Return to the Carlyle Mine / Carlisle Mine (Dale Mining District)

I first visited the Carlyle Mine (aka. Carlisle Mine) in June of 2015. It quickly became one of my favorite mines to take both clients and out-of-town friends to visit. In a year and a half I have managed nearly a dozen visits, and everyone that I have taken has been impressed with the extensive ruins of the turn of the century silver and gold mining operation.

I have previously documented the history of this mine which can be found here. Because of that I won’t waste time on information that I have already covered.

My sister-in-law and her boyfriend, Eric were recently in visiting from the great state of New York. The two of us managed to escape the clutches of the ladies for a day, and went out to the Carlyle for a little play time. He enjoys visiting abandoned places at home, but had never visited a mine. I knew that the Carlyle would be right up his alley, and give him an experience that he wouldn’t forget for a long time.

 

A well hidden cyanide mill, along with the ruin of the tram.

A well hidden cyanide mill, along with the ruin of the tram.

 

Somewhat zoomed in look at the cyanide mill ruins.

Somewhat zoomed in look at the cyanide mill ruins.

 

A collapsed tram tower that I had previously not noticed.

A collapsed tram tower that I had previously not noticed.

 

Tram bucket carrier.

Tram bucket carrier.

 

We did the usual rounds visiting the lower adit, along with the upper adit (what will now be known as the middle adit). I was pointing out the various tram towers, when it dawned on me that the tram extended further up the mountain than I had previous noticed. Being an adventurous spirit, Eric asked if I wanted to check it out. My response was probably something similar to, “Hell yeah, I want to check it out.” We climbed straight up the mountain, it eventually intersected with a trail that had been obscured from below. I turned to look around, noticing the ruins of what was a small cyanide mill tucked into a crevice in the side of the mountain. Crazy! I had been directly below that several times, and never noticed it!

Now on the trail, we continued up the mountain to a fallen tram tower. Up and over we went, and after rounding a corner, a massive pile of tailings came into site. I was shocked to say the least, I had not an inkling of an idea that there was another adit that was part of the Carlyle.  In the wash below a considerable amount of metal and machinery was strung about, including a large rusty gear.

 

The tailings of the newly discovered adit.

The tailings of the newly discovered adit.

 

One big gear located in the wash below.

One big gear located in the wash below.

 

Outside of the adit.

Outside of the adit.

 

The outside of the adit is beautifully reinforced with a stone wall, as we stepped foot inside everything appeared to be stable so be began a walk through. What seemed to be about every 30 feet there was a raise (essential an upward vertical shaft), many of the old wooden ladders were in impeccable condition allowing the opportunity to explore these upper caverns. Several hundred feet into the mine we entered a chamber with a decline tunnel, part of the decline winch was still intact and well-greased.  Still hanging on a nail was a yellow hard hat.

At this time it becomes pretty evident that this adit is rarely if ever visited, it was as if we found a gold mine (oh wait, we did!).

 

The camera captures some strange light off of Eric's flashlight.

The camera captures some strange light off of Eric’s flashlight.

 

Support beams and an ore chute at one of many raises in the adit.

Support beams and an ore chute at one of many raises in the adit.

 

Going up? The ladders remain in excellent condition.

Going up? The ladders remain in excellent condition.

 

Eric at the top of one of the raises.

Eric at the top of one of the raises.

 

We descending down into the decline tunnel. The ground was soft and powdery, every step creating a dust cloud. After what seemed like a significant distance I began to become a little uneasy with the situation when I realized that I couldn’t see the bottom of the incline, and the grade was becoming steeper. Feeling responsible for both Eric’s and my own life I turned us around.

Back in the main adit we continued further along. Graffiti left behind by the miners decorated a good portion of the walls, some of which would be considered sexually explicit even in our day and age, but then there were also simple names and dates, and even a bitchin’ burro image.  The miners used the soot of their carbide lamp to create these depictions.

 

Greased wheel.

Greased wheel.

 

Heading down the decline.

Heading down the decline.

 

Safety first.

Safety first.

 

Miner graffiti. Portrait of a burro.

Miner graffiti. Portrait of a burro.

 

An old oil can hangs from the wall.

An old oil can hangs from the wall.

 

Somewhere around 2,000 feet the adit came to an end.

I can without a doubt say that out of the hundreds of mines that I have visited that the Carlyle is my favorite. It had already been so, but is now even more so. This “new” upper adit being more spectacular than the lower ones.

We ended up spending about 6 hours wandering around the Carlyle, cutting into my plans significantly. It was well worth it considering the opportunity to experience something new and exciting, as well as sharing it with someone who had never experienced such a thing prior.

 

Mummified rat.

Mummified rat.

 

A heavily lumbered stoop.

A heavily lumbered stoop.

 

 

About the author

Jim Mattern

Jim is a scapegoat for the NPS, an author, adventurer, photographer, radio personality, guide, and location scout. His interests lie in Native American and cultural sites, ghost towns, mines, and natural wonders in the American Deserts.