On the Road to the Esmeralda Mine

August 24, 2011 in Esmeralda Mine

In late August, the staff of Pala International visited the newly acquired Esmeralda Mine in the Mesa Grande District of San Diego County. John McLean, Jason Stephenson, and Bill and Will Larson (who all contributed to this report) drove to the U.S. Forestry Service gate about a mile and a half from the mine, only to find they’d been given the wrong key. In 95-degree heat in the middle of the day, they trudged uphill, arriving at the mine an hour later. After recovering from the heat, they started to inspect the pegmatite and surrounding area, seeking shade at every opportunity.

The pictures below tell the story, but for a written description, be sure to see the Sinkankas Notebook from 1956. And check back for more information as progress begins on opening the mine.

Driving to Esmeralda Mine photo image

In the SUV on the road to the Esmeralda Mine.


SUV At Gate photo image

At the forestry service gate.


Jason & John photo image

Jason, left, and John require provender for strength to open the gate.


Forest Path photo image

Walking in the valley below the mine, Bill points the way.


Sign photo image

“All hope abandon, ye high graders who enter in.”


John photo image

John walking on the mine property.


Jason On Earth Mover photo image

Jason mows the lawn.


Will photo image

Will stands in an old main drift (tunnel). This is said to be the main “glory hole,” or series of pockets from the original discovery. To Will’s right is the continuation of the tunnel.


Pegmatite photo image

This shows the strike and dip at the hanging wall of the pegmatite. Overburden (lighter material) can be seen on the left; pegmatite (orangey-red material) is on the right.


Jason, Will, John Digging photo image

Jason, Will and John uncovering specimens.


Will photo image

Will reaches into a small tourmaline pocket, or tourmaline vug.


Crystal photo image

Will holds a schorl crystal that displays a deep purple skin under intense light.


Schorls photo image

Two fine schorls; the best of our first day out at the Esmeralda Mine. A promising sign at the surface of what lies beneath. Larger crystal on the left is about 6 cm. (Photo: Jason Stephenson)


On the Road to the Esmeralda Mine

One Comment

    1. Edward Boehm says:

      Congratulations on your acquisition of the famous Esmeralda Mine! I thoroughly enjoyed taking a virtual journey to the mine. I especially savored hearing that you actually had to hike to the mine for an hour in 95F heat while I got to experience the thrill of your visit sittting at my computer in the comfort of my lounge chair for a change. Actually, I would have much prefered being there with you all. Can’t wait to see what you find next! EB

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On the Road to the Esmeralda Mine

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