It was time to explore some of the history of the area.  I had done my research by searching the web and looked at aerials.  I was ready I thought.  My first stop would be Clair Camp up Pleasant Canyon by Ballarat.  I stopped at Ballarat and confirmed with the friendly store proprietor that my truck could make it with no problem.  I bought a cold drink to help “pay” for this information and left to go see Clair Camp.   

Up I drove into Pleasant Canyon.  It was a slow go, with the road being very rocky.  This was OK but it was rather tedious requiring I constantly watch the road.  And as I looked ahead I saw a road carved into the hillside with a shear drop off on one side.  That type of road is my ultimate irrational fear of the worst road to drive on.  That must be a different road I convinced myself.  But I was wrong, the road I was on ventured up the side of a canyon.  Me – no go. No way.  I turned around and left without making it to Clair Camp.  My research had been less than perfect.

The road to Clair Camp

My next venture was to go see a hole in the ground.  Yup – a hole in the ground.  An oddity.  A label on my map had perked my interest.  I had done some research on how to possibly get to the site.  Off I went.  The road wasn’t too bad. I came to a Y and had to make an educated guess on which way to go.  I guessed correctly.  Eventually the road ended and when I got out of the truck I realized I was at the hole.  

The hole

I found out some information about the hole.  Briefly the story is that in the early 1960s a drill rig was lowered into the hole and drilled sixty holes.  No meteoritic material was found and a firm bottom was not found in the center.  Later a 6 ft x 5 ft timber shaft was built to a depth of 100 feet.  It did not reach a firm bottom or find meteoritic material.  The conclusion is that the hole appears to be caused by either a limestone sink or by a penetrating meteoritic mass (not explosive) moving at a slow velocity.   

Not an exciting find, but a fun venture.

The shaft at the center of the hole.

My final venture was to see the Minnietta Mine. I wish I had spent more time exploring, but I had left my old dog in the truck and didn’t want to leave him for too long. The last mile of road was drivable at 5 mph, but I enjoyed walking instead.

The road to the Minnietta Mine.
Minnietta Mine

And during any trip to any new place, I find pleasure in looking at the details.

Marble with fossilized algae.
Cactus that had recently bloomed.