Castle Mountains Malpais Spring
May 23 - 24, 2013

This is a report of an exploration the northwest corner of the Castle Mountain area along the Nevada boarder. Hart Mine road goes from Barnwell to the Hart mining town site. (1.) Near the site there was an isolated, leaning concrete and rock chimney and fireplace. (2.)

Hart Mine Road becomes a well-maintained haul road. It becomes Walking Box Ranch Road when it enters Nevada then continues to Nipon Highway. At the state boarder a useable road in a wash runs parallel to the state boundary. At 0.5 miles on this is road are the Juan town site, a landing strip, and a prominent open pit perlite mine.

At the Juan site no building remnants of any kind were found. Two posts were found, (3.), one with a metal plate that was etched “FITZ LM # 871”. (4.) This is likely to be a mine claim corner marker.

A rusted disk brake was found next to the road. (5.-6) About 400 yards further south a road goes southwest to the open pit perlite mine (9.-10.) Perlite is naturally occurring hydrated obsidian that expands greatly when heated in a furnace. It is use as a soil amendment and in filters.

To the northeast this road is in the center of the landing strip that goes into Nevada (10.) The landing strip can be identified by the absence of Joshua trees and by a smoothed surface. Nearby there was a tire full of big gravel with a steel cable attached. (11.) This may be an improvised drag used to smooth the landing strip. A 1933 US Land Office (BLM) Marker is northeast of the road and southeast of the landing strip. (12.) From the mine the railroad bed of Barnwell and Searchlight Railroad and the landing strip were seen running parallel into Nevada. (13.)

On returning to Walking Box Ranch Road and continuing in the wash northwest 400 yards I came to another well maintained and heavily used road that runs parallel to Walking box Ranch Road. This is Ykl Ranch Road. In the wash between these roads there was a coarse worked obsidian core that was 3.5X2.0X1 cm. in size. (14.)

Walking left on Ykl Ranch Road I located Malpais Spring where there were two a derelict wells, big cylinder tanks, a half cylinder tank, a disintegrated concrete circular tank, and a metal pipeline that goes on the northwest side of Ykl Ranch Road into Nevada. (15.-16.)

In a wash 175 yards northwest of Ykl Ranch Road there was 1973 Cadillac El Dorado. (17.-20) The headlight reflectors have melted and poured to the ground making sand molds. The tires are gone except for patches under the wheels. Most of the glass is gone except for shards that have melted over the window frame. Either the time spent in the hot desert contributed to the destruction of this car or the car burned and weathering has erased the traces of the fire.

Two hundred yards east of the car there was a collapsed rectangular wire fence that is 16X6 feet in size and has wood stakes attached to two corners. (21.)

This is in a dense Joshua tree setting. (22.-25.) A Desert Willow was in bloom. (26.-28) There were Mojave prickly pear, buckhorn cholla, and Pancake prickly pear in bloom (29.-35). And there were Mojave yucca with fruit as well as pencil cholla. (37.-38.) A Whiptail lizard and a fringed-toes lizard wee seen. (39.-40.)

On the drive out Walking Box Ranch Road passed by the ranch house sign (42.) The history of the Walking Box Ranch, the home of Clara Bow and Rex Reed and the Ykl Ranch are summarized at this web site: