Monday, February 20, 2017

Lost at Red Cloud Mine

Monday, February 20, 2017

My location:  Close to the South entrance to Joshua Tree NP

Woke up around seven this morning and when I looked out my back window, this is what I saw off in the distance.


I think they are safe from the Pumas around here.  Have to worry about the Hummingbirds though.  Thought I was in the African grasslands when I first saw it.

I could tell it was going to be a gorgeous day!  Not a cloud in the sky on my walk with Yuma this morning.   You can see Gord and Cathie’s van just up the hill between my RV and Jeep. 


Wasn’t long after, they said their goodbyes and headed up to the Park for the day.  They may be back this evening, if they can’t find an open site within the Park for the night.   Being a holiday, odds are they will be back.


Poor Yuma!  I looked in his water dish this morning and he had company.  A poor spider had fallen and drowned.  Glad Yuma didn’t swallow him.


After breakfast and blog reading, we decided to head about twenty miles East on I-10 to the exit for Red Cloud Road.  Friends had been up there and it sounded like a nice adventure for the morning and early afternoon.  So about 10:30, we jumped in the Jeep and went looking for a mine.

There’s the exit to Red Cloud Road and the mine is off to the right in those mountains somewhere.


Nice sandy road.  Not a bad ride.


Here is a railroad crossing for the Eagle Mountain Railroad.  It was a private railroad for the Kaiser Steel Corporation used to haul iron ore from 1948 till 1986 when the mine at Eagle Mountain closed down. 



Red Cloud Road is eleven miles long and dead-ends at the mine.  The road is getting rougher, but still no four-wheel drive required.


The scenery is gorgeous.




Getting fairly close to the mountains now.  Road is rough but not bad.  Should be there soon, I hope.  These bumps are wearing me down.


Soon, the canyon walls are close and I drop down into a wash going up into the canyon and I can see a foundation of a home on the hill, so I  know I’m there.


Not much left of the place.  Looks like the house was built entirely of rocks from the area. 


The dark hole in the wall appears to have been a chimney at one time.


Looking across the wash from the foundation, I could see a mine in the hillside.


We walked down one side of the canyon, through the wash and then up to to the mine.  Unfortunately, the shaft was straight in and only about twelve feet deep.  There’s Yuma looking around making sure it is safe for me.


Here’s me inside, looking out at Yuma.


We walked back to the Jeep and started to head home.  It was getting on 12:30 and it would be after one when we get back to the site.


As we were driving up the wash, I could see a rusted car up on the top of a ridge above the wash and there was a road heading up there, so went up to see.

There was metal junk everywhere on the ridge.  Several cars and lots of cans strewn everywhere.



There was another foundation up on the ridge against the hillside behind all the metal junk that looked like it might have been a storage area or something.


I didn’t see these coming up the wash, so I went back down to the wash and drove along looking for the dirt road that lead out of the canyon.

Now the photos stop for about two hours.  For the life of me I could not find the road that we came in on.  I went down the wash and the rocks in the wash were so big I just knew I had not come this way.  I hadn’t even used four-wheel drive to get to the mine.

I made an error in judgement and put the Jeep in four-wheel drive and went over the rocks.  They were too big and I hit the bottom of the Jeep and we bounced around quite a bit from one big rock to the next.  I then stopped and walked ahead and found the rocks were much bigger ahead.  Over the bumper of the Jeep. 

Now I knew I would have to go uphill over the rocks I had just barely gotten over coming down.  I have to admit at this point, I was getting a little scared and so was Yuma.  Amazing how they sense fear.

I wasn’t afraid that I was going to stay lost and die in the canyon, because I had plenty of warm clothes, water and over a half tank of gas.  I also knew that sooner or later a Jeep would come along.   My fear was that I would get the Jeep stuck ten miles from civilization.

I knew I couldn’t just stay where I was and just worry, so turned the Jeep around in the wash and started going over the large rocks.   I was in high four-wheel drive and when I tried to get over them, I got stuck and couldn’t go back or forward. 

Put the Jeep in low four-wheel drive and put the shifter in first gear. There was a large rock in front of the tire.  The tire spun against the rock and I could smell rubber burning.  Then, the Jeep jumped over the rock, bounced into some more rocks and we went bouncing up the wash till I was out.  I could hear the rocks hitting the bottom of the Jeep as we went bouncing along.  I will never do that again!

Don’t want to drag this thing out, but we went up to the mine and then back down the wash and up to the metal trash area about four times looking for the road out.  One time, Yuma and I got out and walked up a road that looked promising and it just dead ended at the top of the hill.  When I walked back, Yuma wasn’t with me when I got to the Jeep. 

I called and called and he didn’t come.  Now what?  My nerves are already frayed and Yuma is gone.  Walked back up the hill and there he was lying on the ground.  He was afraid to get back into the Jeep.  I had to carry him about 50 yards down the hill and put him in the Jeep.  He was tired of the jostling and wouldn’t have any more of it.  I was tired too.

I decided we would go back to the mine and wait for someone to come along and lead us out.  Just as we were about to the mine, I looked up from the wash and saw a Jeep going by on the embankment above me.  I jumped out of the Jeep and yelled.  The Jeep stopped and I said, “Are you lost!” and he replied “No!”.   I said, “Great, because I am!”.

I went up the hill and there was a man and with a lady.  He said that this was his first time here, but there was another couple in a Jeep ahead of him who knew the area and they had taken them there to show them the mine.

I couldn’t believe that Yuma and I were saved from a night in the mountains.  They called ahead and had the leader wait, till I got on the road above the wash.  Yuma had jumped out of the window when I went to meet the man and he would not come back to the Jeep with me.  The man came down and Yuma followed him and Yuma jumped in the back of the Jeep.  I guess he had lost all faith in his Master.

Followed them back down the mountain and back to civilization.  Thank goodness! 


Didn’t get their names because I was so shook up, but I sure am thankful they came along when they did.  I gave them the name of my blog and if they do read it, “Thank you very much for giving Yuma and me a good ending to my blog today!”

When Yuma and I got back to the RV, I had to call Dolly.  Hearing her voice, allowed me to calm down and finally relax from my harrowing experience.  Won’t be going on any long excursions in the mountains for awhile, and when I do, I will certainly use better sense!

After talking with Dolly, Gord walked by and invited me up to his Van for a visit with him and Cathie.  Felt good to get my mind off things for awhile.  We sat and talked till the sun fell low enough to put a chill in the air.  We then said our goodbyes.  They are going back into the Park tomorrow and hopefully it won’t be as crowded as it was on this holiday.

See you later.


  1. You boys had quite an adventurous day! I'll bet your bones really got rattled around. Thank goodness those fellow jeepsters came along. Thank you to them for getting my boys back home!

    1. Just a little more Miss Adventure than I cared for today.

    2. Just a little more Miss Adventure than I cared for today.

  2. Sounds like you and Yuma had quite the "adventure" today. Glad it all turned out and you made it back safe and sound. Tom and I thought of you as we rode by that area on I-10 today. We could see white specks off in the distance; you may have been one of them. Stay safe.

    1. Thank you. I was one of the specks up there as you passed the Park turn off.

  3. This is a time a GPS would of been good to have. I travel by myself a lot and lots of times you get to an intersection and no signs. But turning on the GPS and driving a little certainly shows one where you are. It's also why one should always travel with a full tank of gas, just in case you make a wrong turn or two. It's just exploring until the gas tank gets low and that's when the GPS is very helpful.

    1. You are right, Bob. I'm just glad I stayed fairly close to the mine, so I could get help if it came along. And it did, thank goodness.

  4. Oh, my goodness! Hubby won't let me take any forest roads or desert roads ALONE anymore! And, honestly, if he doesn't approve of the road, we don't take it. We have a Nissan XTERRA (2 wheel drive), so we do watch the roads! Glad you guys made it "home" safely!

    1. Your husband is smart, Cheryl Ann. Yuma looks happy to be sleeping in his bed this morning. Me too!

  5. Wow! What a story, glad it had a happy ending! We love your blog, part of our daily reading now! Hoping Yuma has calmed down now, what a sweet partner you have there!

    1. Glad you two enjoy reading my blog. I go on these adventures for the pictures, but sometimes I don't use the best common sense and get in trouble.

  6. Now that was and experience you don't want to happen again, luckily those people came by when they did.

    1. As I look back, I don't know why I couldn't find the road out, but hindsight is always 20/20. Could have been a long night.

  7. Oh, I don't like stories like this !! Yuma knew the smell of burning rubber was not good. Glad you were rescued and called Dolly for a touch of Home. Stop scaring Yuma - he doesn't want you to be such a Crazy Ike. 😱

    1. I agree Moonfly. I'm just glad he didn't leave me and head out on his own. Next time I'll listen to Yuma and stay out of big rocks.

  8. Doug, you stress me out with these stories! Gosh dang, I'm glad you found your way out and those wonderful jeeps came along when they did! And the jeep didn't get too banged up or stuck. You poor guys. I'm sorry you had such an anxiety ridden day. But, you saying just the sound of Dolly's voice allowed you to calm down was the sweetest thing i've ever heard. You two lovebirds make my heart melt! Love you and so glad you're safe!

    1. Thank you, Sarah. I promise to be more careful from now on. Not out here for stress.

  9. My heart was pumping just reading that post! My goodness! Poor Yuma, how interesting that she had had enough and wasn't in any hurry to get back in that jeep with you! Glad you got out safe and sound.

    1. Yuma did not like bouncing around in the back of the Jeep. I'm glad he's back to normal today.

  10. It is so easy to get turned around in the desert with all the washes. Can imagine how scary that could be. Glad you made it out Safely.

    It's about time.

    1. It was a frightening experience not to know where the road you came in on went. Felt dumb when they drove right to it and it was so close to me.

  11. Did the Jeep get any new pinstrips? or dings? Nice to have a dependable and capable ride when you are out exploring.

    1. I did get a few more pinstripes but no dings on the body. The underside has a few scrapes but that's okay. The tires have rock burns on the side walls.

  12. A very scary adventure for sure but one you will always remember. I know those feelings you had going on inside and they are not nice feelings when you realize your in a jam with the possibility looming you may not get out of it. And then the self blame beings for getting into the jam in the first place. Yep, it's happened to me too......

    1. Each time it happens I say I'll never do anything stupid again. But another time eventually pops up. Bad decisions lead to trouble usually.

  13. I'm sometimes reminded of the day Yuma ran off and your finding him the next day. I don't know why that story really stuck with me - except that I'm such a dog lover :-))) Now here's another humdinger of a story with a happy ending that could have gone so wrong. Really glad you both made it back safely. Cracks me up that Yuma had had enough!