East Fork to Baldora / Widco Mine Area
Gain: 5200 ft
Distance: 14 miles
The housing market crash has forced me to be a bit more economical.
Others’ photos and Meetup link here
This was a good adventure. The goal was to check out the area around the old Baldora/Widco mine in Dry Gulch, which lies southeast of Iron Mountain and next to Coldwater Canyon. The most feasible way to get there is by taking the Heaton Flat trail to the prominent saddle in which 3 trails diverge. The old trail to the left takes you to Allison Mine, the use trail straight ahead and up takes you to Iron Mountain, and the brushy trail to the right takes you down to Coldwater Canyon. This is the trail we took.
After hiking up to the saddle (~ 3000 ft gain in 4.5 miles), we started along this unmaintained trail. It immediately became pretty brushy, which was expected. And very soon we came upon parts of the trail that had been washed out, and the negotiation added some adventure.
The trail continued to be washed out in several areas; however, it was passable without much danger. The brush was annoying at times, but certainly less of a deterrent than the washed out trail. Getting down to the canyon bottom took a decent amount of time. Along the way, I was peering at Bighorn Ridge, Widman Ranch, and other landmarks. I thought I noticed some use trails heading up toward Bighorn Ridge, but I could have just been hallucinating.
Once we got to Coldwater Canyon, we turned north and veered to the left to make sure we went up Dry Gulch. This combined some rock hopping / bouldering and following an intermittent use trail along the left bank.
Now, on USGS maps and my garmin map, it is indicated that the Baldora and Widco are two separate mines, although people mention them as one. I wasn’t sure, so we made sure to check out both areas as indicated on the maps. The first is the Widco mine which is a bit lower and on the left side of Dry Gulch. There, we found an old shack and some equipment.
The actual location of the shack was a bit lower than the mine location as marked on my GPS, so I scrambled up a hundred feet or so until I was at the marked location. I ended up just around some large rocks which could have been the mine, but I did not see an entrance but admittedly did not thoroughly explore. I did notice that I scrambled up to more level ground, and as I walked down it, I realized it was an old road bed that went back down to the shack, so likely the mine was located where marked.
After that, we headed a bit further up the gulch and over to the right side to check out Baldora Mine. Here we found even more remnants including a shack and some big machinery. I’d assume this machinery would be placed close to the mine entrance, although we couldn’t find any.
Again, the actual location of the mine as located on my gps was a bit higher up, so we climbed up east toward the ridge splitting Dry Gulch and Coldwater canyon until we hit the spot. Again the location marked put us by some boulders, but no mine. After that, we descended and headed back the same way.
It would seem that there were indeed two mines since there was equipment and shacks in two locations though we did not actually find any mine entrances. I would guess there was at least one entrance but we just simply did not find it. I was tempted to continue hiking up toward Gold Dollar mine as brush was not a problem; at that point it was more trees and low-lying brush. But, that’s for another day.
This entry was posted on Sunday, March 8th, 2009 at 11:52 am and is filed under Trail Information, Trip Report. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.