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I decided like some of the rest of you I would try to get up out of the heat. I didn't have a lot of time, so decided I would ride northwest up to Oak Grove on the side of Pine Valley Mountain.



On the way I passed Quail Creek Reservoir. It was a little low as we haven't had a lot of rain this year.







After riding around the reservoir I rode into Leeds, a small community adjacent to I-15. Leeds is the site of a CCC camp.



















At the north end of Leeds I turned west towards Pine Valley Mountain. When I was a kid we would come up here to fish. Browse, a few drainages to the north was also a popular place with us. My Dad would cut my brothers and I some willows for fishing poles, rig us up with a line and a hook. He would then head down the creek with his pole. We would do pretty well fishing from the bridge, but Dad would always come back with a big stringer of fish. Good times!







I knew there were some charcoal kilns somewhere along the creek, but it had been so long since I had been to them I had forgotten where they were. Someone has improved the trail to one of the kilns so it isn't hard to find. The kilns were used to make charcoal to be used in the smelting process for silver at nearby Silver Reef.











 

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It's not hard to tell where there is a spring or a creek in this country as the vegetation is way more dense in those areas.







You can almost see the end of the road from here. I'm not sure why it's called Oak Grove. There is plenty of scrub oak around, but the campground is actually in a stand of pine.







I couldn't get all the way to the campground as the road was gated off near the end. I think my wife read in the newspaper they had closed the campground because the fire danger was so high they didn't want to take a chance.







At this intersection there is a road that head north. I'll have to come back some day and check it out. Since I didn't have a lot of time I headed back down the mountain.







the Indian Paintbrush was blooming.











On the way back down the mountain I decided to stop by Silver Reef and look around some.



To be continued.

 

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Great pictures! It looks like the afternoon thunder bumpers were building up in some of those shots.


Thanks, yeah that was one of the reasons I was in a hurry to get off the mountain. There was a big thunderhead building nearby and I didn't want to be a lightning rod or be dumped on with rain and hail.



Pretty country for a ride. I liked the pictures of the kiln and the stories.


Yes, I'm afraid I kind of take it for granted though. It's probably been over a year since I've been to Oak Grove, and it's only like 20 miles from my home. More pictures and stories coming up!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Silver Reef has quite a history. More information here if you're interested.







There are a few walls standing here and there.







The story goes that after mining subsided a guy bought one of the buildings to salvage the lumber, etc. While pulling up the floorboards he discovered $10,000 in gold coin underneath. Needless to say, after the word got out about his discovery many of the other buildings were "salvaged" as well.



One building that has really withstood the test of time is the Wells Fargo building. It's the oldest Wells Fargo office still standing.







The Wells Fargo office now houses a museum. I rolled up and took a few pictures of things outside the building.



















 

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Looks like an old steam engine to me.











After nosing around a bit I noticed the sign said the museum was still open. So I decided I would go in and check it out. Some other people showed up soon thereafter and we were given a very interesting and worthwhile (to me anyway) tour. Unfortunately, with all the people it wasn't feasible for me to take pictures inside. Sorry about that.







I believe this is a uranium shaft. There are still a lot of open shafts in the area. Instead of backfilling the entrances to the shafts, they've been gated to preserve the habitat of a rare species of bat in the area.







As mentioned the last mining in the area was for uranium. When the market for that died the mining company turned to developing the land. So, currently there are quite a few nice homes in and around Silver Reef.



I guess that's all for now. If you're ever in the St. George, Utah area, or cruising up I-15 about 15 miles northeast of St. George stop and check out Silver Reef, and the museum. The museum is only about a mile from the freeway.
 

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I'm starting to see adventure riders from all over discover old Kiln's. The history behind them and their locations are very interesting. For some reason, they remind me of great big bee hives, which I guess is appropriate for Utah isn't it?



I've also heard of Silver Reef very often, however I always thought it was a land feature similar to a ridge, not an old ghost town. The old Wells Fargo building sure looks like it was built to last, and glad it is for all of us to see. Kinda cool seeing all the old mining stuff around it. I'm always hoping to run across an old mine that's been forgotten, just so I can see all the old mining equipment still there. Unfortunately, most of the equipment was removed, which makes sense, or removed by thieves. Still I hope!



Great ride, you do a good job photo-documenting your adventures, thanks so much for sharing.
 

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Very interesting! There are supposed to be old mercury mines up my local Cache creek. I'll have to try and find them.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm starting to see adventure riders from all over discover old Kiln's. The history behind them and their locations are very interesting. For some reason, they remind me of great big bee hives, which I guess is appropriate for Utah isn't it?



I've also heard of Silver Reef very often, however I always thought it was a land feature similar to a ridge, not an old ghost town. The old Wells Fargo building sure looks like it was built to last, and glad it is for all of us to see. Kinda cool seeing all the old mining stuff around it. I'm always hoping to run across an old mine that's been forgotten, just so I can see all the old mining equipment still there. Unfortunately, most of the equipment was removed, which makes sense, or removed by thieves. Still I hope!



Great ride, you do a good job photo-documenting your adventures, thanks so much for sharing.


Yeah, they remind me of beehives also. I'm guessing that both beehives and kilns are built using that shape because it's the easiest way to build a self supporting structure with maximum capacity. It's kind of a modified arch, so should be plenty strong. In fact, to me it's kind of amazing how good of condition the kiln is in for being over 100 years old.



Silver Reef is, in fact, named after the sandstone ridges where silver was discovered. I'm also interested in the old mining equipment. My father in law told me after I returned from my big trip this summer that I rode right past an amazing piece of mining equipment in Hanksville. I don't remember the details but it has a huge wheel that is so finely built and balanced that you can easily rotate it with one hand. So, I'll have to check that out next time I'm through there. When things cool down a bit I hope to ride to a couple of old mines out on the Arizona strip.



I"m glad you enjoyed it.



Very interesting! There are supposed to be old mercury mines up my local Cache creek. I'll have to try and find them.


Thanks! I would love to see your report when you find them.
 

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The history is really interesting. I'm a sucker for old cabins, equipment and structures. Those kilns are very cool!
 
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