Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Desert Destination: Tonopah Historic Mining Park

Ever been to Tonopah, Nevada? It's located out in west-central Nevada at over 6,000 feet. It looks a little desolate because it doesn't get much precipitation. It's cold in the winter and hot in the summer, and it feels raw, like you're in a wild place that just doesn't follow the rules of the normal world.

One of our big destinations of our recent trip happened to be in Tonopah: the Tonopah Historic Mining Park, which is dedicated to the reason of Tonopah's existence.

We stopped at the visitor center, paid the fee to go on the walking tour, and were on our way. We weren't quite prepared for what we were going to see.

Like open shafts descending 500 feet into the ground. Wow! I was trying to imagine the mine workers removing all that rock day in and day out (and probably many nights). The trails wove around 100 acres and many mines and mining materials. We soon found ourself in the park's main attraction:

We went into the Burro Tunnel, their reconstruction of a mining tunnel. It was really cool, seeing those big, heavy timbers, walking in the dim light. I would not have liked to have been a miner, a little spooky!

At the end of the tunnel we walked out on a platform and stood over the shaft that descended many hundreds of feet into the ground. Eesh! I like heights, but it felt a little strange to be over such a deep hole in the ground. I have to admit I was puzzled over the gate in the bottom of the platform--if it was moved over just a couple feet, it would have made for a much cleaner rappel. (Sorry, sometimes I get geeky like that!)

Then we continued walking around the grounds, taking in the Mizpah mine shaft and associated structures (the big red barn and headframe in the center of the photo). We looked down the grate there at a hole that goes one-quarter mile into the ground. I would not have liked to have gone down in the primitive elevator, hoping it would still be working at the end of my shift!

One sign said that the town of Tonopah still has some subsidences due to mining tunnels under it collapsing. I find that a wee bit worrisome!

We got a nice view of town as we climbed higher on the hills. It really is such a barren looking town!

Tonopah Historic Mining Park was well worth the stop. After walking around we went back to the visitor center and watched the video and checked out some of their exhibits. One of the things I found most interesting was that a woman, Belle Butler, was a huge reason that the mines had taken off in Tonopah.

So if you ever find yourself in Tonopah, treat yourself to a visit to the Tonopah Historic Mining Park!


maigrir rem├Ęde said...

quelle jolie route :)

Desert Survivor said...

The Central Nevada Museum is also in Tonopah, but unfortunately it was closed when we went by. We'll try and check it out next time!

Pat26 said...

Hi there :)

What beautiful spring flowers. I cannot imagine what it would be like to live in desert area. We have so much rain here :):) Will catch up on your blog and pop in now and again to say hello. :)

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