Death Valley National Park, CA

Death Valley National Park - The Harmony Borax Works

Death Valley National Park - The Harmony Borax Works

Climate

While known for its gold and silver mines, the most profitable and longest-sustained mining activities in the Death Valley area focused on borates.
Borax was discovered in the valley in 1873 and was first mined successfully by W.T. Coleman who built the Harmony Borax Works.
Borax works surrounds
At the site of the borax works a short trail leads past the ruins of the refinery and some outlying buildings. The works were active between 1882 and 1889.

Death Valley National Park - Badwater Basin

Death Valley National Park - Badwater Basin

Borax works

Perhaps the most recognizable feature of borax mining were the “20-mule team” wagons used to haul mined borax the 165 miles between Death Valley and the railhead in Mojave. Coleman was also responsible for starting the wagon trains. It’s interesting to note that the “20 mules” was really 18 mules and 2 horses and that the weight they pulled was roughly the same weight a modern-day 18-wheeler pulls when fully-loaded. This meant that when going up hills, the team often had to pull one wagon up the hill, then be brought back down to pull up the second wagon. The trip took about 10 days on average.

Death Valley is generally sunny, dry, and clear throughout the year. The winters, November through March, are mild with occasional winter storms, but summers are extremely hot and dry. Summer high temperatures commonly run above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Comfortable clothing providing sun protection and a broad brimmed hat are recommended in summer. Winter requires warmer clothing and light to medium jackets. Sturdy walking shoes are important year round.

Death Valley National Park - The Devils Golf Course

Death Valley National Park - The Devils Golf Course

Write to

Death Valley National Park
P.O. Box 579
Death Valley, California 92328

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Published in: on January 13, 2009 at 5:40 PM  Comments Off on Death Valley National Park, CA  
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