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Grapevine Trl to Sorrel Horse Mine, AZ
mini location map2016-11-12
13 by photographer avatarOregon_Hiker
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Grapevine Trl to Sorrel Horse Mine, AZ 
Grapevine Trl to Sorrel Horse Mine, AZ
Hiking avatar Nov 12 2016
Hiking4.97 Miles 1,479 AEG
Hiking4.97 Miles   6 Hrs   36 Mns   0.94 mph
1,479 ft AEG   1 Hour   18 Mns Break
1st trip
Partners none no partners
This hike's objective was to locate the 5 adits that comprise the Sorrel Horse Deposit (Uranium) above the north end of the Grapevine Trail #135 in Cherry Creek Canyon. My hope was that the Juniper fire in May had cleared the thick brush blocking access to this area. According to the 1985 MINERAL INVESTIGATION OF THE SIERRA ANCHA WILDERNESS AND SALOME STUDY AREA these adits were driven to varying distances of 25 to 250 ft into the hillside to prospect for uranium at claim sites originally staked in 1954. No ore was produced from these sites. The 1985 investigation concluded that "the presence of minable uranium concentrations in this area is unlikely".

The hike down the Grapevine trail to its intersection with the Black Brush Mine road went quickly except for stopping to take photos. The west side of Cherry Creek Canyon has been burned off in this area making it easier to follow this old road bed although it made for rather stark scenery. The fire had apparently burned hottest on the hilltops that protruded from the west side of the canyon leaving them bare. I have found Indian ruins on top of a few of these hilltops in the past so I scanned these now bare hilltops for new ruin finds as I proceeded along the trail.

Upon arriving at the Black Brush Mine road I found that it had also been effectively cleared of brush. However the clipped ends of charred brush could be seen from when Grasshopper and I had cleared a path up to the BB mines back in March 2014. I followed the BB mine road for a short distance and then decided to take a shortcut straight up the now cleared hillside to where the road to the Sorrel Horse mine road starts. This road which had been so heavily covered with brush that it was invisible was now open. I followed the old Sorrel Horse access road up to where it disappeared straight down a wash deep into the depths of Cold Creek Canyon. From the furthest point I reached on this road I could see where it switched back and forth up the other side of Cold Creek Canyon to reach what appears to be the gray rock layer that contains uranium. Scanning the hillside on the opposite side of the canyon I was unable to spot any adit openings. (However after returning home and searching some zoomed in photos on my PC I may have found at least one adit which is now noted in the photo set.) The descent into the bottom of the canyon appeared risky for this old solo hiker with tired legs. Doing a mental evaluation of risk versus reward I quickly decided to bail out and started back to camp with enough time left to search for ruins on some hilltops along the way. The ruin search was also unsuccessful but did satisfy my long standing curiosity about the possibility of ruins on those hilltops. I got back to camp in time to enjoy a couple hours of reading while the sun dropped below the western rim of the canyon and it was time to cook dinner.
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