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How to make something disappear without saying "abracadabra."

In 2023, parts of California and the southwest got a lot of rain. In August, the remnants of Hurricane Hilary arrived. The result? Many mine roads were so badly damaged that they are totally impassible, except possibly by a motorcycle. This has had a big effect on collecting, since inactive mines where we regularly have collected are impossible to reach. At one mine road, north of Las Vegas, I cruised up the paved road at night, intending to camp at the mine and collect in the morning. 

At one point, the mine road passes through a gap in a ridge that had been carved by water. Instead of grading the rocky stream channel, usually dry, the miners simply covered the rocky bottom with dirt. That had lasted for years, but the dirt is all gone now, thanks to the power of flowing water. In the dark I thought I could thread through the mess, got stuck, jacked up the van, piled in rocks and backed out. In the morning got a better look, walking, found the burned out remains of a jeep, and decided there was no way through with anything that has four wheels.


The road that's covered with rocks was easily drivable to the mine in an ordinary sedan - until 2023! The miners whose grader was buried were lucky. One side of their road became a canyon, with the edge coming within a few feet of parked mining equipment. Don't underestimate the power of running water, that's for sure.



March 10, 2024 by RC de Mordaigle
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