This brightly painted version of The Mojave Hilton is based on an old, now faded photograph of the miner's shack or hunting cabin known as the Mojave Hilton, which is located in the Vontrigger Hills of California. I'm not going to give the precise location, because the shack has seen some ill use in the past few years or decades. The area is inside the East Mojave National Preserve (1994), formerly known as the East Mojave Scenic Area (1980).
This photo, now part of a cut-to-pieces collage, was taken in 1985 by the second geologist in the picture - that's right, the one that isn't me! I don't know how my 1981 field partner and I missed this cabin - we probably drove right by while focusing on volcanic rocks of the nearby Castle Mountains and the even closer Hackberry Mountain. Back in '85, a sign over the door said "something Hilton," although all I can read now is the "Hilton" part, even on the original print.
The Mojave Hilton was used by hunters when we visited in 1985. The front steps were almost new. Although I never met anyone while stopping by, a sign-in book and wall sign-in lists made it clear that the place was used on a fairly regular basis.
This is the way the Mojave Hilton looked in early May, 2009: a little bit worse for wear, but still hanging in there.
These newer photos show that the sign over the door is gone.
Instead, the door has a hantavirus warning, which was plastered on by DOI.
"DO NOT SWEEP OR VACUUM." Thanks. I wasn't planning on it!
I did go in, though - it's an irresistable pastime of exploration geologists: examine every shack or cabin you find in the field, providing that the interior is sound. The note above was written in June, 1983. It names the cabin as "THE MOJAVE HILTON" and mentions the new front steps and other improvements.
Typical sign-ins on the wall. I don't remember for sure if there was a sign-in book or not. For sure there was one in either this cabin OR another semi-nearby, well-kept cabin, but I'm not sure which one had the book.
The stove that was new in 1983.
The kitchen area.
The bedroom area. Here's where you can see the disorder that the cabin has come to. To clean up, you'd need serious dust protection. The business cards overhead are another way of signing in. (I didn't leave one!)
The Mojave Hilton from the rear, showing the classic western way of holding the roof on by adding rocks - protection against windstorms.
The Mojave Hilton, as seen from the old mine shaft that the cabin was originally built to service, with the volcanic rocks of Hackberry Mountain in the background.
This is the main shaft (or decline) where someone went after whatever they thought was minable on this property. The mine dump shows signs of quartz and minor sulfides. The dump is small, though - either the mine didn't go deep, or some rock was hauled to an unknown mill.
A closer look, which I took by holding my camera at the proper angle and rotating the screen, not by actually getting closer. The timbers look a little rotten in places. The country rock, gneiss or granite, is shot with narrow stockworky veins of unknown type.
And looking farther down the decline - hey, I'm not going in there, you shouldn't either! Especially don't trust that rickety-looking ladder.
It would be a nice place to live, don't you think?
Copyright © 2009 Looking for Detachment.
Original watercolor Copyright © 2002.
All Rights Reserved.