The Glitter and the The Bitter
Overview: Short hike to a small mine through pockets of pine forest and the aftermath of the Lane 2 Fire.
Warning: The drive from Crown King to the trailhead is on a seldom maintained dirt road and may be closed during winter months. 4-wheel drive is not required, but moderate clearance is a must.
History: The Lane 2 Fire of was begun by former National Park Service employee trying to help some lost hikers in June of 2008 near this hike. The man set fires attempting to signal a helicopter. He left hate fires unattended and nearly 10,000 acres of pristine pine and chaparral forests were consumed.
Hike: The hike begins at the intersection of Horse Thief Road and Forest 100 Trail. Follow the jeep trail south for about .7 miles. A closed road branches off right (west). You will see the gate. Follow this closed road up until it dead ends at the mine.
Along the hike you will often have verdant pine forests on one side of the trail and a forest of dead pine snags on the other. The forest floor under the living pines looks much like a park while low brush, mostly impassible briers choke the burned side. The stark contrast is bitter and drives home the long term destructive nature of wildfires and poor forest management.
The trail is made up of broken granite and lots of white quartzite. Abundant mica glitters reflects from almost the entire surface of the trail.
At the end of the trail is the Fat Jack Mine. Often the small mining operation is flooded. Some gear is scattered around the mine. There were once hundreds of mines operating in the Bradshaws, small and large. Now a few hobbyists keep the gold fever burning.
On the return a detour up to Watson Peak on Lane Mountain provides some excellent views.
Water Sources: I wouldn't drink from the water in the mine, but rumor has it cold drinks are available back in Crown King.
Camping: Nearby Hazlett Hollow Campground is open Spring through Fall. Multitudes of dispersed camping sites are available.
Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.