Sunday, November 14, 2010

Checking out Hogum

I've been wanting to check out the ghost town of Hogum for a while, and we finally made it over there today. It's located near Osceola, a mining town that was started in 1872 and expanded to a tent city of over 1,500 souls.

In 1889, rumor spread that gold had been found four miles away. Miners rushed there, only to find that all the claims had been staked. Disgusted, they said, "Only a few have hogged them." The name Hogum stuck. (Source: Effie Read's 1965 White Pine Lang Syne).

Hogum was never a big place like Osceola. In fact, the peak population approached 50. Nevertheless, the area is criss-crossed with numerous roads. We were a bit surprised when a good road we were on suddenly ended in a pile of recently graded dirt. There had been no sign warning us that it was a dead end road.

We climbed out of the truck and went over the pile of dirt.

Then we saw why the road had been 'dozed. A huge sinkhole had opened up in the middle of the road.

That would have been an unhappy surprise if it caved in while driving over it.

I saw a DANGER Unsafe Mine - Stay Out-Stay Alive sign nearby and went over to investigate. It was one of the entrances into the mine.

It was clear that the old wooden support beams were no longer doing their job. Huge amounts of soil and rocks had caved in.

I'm not sure how many entrances the mine originally had, but now it had several.

While my husband kept track of the kids, I wandered around and was amazed by all the open pits.

Fortunately all the ones I saw had signs near them. The holes went straight down into the black abyss. I don't know how far down they went down, but it was farther than I would want to fall!

The top twenty feet or so looked like rather loose gravel, cobbles, and soil. I don't think I would be brave enough to be a miner and go digging in that loose material. I'm not sure what was deeper than that--I didn't want to lean over the edge or get anywhere near it.

There were some cultural remnants scattered among the pits, like this rock wall.

I liked this tin can. Originally it pulled open, but now it's rusted shut. There were lots of tin cans scattered around. The miners obviously were more interested in finding gold than where they put their garbage.

All that was left standing of this building was the door frame. I tried to do an artistic photo, but it didn't work out right. Maybe another time...

Another open shaft.

Although most of the area was obviously no longer mined, some of it is. There were big no trespassing signs and even a Beware of Dog, so we turned around and didn't go up to the current mine. It looked like there is at least one private residence in Hogum, complete with a huge satellite dish. Electric and telephone wires go up into the area, so if you are mining, I guess you can do it in comfort.

We found a good spot for a picnic lunch. Eating outside is always more fun that eating inside if you're a kid. (I have to include a kid shot to keep the grandparents happy!)

We wandered around a little more and found some fun gravel to walk on. The views were great, and it's a place we'd go back to again to look around some more.

If you go, just watch out for all those deep pits! They were a little freaky. And this is coming from someone who normally loves pits--but pits in solid rock, not in loose ground!


The Incredible Woody said...

What a fun place to explore! How very scary those open pits are!!

G. Robison said...

We did some poking around over in that same area years ago and those open pits scared the heck out of me. I wouldn't go within 20 feet of them - I am scared of heights (or depths in this case).

G. Robison said...

Hey, if you like poking around, there is some good arrowhead hunting (or observing, if you want to comply with the law now) on the edge of the dry lake beds up north in Spring Valley a ways. You take the dirt road on the east side up the valley and it's MILES, but a fun thing when the weather's not hot. Indians used to shoot fish to catch them, and the arrowheads tend to be tiny, exquisite things.

jhami said...

Fun Gretchen! I like getting out on outings like that :)
Looks like the fam had a great time.

jhami said...

Fun Gretchen! I like getting out on outings like that :)
Looks like the fam had a great time.

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