Lost Mine Trail
After leaving the campground, we stopped at the trailhead for the Lost Mine Trail. The morning was cool and breezy so the hike up (1300 feet elevation gain over 2.4 miles) was very pleasant, if steep. It’s a CCC trail with lots of stone walls and steps. About halfway up are views of the Basin Campground and Juniper Canyon. At the top you can see Juniper Canyon to the right and Pine Canyon to the left. I highly recommend this hike. Soon the sun came out so it became quite hot, but fortunately we were on the way down.
The Lost Mine refers to a story about a silver mine that supposedly existed 200 years ago. Local natives were forced to work the mine until they revolted, killing the owners and plugging the mine so that no one else would mine it. This story is questioned by geologists who do not believe that silver would form in the rocks of this particular area.
After lunch at the van, we headed to the ranger station at Panther Junction to pick up a back country pass ($5.00) and made a reservation for Paint Gap Hills (site 1) for the night. This is part of the dispersed camping in the park. They are sites with a bear proof food box and that’s about it. They used to have fire rings, but now no fires are permitted in the park except for briquets in steel grates at the established campgrounds.
Before we headed to the site we stopped in at Rio Grande village to use the laundry — a necessity about every two weeks. On the way back from that errand we encountered heavy winds which buffeted Vanessa all over the road. We could see heavy rains in the mountains, but only a sprinkle on the desert floor. The temperature is expected to fall overnight — perhaps to freezing.