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Old 04-04-2012, 01:08 PM   #61
airborndad OP
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Joined: Mar 2009
Location: Montclair Ca.
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Thursday I wanted to do a short ride so myself and my son Justin planned to go straight to Telescope Peak then check out the Charcoal Kilns on the return route then to Aguereberry Point
kinda changed plans in route and headed towards Aguereberry Point first
A couple of miles off of the pavement we saw a little structure off to the side of the road on the way in so we turned around to check it out, turns out it was Aguereberry Camp

Who was Pete Aguereberry

Pete Aguereberry was born in 1874 into a Basque family in France. At an early age he read about the wonderful gold discoveries in California and begged his father to let him come to the United States. When he turned 16 his father relented, and Pete sailed for America in 1890.
For the next several years he struggled to learn the language while taking on a number of jobs. He worked as a handball player, sheepherder, cattle driver, milk truck driver, ice delivery man, ranch hand and stage driver until he wound up in Goldfield around 1902.
He came out to this area in 1905, and in June of that year he almost died trying to cross Death Valley in summer heat. He was found and nursed back to health by Oscar Denton, the caretaker for the Greenland Ranch, and just a month later was headed up to Ballarat with Shorty Harris. Along their journey Pete found a ledge that looked promising, and indeed it contained free gold. Pete filed claims for himself on the north side of the hill while Shorty took claims on the south side.
By August, at least 20 parties were working in the area and samples of the gold were assayed as high as $500 a ton. Three hundred men and women settled into the camp which became known as Harrisburg. Originally Pete and Shorty had agreed to call it Harrisberry, but Shorty changed the name in telling the story about it. Water was brought in from Emigrant Spring, Blackwater Spring and Wild Rose Spring.
By 1907 the Eureka mine was tied up in a litigation battle that ended in 1909 when Pete got control of the claims. Pete worked at the mine from 1907 until the early 1930ís when his health was failing him. Except for some help from his nephew in his later years, the Eureka mine was built and worked by Pete alone. Pete died on Nov. 23, 1945 and he is buried in Lone Pine, California.

To reach the area where Pete Aguereberry lived and worked for over 40 years, take Hwy. 190 past Stovepipe Wells and up Emigrant Campground. Turn left following the signs to Wildrose. In about 10 miles there will be a turn off for Aguereberry Point. When you turn here you will come to the Aguereberry camp a mile down the road.

At Aguereberry camp you will find Peteís original cabin built in 1907. It is a two room structure containing a gas stove and refrigerator. Pete lived here from 1907 until his death in 1945. The middle cabin was built in 1941 as a guest house and the cabin to the left was built around 1946 for an unknown reason.
Around the corner is the site of the Eureka gold mine. The tunnels have all been stabilized with netting and are safe to enter but you will need a flashlight. In the winter the mine is closed with a bat gate due to hibernating Townsend's long eared bats. The mine opens again in spring.

In his later years Pete would take visitors on a tour of his mine and what he called "The Great View" of Death Valley. If you follow the road further on, you will reach this view. It was later named Aguereberry Point in honor of Pete.

Back to the trail it turned into a really nice canyon (gloved finger got in the way on a few pictures throughout the weekend)

suddenly we had our breathes taken away by the incredible view of Aguereberry Point

Hired stunt crow

Our rides 2 - 2006 XT 225's

on the way back out we spotted this structure behind Aguereberry Camp we saw it on the map while at Aguereberry Camp but didn't realize it was so close so we went to check out Cashier Mill

tough times to have to live in some of these places especially in the Summer or when its snowing

Next destination Telescope Peak

made it to Mahogany Flats and ran into a closed gate so No Telescope Peak for us unless we wanted to hike to it and I did not feel like going for a hike in my Alpinestar Tech 4's so we did a little scouting out of the place looks like an awesome place to camp in the future probably cold at night though at 8090 ft but i'm sure it's well worth it for the incredible views

Cactus at 8000 + ft

Next stop back down to the Charcoal Kilns ( in the center of the picture ) that we passed on the way up

A little History

Why Charcoal?

Charcoal is a black, porous form of carbon prepared by charring wood or organic matter in a kiln or retort from which air is excluded. Charcoal produced from wood retains its basic shape and texture but is converted to a 96% pure carbon content. In the 19th century and earlier, charcoal was used for a furnace fuel because it burned more slowly than wood and created a much greater heat that was needed for the refining of ores

Wildrose Charcoal Kilns

An exerpt from "Charcoal Kilns Historic Structures Report" 1970
The charcoal kilns complex in Wildrose Canyon is among the more remarkable historical-architectural features of Death Valley National Park. These ten beehive shaped masonry structures, about 25 feet high, are believed to be the best known surviving example of such kilns to be found in the western states.

Modock Mines
The Wildrose Charcoal Kilns were completed in 1877 by the Modock Consolidated Mining Company to provide a source of fuel suitable for use in two smelters adjacent to their group of lead-silver mines in the Argus Range west of Panamint Valley, about 25 miles distant from the kilns. Although the mines themselves were worked intermittently until about 1900, there is no clear evidence that the charcoal kilns were operational after 1879. Evidently either other fuel sources were located or it was found to be more profitable to ship the raw ore elsewhere for processing. This short life may help to explain the remarkably good condition of these kilns, more than 100 years after their construction.

Hearst Connection
One of the incorporators of the Modock Company, operating out of San Francisco, was George Hearst, Father of William Randolph Hearst. George Hearst became famous as a mine expert, and his immense wealth was derived from interest in various mines. However, the Modock group was not one of his great successes. Apparently it did not gross much more than $3,000,000 ofer a period of thirty years. Beginning about 1881 the mines were leased to others. They have been inactive since the turn of the century.

Transporting Charcoal
Associated with the Modock mines were the neighboring towns of Darwin and Lookout, rough towns which out-lived the more famous Panamint City. A trail from Lookout to Wildrose Canyon was constructed. Charcoal was transported to the smelters by jackass pack-trains, though wagons also were probably involved.

Building & Working the Kilns
A company man named Morris built the Wildrose kilns. Actual documentable details of the construction job and the operation are lacking, as is confirmation that the labor force included American Indians and Chinese. The presence of Mexicans is amply indicated. It seems logical that, with a fairly large labor force of wood-cutters, charcoal-burners and haulers, there would be a "settlement" of some kind, with tents and/or log cabins, and there is one hint of a town of "Wild Rose." Its exact location is unknown, but a fair guess would be that it was a summer camp near the kilns, where water would have to be hauled in; or else it was located in the vicinity of the life-giving Wildrose Spring, several miles downhill from the kilns.

Got back to camp and

this was taken the next morning

( It wasn't all me -- I had some professional and semi pros assist )

airborndad screwed with this post 05-06-2012 at 11:20 AM
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