyrenees in the litter.   Casper isn't the typical gentle giant, he's always on guard and on attack.  Great with our family but intimidating to everyone else, so he's always on leash except for when we're miles away from civilization.

After about 100 yards the road climbs up from the lake and you can see the road on the other side headed to the Lundy Lake Resort and campground.  Here we come across another gate post, minus the gate.

Looking back at Lundy Lake, we're around the middle of the lake now.  There's another abandoned gate post but I won't bore you with that photo.

Here's a photo I took earlier even before we began the hike.  From Lundy Lake road you can see the mine trail that we are now on.  Amazingly, after 100+ years this road is still in decent shape for being cut across a steep, rocky, and loose mountain side.  Back in Reno, there is also a large journal that I read that surveys this historic road all the way up to the mine.  The past owners said the USFS has no right to impede motorized access to private property - the USFS counters that they do if there are other reasonable means, such as hiking or by helicopter.  We happen to not see eye-to-eye with the USFS when it comes to this matter.  Four+ miles up and then four miles back, isn't any easy jaunt regardless of doing work once while up there.  We started at 7,800 feet (lake level) and topped out at 10,777 -- a few feet shy of 3,000 vertical.  Later, carrying down 60 pounds of high grade had me cursing the USFS under my breath.  But heck, I can take some responsibility too, grabbing a kid's backpack early in the morning wasn't the correct choice for that weight, also, being out of shape and old is more suited for lighter activity.  (like web page updates or romantic walks around Convict Lake)

Looking up lake and our first glimpse of the town of Lundy.

Mountains across the lake.  Up there is a neat 4x4 road that can be accessed out of Virginia Lakes.  Interestingly enough, I'll return to Virginia Lakes further on down.  There's a whole web of USFS intrigue and real estate dealings that stem out of a single Virginia Lakes lot located in an avalanche zone.  Even the market crash of 2008 and following recession is all tied in.

With owning a lot of land we develop an eye for detail and changes.  Here it's noticed that someone is cutting back willows from the road way and tossing them over the edge.  I saw recently that these folks have developed an interest in our road - it's a fat tire mountain bike group out of Mammoth, maybe it was them:

Personally we think this trail is ill suited for mountain biking, too steep, too loose, too rocky.  Regular folks would seriously question why this is being recommended.  Families?  Forget about it.

More fall colors and Mt. Scowden appearing in the distance.

Getting higher above Lundy Lake, Gilcrest Peak shade is appreciated!

Here's a glimpse over an arm of Mt. Scowden and up Lundy Canyon.  Nice to see water flowing in the distance from Burro Lake.  It's remarkable how in this drought the Sierra continue to release water for all to use.  Here's to a big winter.

Quick break on the trail to catch our breath, Casper temporarily leashed up because deer are spotted and because there is a short-cut trail that comes up from the below town of Lundy.  We don't want to have him give someone a scare.  I've attended tracking school in Pennsylvania and after a while can tell that no one is ahead of us.

Looking across Lundy Canyon to Mt. Olsen.  As one can imagine the danger from avalanches is high.  The road is shut down in the winter time.  Summer rockfalls are common too.

Town of Lundy directly below.

More fall color and scattering deer, but too slow with the camera to catch the herd.

I'm not much of a geologist, but it looks like metamorphic and granite mountains side by side.

Trails does a quick switch back through the aspens.  In this area a ranger took a bobcat (way back when) up to fix the road because seeps were taking over the roadbed and creating quite a mess.  This section still needs repair and is quite overgrown.

Last look up Lundy Canyon before we enter Lake Canyon.  Small morning clouds are appearing casting their shadows up to Burro Lake.  Clouds forming already tell me this may turn out to be even more of a photogenic day than planned on.  A couple years ago during the same time frame we hiked up and encountered a winter storm in the making with all the fixings: snow, wind, ice, chilling temps and had to make a hasty retreat.  An Eastern Sierra saying goes something like, "Don't like the weather, hang around for a few days and it will change."

Zoomed in to try and capture the fall colors against the red mountain side.

Geologically speaking, Lake Canyon is a hanging glacial valley.  This is the "hanging" part where South Fork Mill Creek drops quickly into Lundy Canyon creating quite the vista of cascades and waterfalls.  Imagine back in the day, a huge glacier originating way up Lundy Canyon near Mt. Conness that comes down and trumps all other glaciers, absorbing them (and their fill) while shaving them clean off.  This is what happened to Lake Canyon, but lucky for us because today it's a stunning valley complete with four glacial lakes.  The early morning shade and sun glare off Mt. Scowden doesn't do this shot justice, but I'm sure you get the idea how everything is better in person, photos from this aged iphone only go so far.

Another interesting fact about this photo is this is where the new wilderness officially begins and basically it swallows/parallels up the road to a point of 75 feet on either side.  No, it's not something that's been surveyed or marked in fact on the ground, it was all done on paper.  So technically you are legal on a mountain bike as long as you remain on trail.  On the Eastside this is known as the "cherry stem".

Old power pole bringing electricity from Lundy to May Lundy. (or vice-versa)

Now we are talking, here's a road that's 133 years old and looks like it was made yesterday.  Eastern Sierra roads are a public asset and seldom disappear naturally.  You can picture the wagon trains coming down a century ago loaded with $5,000 worth of gold per week.  Doesn't sound like much?  Back then gold was $20/ounce.  Today 250 ounces of gold is valued at $306,000.  Inflation over 100 years is substantial as it costs a lot more dollars to buy the same ounce of gold.

Still in the morning shade and first glimpse of the "pyramids".

Looking back on the trail -- never met a dirt road I didn't like for a long morning stroll with Lake Canyon all to ourselves.

Here we meet up with the south fork of Mill Creek.  A modern culvert handles the stream flow under the road, looks like it was installed in the 1980's.

As we get closer to the pyramid you can see some glacial polish going on.  Yet, this area differs so much from the other side of the sierra because our rocks here have more joints making them fracture easily under glacial stress compared to the huge granite slabs in Yosemite.

At closer view the pyramids start looking like minarets!

Looking down trail, our casual stroll through the woods has officially ended.

This might have been the worst part of the whole road, you could feel every sharp rock come up right through the Asics.  Coming down under a full load was pure misery.

No pain no gain.  After much effort is was easy street again.

Must be a wilderness barrel trying to escape on the new cherry stem.

Casper figures where there are barrels there are people, and trouble to cause.  It's like a puzzle, the barrel didn't just sprout out of the ground but arrived here under human power.  Was it being rolled down-hill as a cumbersome trophy?  What was in it?  Will it be here next time?  How old is it? (well that one was a give-away because the year 1902 is stamped on top)

Meadows equate to easy walking.  Don't know what that is up in the sky but it's not a drone, most likely dust on the camera lens or a bug - but I recall no bugs all day long.  That's another reason why October is my favorite time of year.  Been seeing some drones in practice at Shady Rest Park in Mammoth Lakes and the other day following a bunch of hang-gliders who launched off the top of Mt. McGee -- must have made for some good footage.

First view of the May Lundy Mine private land.  It's most of the top left mountain, we can call it May Lundy Peak.  On my map it looks like it is part of the Dore Cliff.  On the other side but still some distance away is Saddlebag Lake and the 20 Lakes Loop.  If you haven't done that hike yet you should - it starts with a water taxi out of Saddlebag and then a easy 5 mile loop showing off many high altitude lakes.  In my opinion counter-clockwise is the way to hike it.  Great for families (all ages) and pets are welcome on the water taxi too.

But back to the May Lundy Mine, you can see mid screen (and all the way to the left, tan in color) the largest tailing dump of the upper workings.  We'll get there soon.

If you're interested in the 20 Lake loop hike out of Saddlebag here's a map.

Right now we're shedding a layer, California sun is warming year round.

This is new to us, interpretive signs all around.  I saw a couple years back one USFS ranger was accepting comments for a grant to do some work up here regarding the mine tailings and potential health hazards from them so I gave him a ring.  Basically, he said there were some plans to stabilize a small portion of Crystal Lake shoreline and slap up some signs.  I don't recall exactly but it was a small project maybe $10-$12K.  I was concerned about the risk and he said it was relatively safe, just don't eat the fish out of Crystal Lake or camp in the processed mine workings.

This sign has been here for a while.  It signals the end of the cherry stem.  A few years back it let you know that you finally reached wilderness, which is how I like it.  One should work to get into the wild (at least a couple miles), and I'm opposed to designer wilderness that comes right to your doorstep like what was proposed recently.  Seriously, wilderness was brought right to my buddies back door on his house.  Here in Lake Canyon the wilderness doesn't even come close to "lands untrammeled by man". 

It's plenty trammeled, there's even a tram.

Now before you paint me a wilderness hater you must understand that I actually revere wilderness.  I'm also passionate about the front country lands too where more things are permitted like sustainable wood harvest, prospecting, rock collecting, truck camping, recreational uses banned from wilderness, ski areas, mountain communities, and the like.  But what happens mostly in the Eastern Sierra is "open" land use is swapped for another (wilderness) leaving the citizens to ponder on freedom loss.  Was it really necessary?  Can humans actually help the environment or is the environment helped by locking us out?

These are great questions that I like to look at through the eyes of a gardener.  Absolutely yes, the environment can be improved through direct human interaction.  We do it all the time on so many levels back home at Hilton Creek it's amazing.  But imagine one day Congress decreed that you are no longer allowed to maintain your home - let it run wild, look but don't touch, and only you can prevent it from burning down (from a distance and wishful thinking).

OK, perhaps I'm sounding pompous.  Our aspen glades and wildflowers at Hilton Creek would be magnificent with or with-out our involvement, who am I to claim credit?  What I mean to say is that we have the ability to enhance our environments and to make them better.  We do by planting apple trees, fruiting bushes, and thousands of more flowers.  We can change rocky decomposed granite (our local soil) into producing vegetable gardens and certified pollinator habitats.

Well, I've rambled enough.  Welcome to the Hoover Wilderness and a small man made mountain.

Crystal Lake below and what looks like a lateral moraine.

Fall colors and side view of the massive tailing dump that emptied the lowest level tunnel that accesses our property.  Years ago I read that this pile held about 6 million in unprocessed gold, today you could probably multiple that by 3.  Caveat being, this is wilderness and gold processing is not allowed - the cherry stem is a mere walk away, perhaps it is allowed there?

The May Lundy Creek still flows even though the access tunnel was dynamited shut.  With no open air tunnel I was told that it was likely the air is now bad and tunnel supports are rotted and useless.  Miners had built a wooden bridge all the way back to not have to walk in the man made creek.  Last person in said that bridge was moldy and slick as snot, one literally could ice skate all the way back.  I can only imagine the state of things inside and Casper probably shouldn't be drinking the water.  There have been cases of dogs getting seizures from drinking (or swimming) in certain lakes around Mammoth, algae is suspected.

Here is the May Lundy creek at a level spot, don't let the stillness of the water fool you, it's moving along at a good pace.  This man made creek is contributing a lot to the local wetlands because as you'll see in a bit Onieda Lake isn't sending any more water out the outlet.  That's an iron pipe right in the middle.

As we get close to the adit you can see the bridge that goes all the way back and some rail.  The past owner told me he put the rail in, about $10,000 worth back 30+ years ago.  He told us both, "Good-luck, I spent 30 years of my life getting this mine ready to be opened with-out success."  That's a lot of time and effort especially coming from one who has many other successful mining operations running in Nevada.  He also told us that there are many pristine mining relics located inside, like two enormous compressors used to run drills ready to be dusted off.  Someone else ventured in and found some dynamite too, I recall seeing a memo from the Mono Sheriff regarding a team coming up and setting it off.

Here is the present day view of the Lake Level tunnel, this is the grandaddy of them all.  When I scoured the records one late evening at the Grand Sierra Resort I believe this one was call the Pierce Tunnel.  Thousands of feet of workings originated from here, it was a smart plan to connect the main ore bodies by this tunnel because then some work could still be done moving ore underground and bypassing the tram (which probably got damaged every winter).

Looking back downstream the track splits.

To the looker's right the track ends.  Down below are ruined cabins and all sorts of machinery from when Tom Hanna took ownership of the mine.  Tom was married to Wanda Muir (eldest daughter of naturalist John Muir) and probably would have made a good run on the May Lundy but when WWII broke out all unnecessary mining (like gold) was suspended.  Unable to pay the bills the mine was auctioned off again.  Of course, extreme winters and the drop in gold after WWII combined to make it the final blow.

If you ever swing by the Lundy Lake resort there is a great book there for sale, LUNDY, written by Jim Hanna, grandson of Tom.  It's a hiker's guide to geology and history of Lundy, Lake Canyon, and surrounding mines.

Another book worth checking out at our local Crowley Library is also, Lundy, written by Alan Patera.  A word of caution though, this book may incite some gold fever of your own.  The May Lundy Mine had 100 miners working it at the height, and word was another 100 were going to be brought on all to be thwarted by not paying the bills -- the local sheriff came up and suspended mining operations to everyone's disbelief.  You can also buy Alan's book online here:

In today's outing we aren't interested in pouring all over the mining artifacts as they now lay in official wilderness and our claim to them is dubious at best.  Onward and upward!

Terminus.  "Sanctuary for all."

Next up for your wilderness viewing pleasure... the dam at the outlet of Oneida, built to raise the water levels.  Higher water levels equaled more water pressure to work the mine equipment.  Today this dam is high and dry, Oneida isn't even getting close.  Regardless, this is a very interesting man-made structure to say the least, let's get a closer look.

Axe hewn timbers arranged to stand 100 years and hold back the lake, I'm impressed.

Close up of the log ends, even the cracks have cracks.

The view directly behind the dam, Oneida Lake and Tioga Crest.  From a dam builders perspective I'd say there's not enough water here to make a go of it.

Taking a look back, you can see the top of the dam between the two bushes.  In normal years Oneida Lake overflows here and continues through the cracks in the dam to meet up with the May Lundy creek and then down to Crystal Lake.  Today, nothing is flowing and the small bit of water here is stagnant.

Beautiful Oneida Lake and Casper needs no invitation to take a dip.

Here comes a polar bear.

You can see the drop in lake level and exposed rocky lake bed - it's a good four feet worth.  Usually this lake comes right up to the vegetation.  Today the outlet is dried up.

Tioga Crest, Dore Cliff, and Dore Pass.  You can also hike in from that way if you were camped over at Saddlebag Lake.  I like their resort (and most resorts in general) you can check them out at 
Oneida Lake has some good fishing and further up valley is another lake, Ada.

A quick drink of water and were headed up to our property right under that cloud, but where's the trail?

Best way to find it is to get back above the lake level tunnel and head up hill, following the tram line.  After a little bit of talus scrambling you'll run right into a nice path used a century ago by man and pack animal.  But first, here's a pile of junk that's waiting for someone with strong fabrication skills.  It's been waiting a long time.  What could you build, a fancy wristwatch?

We are on the May Lundy trail headed up, views are incredible, and spirits are high because this walking path is great compared to blazing trail over jagged and loose rocks.  More clouds are forming and it looks like weather is rolling in.

Looking back down on a shimmering Oneida Lake.  You can't see it in this photo but there looks like a road and switchbacks across the lake and headed over. 

Lake level tailings below, if you look closely there are other tailing mounds too headed right into Crystal Lake.  A co-worker told me he once took a quad up from the Log Cabin Mine and drove across Mt. Warren and peered down into Lake Canyon.  This was all pre-wilderness, nowadays that sort of activity is off limits.  Besides a picking up wind, there is no noise to speak of.

Here's a side view of that tram mentioned earlier.  It's in great shape and survived the odds over so many years.  I'd bet that this would be a good place for a cabin.  Cables are still up.

Getting closer.

Zoomed in a little bit to show some more details, everything looks good, turn it on.

Triangles are the secret to my success.

Looking back Lake Ada is almost visible.

Under the cable.

Cable slices through Oneida.

Moving on.

Blue skies are getting filled with ever higher altitude clouds.  I took this picture because of the Rabbitbrush.  I recently had a bee keeper ask me if I had any property covered in Rabbitbrush because it makes a great wintering spot for bee hives (at lower elevation of course).  Now everywhere I go I see Rabbitbrush.

View towards our start, Bodie mountains in the distance.

Casper leading the way up the switchbacks.  This trail up is easier walked than the section of road we did earlier this morning because it's built for hiking.

Trail leads through some small stands of trees.  I think you can see the outline of this trail on google earth, or at least parts of it.  When I last looked it seemed that there was a road up on the very top of our property.


Someone was considerate and left what looks like a piece of tram line pulley.

Up another switchback.  From lake level up to mine I think was another 1000 vertical feet.

From here on out I started getting a dizzy light-headed feeling and balance was off.  Probably because of the immense field of view whenever one looks up from the trail.  A points it was a little nerve racking because on a slope like this I prefer to have a snowboard strapped on my feet. (accompanied by ample powder)

Bodie Mountain?

Dana Plateau mid screen, Mt. Dana right.  Half of Mt. Dana is in Yosemite National Park, the right side of it as seen from here.  Love Yosemite Valley in the fall and after a dusting of snow.  Chalk up another plus for October.

Oneida with wind.

Look close and you will see the trail along with a couple rusty pipes.

Looking up at the biggest workings on the upper May Lundy Mine.  Our property begins near that tailing and goes up to the top and over to the right.  20.67 acres, rectangular in shape, mineral rights to the center of the earth, air rights to outer space, water rights, and surveyed.  In Reno I looked at a couple surveys but have no desire to teeter about to find monuments - it's loose footing out there!  Either way, there aren't any neighbors, only the USFS, who doesn't have a budget anymore to send out survey staff.  Until that happens we'll all use the honor system.

Lengthwise shot.  Also note the horizontal cuts, those were the enormous quartz veins which kicked off this whole mining boom.

Casper takes a switchback break to examine the valley floor for movement.  Reminds me of Mono Pass out of Little Lakes Valley at the end of Rock Creek. 

He's looking for hikers, or happy dogs down in the meadow - at home we set up a telescope on our deck because he likes to bark at the International Space Station when it gets too low in orbit.

No one fishing Oneida today or we'd hear about it.  We've made it up to the cookhouse and bunking facilities, time to rummage around.  Section of trail visible below.

Not a lot left over the years.  Plenty of useless smashed building pieces, lots of scrap metal, square nails, and broken wood burners.  Nice place to pitch a camp because there are several protected flat spots.  It's great to have level ground underfoot.

Property for sale.  Many uses besides gold mining, a little creativity can go a long way.  Land trade comes to mind, so does a heli-ski operation, or a high country camp similar to those in Yosemite next door.

$77,777 (Try and guess what my lucky number is)

You might scratch your head and wonder, why is the price so high?  After all, this looks like prime avalanche zone, anyone who builds a structure here is at risk.

I'm glad you asked that question.  The answer is long, but since you are here I can give a brief overview.  We lease .25 (that's a quarter) acre lot from the USFS and every twenty years their best and brightest come in to reappraise this quarter acre plot.  I won't get into detail of where this lot is specifically, but it's on the Inyo, within rock throwing distance of the 395 and the most notable feature besides being in a fragrant Jefferey Pine forest is that it's on a well signed OHV trail.  Other limitations include: no winter access, no water, no electricity, no cell service, and plenty of micro-management from the landlord, USFS.  As you can imagine this makes for a tough appraisal, how does one find a comparable?  No one uses outhouses anymore. 

Aha!  The USFS appraisal team picks Virginia Lakes subdivision because they too have no winter access.  (along with no cell service or electricity)  Makes sense.  And looky here, a .25 acre lot just changed hands for $30,000.  So after consulting the financial calculator, your USFS lease (recreation residence, forest service cabin, et al) is now valued at $35K - so says the official appraiser and his will is done.  You can appeal (which we did) but your appeal is hereby overturned and both sides have dropped a small fortune on certified mail.

We only appealed because of one glaring misjudgment that parlayed into another bigger one.  The lot in question in Virginia Lakes we actually bought in 2006, so it's easy talking about a comparable that... we were apart of.  We bought it for $15,000.  A couple months later the Mono County assessor told us, we saw you bought this lot for $15K but we are going to value it on our official books at $30K.  A quick phone call and the assessor told me we got too good of a deal and so he's valuing the avalanche property at double!  Talk about highway robbery, something like that never has happened in my experience before -- usually land bought is valued at the price paid.  We let it slide, but shouldn't have because the consequences rolled over to the USFS and their appraisal team.  I tried talking with the USFS to no avail.  It went to appeal, and lost.  Our stance was that the USFS made an incorrect appraisal based on Mono County's records, it's all there as plain as day.  Lease fees should have gone up 150%, not 300%.

If you're wondering why this happened the way it did you must go back into the year 2006.  The real estate bubble was getting big but wouldn't pop for another two years.  Anyone with a pulse was being offered mortgages, home equity lines of credit, or zero percent balance transfers on credit cards.  If you even touched real estate you'd were making easy money, us normal folk didn't hesitate to take on more debt, because that half million dollar house would be worth a million in the next year.  You were a fool if sitting on the sidelines, get into to some real estate!  Little did anyone know that Wall Street was behind this easy money fiesta.  More loans!  Give em' away and package them up, we'll pass them on for a premium, yes this is awful debt not backed by anything but we'll sell it off as prime stuff - knowingly.  Even our small town assistant assessor bought into the hype, he told me on the phone, "I would've paid $30,000 for your Virginia Lakes lot, but I don't have the money." 

Six years later our country is still feeling the repercussions of the Wall Street casino.

So is everyone who owns a cabin over leased forest service land.  

So going back to the price... bottom line, the USFS values their land at top dollar, regardless of extenuating circumstances or popped real estate bubbles.
And locked up in the mountain are a proven 100,000+ ounces of gold. 

Lastly, in the Eastern Sierra, location is everything and this patented land delivers: mineral rights, water, views, no neighbors, and topography beyond belief.  One must take all factors
into account when setting a price, however, we do like to price competitively with all of our properties.  

At least on this wilderness in-holding it has built in owner financing, we don't expect anyone to plunk down the full amount in cash, but $395/month, that is affordable.

The new buyer(s) will take ownership of this mountain all the way to the top.  Bring along a friend or two, helps to split up the costs.

More upper diggings, then our property rises straight up.

Above us the old structure aftermath have been clinging to the rocks for over a century.

Portal to the clouds.  Over this ridge the hiking trail continues to access the top, we didn't take that fork.

Zoomed in on Oneida, a gusty wind makes me lose balance.

Zoomed in on the Dana Plateau and Mt. Dana.  One of my co-workers told me of a spring snowboarding excursion he made up there only to drop into a iced couloir and near-death experience.

Casper wishing he was back down at lake level.

Clouds and sunlight keep changing, so I must keep snapping.

Wood burning stove door.  Living on the Eastside we've accumulated many a wood burning stove, have some for sale too.  Email if interested.

Caught a scent.

Bones!  Everywhere.  May Lundy miners ate well.

Changing light.

Changing clouds.

Next up, rock work.  The granite was formed into foundations that survived avalanches.  I'm a fan of using local materials to build walls like the Great China Wall overlooking the Owens Gorge.  This spring we built some rock walls of our own on a separate project, along with all the local granite we sneaked in some rocks from Death Valley, Cerro Gordo, Swansea, Dolomite, Red Rock, Panamint Valley, Old Whiteside Diggings, and even some old abandoned pavement that used to take travelers to Tom's Place.

Kind of hard here to tell where rock wall and rocky mountainside meet.

Time to split from the group, headed up to that digging solo.

Casper gets tied to a pipe to prevent him from following - too rocky, too loose for him.

Higher up some impressive masonry.  At this point I'm feeling a little out of touch with my surroundings and reality.  It's like a scene from Middle Earth, stone walls grow right out of the mountainside, underneath are endless tunnels of pitch black.  Maybe it's the altitude.

More debris from forgotten battles.

So much to see and take in.

At the edge of an unstable precipice.

Clouds have left the portal.

The White Dragon (avalanches) stripped all the lumber except for the door frame.

Room filled with rock slides.

Close up on the craftsmanship.  

Who were these builders?

Hinge, but only a piece of the door remains.

Tree limb propped to save the last bit of door from being blown down to Mono Lake.

Higher above another destroyed building.

Never get tired of the views.

Top of the property.  Center screen left there is a couloir going to the top if one felt like scrambling.  Experienced back country skiers drop it when conditions permit.

Although it isn't picked up in this photo, there is a faint side trail leading to the mines.  It's easier to traverse the slope on that than to trail-blaze.

That's where I'm headed.

But first it's time for a photo.

More stuff weathering away.

Stovepipe is holding up rather well.

More rock work and the May Lundy couloir.

Rock wall holding back the mountain.

Wouldn't take much work here to re-level this platform and skycrane in a railroad car.

Ore from above dig.

More ore.

Some good stuff to pick through.

Higher diggins, overflowing with loose rock.

Must be more to see up there, but don't have the time.

Grabbed a chunk of quartz.

Halfway there.

Some level ground to stretch out and take in Mt. Warren.

Gilcrest and Warren.

Last leg.

Losing the trail, slipping and sliding.

Fell somewhere around here.

Looking back at the traverse.

The ridge where all the granite walls and destroyed buildings remain.

Made it, but no sign of a mine opening.

The looser the rock, the dizzier I get.

Property view from other side.

Sheet metal cone of sorts, mine opening is around here somewhere but I'm moving on.

Thank you for piling all the artifacts up in one spot.

Upper tram workings.

Damaged tram bucket.

About this time as I was picking through the antiques something happened that was both loud and terrifying -- rockfall!  High above me in the cliff face I could hear it, starting quietly but gaining in decibels as pumpkin sized rocks came crashing down.  I tried to look and see in case I needed to start moving or dodging, but the detail in the mountain was too much to focus on anything free falling and bouncing down.  Fortunately, the rocks crashed to a stop shortly after hitting the amphitheater, but that was my cue to depart.

Ore cart smashed on a boulder.

Drilled granite.

Ore laying nearby, probably fell out of an overloaded tram bucket.  Lots of color, but very heavy (20 pounds), just had to pick it up and pack it out.

Readjusting pack to carry a load of loot, plus Casper get's leashed up.  No need to create a scene in Lake Canyon upon re-entry.

As we descend we follow the trail farther and spot a tram bucket in good condition.

Tram tower lunch almost at lake level, sans tram tower.  Salted peanuts from Mono Market hit the spot.  The good boy gets to share in some pasta.

Heading out, knees are buckling from the weight of my gold and silver ore.

Late afternoon light.

Fall color up Lundy Canyon.  We had Lake Canyon to ourselves all day, but did meet some afternoon hikers headed up as we were about a mile from the trailhead.

That's it from this photographer, the final mile to the car was tough.  I'll load up some maps later.  If you have any interest in the property please get in touch.  760-709-0293 or email,

To be continued..

"May Lundy tales" - if you have one email it over and I'll post it up.


 I don't know your name - didn't find it when reading your fascinating (photo) account of your recent trip up to the mine. Just by chance, I recently wrote to a friend that it would be interesting to know who owns the mine and if it is in fact private property. So now I know. He alerted me to the fact that it is for sale.
 I do not have the "where with all" to purchase the property even though it would be interesting to have.
 But I have had an interesting experience with the mine which I think may be unique. I may be one of only three people who have toured the mine with permission and who have no personal, financial or regulatory interest in it. At least up to that time. I don't know the year and don't remember the names but there were three men working to reopen the mine and they gave us a ride up in an older crew cab pickup. It took over 45 minutes to get there from the gate although the road was actually in very good shape. My friend's father - now 96 years of age - had met the foreman the day before and arranged the visit - and the ride. As a disabled person that was the only way I was ever to get there - I did hike down and took the 'shortcut' over to the resort on Lake Lundy. My friend has hiked up many times since the 1970's.
 The friend who alerted me to the sale hiked up just last year or the year before for the first time and fell in love with the place. I had been encouraging him to hike up there for fifteen years. I doubt he will ever wait that long to take my advice - at least as far as places to hike to - again.
 The mining company that was working there had some connection to Colorado - head office maybe? So that receipt from Nicely's would be fun to see. I'll bet it was the same group that gave us the tour.
 It was still a bit of a hike up to the entrance but by then there was at least a semblance of a path. There were no tracks inside the mine - two large new timbers were placed side by side with about a two inch space between them. The water flowing under this 'floor' was swift and below freezing in temperature - not solid only because it was in motion. We measured the temp just outside the entrance and it was 30° f. While still inside we dropped a small piece of wood into it - it was very swift.
 I don't know how far we went in - there was a side tunnel to the right and we went past that until it was raining too much for our gear. We were told the tunnel was not a lot deeper but still it was a ways to the end. As I recall it took five minutes to walk out at a normal pace. So it is certainly deeper than the one 'official record' I found that showed it to be only a couple hundred feet in. Do you know how far in the 'new construction' (done in the 1980's?) goes in?
 I really appreciated your comments that included 'truck camping'. As a disabled person who loves the outdoors, truck camping is the only way I can get to the wide open spaces and mountaintops that I enjoy. River canyons too. I find the 'Wilderness' designation to be an exclusion of me. The antics that made part of Saline Valley part of Death Valley Park was another blow to my freedom.
 I too have had negative experiences with the USFS but I ultimately prevailed by persistence - and luck. In my case it was over grazing trespass (closed county) and we were denied upon appeal like you. Several appeals in fact. But I kept forcing the USFS to hold meetings with the grazers and the landowners and then suddenly one day the USFS put up a huge fence around the water source - so the grazers pulled the cows since the only other water is on private property or in 'sensitive' areas. As if the creek that starts on USFS managed land and runs through mine isn't somehow sensitive. It is to me. So we sort of won - this year. Next year? Well, we will see.
 And the photos - wow! I sure did enjoy that show. I will definitely go back to your site and look again. Too much to see in just one session. I have seen other photos that are on the internet as well as ones taken by both of my friends but I think you got higher up on the property than anyone else.
 Thanks again for all the photos and details of the history - maybe my small part will now be a part of the overall history of the place. I hope you enjoyed my tale - it all comes from memory.

***   ***   ***


Hi Mountainman, my name is John and thanks for the interesting email regarding the May Lundy, I've read it already a couple times.  Last night I was in Bishop sitting through a meeting that was helping those navigate the current USFS process regarding their forest plan update.  I thought it was funny that everyone needed to be educated on how to talk to the forest service when the forest service should be making more of an effort to communicate a clear and concise plan.
Anyhow, I appreciate all your memories and they'll become a part of the May Lundy Mine story.  You were quite fortunate to get the chance to go back in there, I'm not sure if you met with the folks we purchased from or the ones right before them.  We first saw the May Lundy up for sale by the tax collector and figured it could be a good piece of property, so we hiked up first to take a look and gave it the green light.
When we showed up to the tax sale it was a snowy Monday, no one else showed up!  The May Lundy was for sale along with a nice home and garage in Chalfant.  We were ready to buy both but the tax collector would not budge on his asking bids (usually they do when there is no interest shown by the public) so we had some curt words with him and said, "forget it!", and left the courthouse.  Looking back this wasn't the best course of action but sometimes things just happen.  About a half hour after us a guy came in and offered full price for both and the tax collector told him too bad, those items were closed.
A year later both properties were coming up for sale again, this time online.  We reached out to the owners of the May Lundy and they agreed to sell to us two days before the auction and on the night before we settled up with the county for the back taxes and the mine was pulled from the sale.  The home in Chalfant was bid up to $85,000!
The previous owner runs a gold mine salvage business out of Reno but has a huge equipment lot in Fish Lake Valley.  In Reno he has two ammunition rail cars from Hawthorne that he uses to store records of about 1000 properties, mines, claims, core samples, etc that his company owns.  It doubles as a mine library for the university of Reno and he keeps everything so those that need access to historic documents.  That was his reason for keeping everything even though he sold us the property - we checked out a couple file drawers from him and read up on as much as possible one evening at the grand sierra resort.
Larry A******* was his name and he spent over a million (and thirty years) getting it ready.
Looking at the mine maps was a little tricky because there are multiple levels connected.  Spread out there were 7 maps that took up the space of two queen sized beds in our hotel room.  But yes, the lower tunnel was the longest at about 1/4 mile or more.  At the back it goes straight up accessing our property from the top where we took most of the high elevation photos.  A 3D model of the mine would be most helpful, but beyond my mapping abilities.
We've been here awhile and for a long time I've appreciated the difference between back country and front country so every chance I try and educate the land managers.  Sometimes they same apathetic and only interested in the will of "environmentalists" that live in cities.  Land grabs seem common, it's frustrating.  But you seem to experience that too, glad you've made some headway.  I've realized that a great hedge to it all is to own land where we call the shots and just do it better.  Which area are you in?