Sunday, January 5, 2014

095 The Navajo Mining Railway - Ghost Town of Ophir, Utah, Mining Town

My friend Steve Moore and I buckled on our side arms, put on our boots, and wandered into a canyon that time forgot.  We headed out to a real live ghost town here in Utah known as Ophir, after the fabled mines of Solomon.  We got way more than we bargained for.

It was 22 degrees, and some of the snow had melted in the lower part of the plain.  We are about 50 miles from home in a desolated area west of Salt Lake City.  The mountains are breathtaking.

Steve is first to spot the remnants of the railroad that once ran here.  This appears to be some kind of tailings dump, and it had several pipes running through it.

My favorite relic of them all was this loader, presumably for the railroad that was once here.  It is a fascinating combination of wood, steel, block, rock and stone.  You will see a model of this on my layout!

As a tribute to the railroad that ran here, they have erected a stone.  Click on the picture to read it up close.

Rusty mine relics are everywhere including this headblock and a steam boiler.

The canyon is narrow and rather trecherous.  A climb out is impossible, and the signs to beware of rattlesnakes are everywhere.  Luckily it is very cold and there is almost a foot of snow where we are.

There are mine cars everywhere you look.  Everyone in town (all 23 people) have one in their front yard.  Tracks remain as they were many years ago.

Here you can see a small loader used to fill the ore cars.

This happy and warm "Welcome to Ophir" sign is made cold quickly by the unlimited amounts of "no trespassing, keep out, and stay away" signs in town.  We love you to come here!  Now git out!

The ore car has a coat of rust, but still looks operable.

This is one of several stone buildings, which includes solid steel doors and windows.  The roof appears brand new.

There are many different types of small ore "jennys" such as this wood side variety.

Other structures show clear evidence of being modified several times, as this one has been.

The town all and fire department appears closed for the winter.

Another great building!  This one is made of huge chunks of wood stacked together!

Another great stone building, though we could not figure out what it was used for.

High up at one of the mines is a trestle with about a 16" gauge mine railroad.  The cars are still in place and hooked up.  The water tank is rusted steel.

Other derelict buildings such as this shed show the fantastic weathering I was looking for.

We missed this driving in, as did most everyone else that has taken pictures in the Ophir.  What looks like the remnants of a shed is actually an old passenger car, circa about 1920.  The rest of the car parts and the deck are on the back side of the hill, covered in snow.  It showed amazingly good craftsmanship.

We believe this was the footing of a very large crushing plant/reducing mill.  It must have burned as the wood is completely gone and steel bolts with nuts and washers are dangling in the air.  It had a ramp that fed it.

This old shack was barely standing, as were many of the homes we saw.  Others were preserved and were for sale.

I have tons of photos from the trip, almost 500, and may post some more.

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