David K. Joyce

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

I've always wanted to explore the Total Wreck Mine. Which is fairly close to my Arizona home. The opportunity came when a mindat acquaintance, Chris Rayburn, expressed a similar desire. He had the vehicle and good underground experience, so we decided to have a look. The Total wreck mine is well out in the country east of highway 83 and south of I-10 along a very rough, difficult road. You need a very good clearance vehicle and know how to drive in such conditions. Here are some pictures and details of our adventure.

 

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

The road to the Total Wreck Mine passes through parts of the Empire Mountains, well-weathered ancient mountains. They provide for some nice scenery! This first part of the road is fairly good.

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

There are a couple of branches to take and the road deteriorates as we go further inland from Hwy 83.

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

At the beginning of the road there are lots of homes and cabins but further in...nothing! Except maybe wandering cattle.

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

Here is part of the mine site showing some dumps on the hillside, amongst a myriad of Yucca plant flower stems.

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

Looking out over the land, it is astonishing to see the numbers of old yucca flowers from last spring, the spring of 2019. Conditions much have been perfect for yucca plants to sprout flowers because an unprecedented number of them did, all at the same time!

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

We decided to see what collecting oportunities there were in the old "open pit" which I suspect is more of a glory hole or collapsed underground stope. Here is Chris collecting some small wulfenite crystals from a boulder in the pit.

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

While we were working, we kept an eye on a bee hive that has been built into a hole just above our heads. The last time that Chris was at the mine, the bee hive was active and became more so as the daytime temperature rose. This would be worrisome, since most bees in this region have been "Africanized". As it turns out, it nw appears that the bees have abandoned the hive. Didn't see one bee!

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

I worked above and behind Chris trying to better expose a showing of wulfenite. I kept prying away at the rock and all of a sudden noticed that a bat had crawled WAY into a crack in the rock and was hibernating. His little chest moved as he breathed, fast asleep. I decided to stop collecting there and left him alone. Hope he was OK!

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

This photo shows the adit up the hill, above the dumps that I showed you earlier. The adit passes right through the hill and out the other side. Although it was early in the year for snakes, we carefully checked for rattlesnakes, which seem to like to stay in the first 20 feet or so of an adit entrance.

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

The orebody is very soft, highly friable and oxidized. Here, Chris checks out a goethite/hematite rich area for pockets.

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

We kept exploring drifts and stopes off of the main adit in our search for crystal lined pockets. I have never seen SO MUCH pack rat excrement! We didn't see one rat, though.

Recent Activities -Total Wreck Mine Visit, January, 2020

The contact between altered, replaced limestone and what I perceive was the orebody or the mineralization that contained the orebody. was very clear at this spot.