In The Desert
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Kokoweef Gold Mine
("the cave-cuts sharp like a knife-by water")
Kokoweef Mine and the tale of Earl Dorr
As far as treasure tales goes this one is something to consider and look into in the desert. However like all treasure tales -- it's been mis-understood, exaggerated, and quite frankly very few people (with some exceptions) have spent the time to research this tale and see if it holds water. Does it? It's still open to discussion! We've talked to several of the main characters involved with the search and none of them has seen the River of Gold. So lets see why this is so interesting to so many. Also note: currently there are legal proceedings going on between the different parties involved. This account of the validity of the River of Gold is only part of my research and should not be construed as the gospel truth; only my interpretation and opinion.
Well as treasure tales go this one is probably one of the most interesting. I say this because we've been to the Kokoweef Mine and talked to the people there. Also a great deal of research in the desert has gone into the following tale. So let's start at the beginning. My ramblings begin!
The first time we went looking for the Kokoweef Mine we went with Jack Ross our fellow treasure hunter. Jack was great at research and had traveled the world looking thru archives and treasures documents. We got along great because Jack had a terrible sense of direction and he soon realized that I, on the other hand an infallible sense of direction. So we worked good together, both of us liked to camp out in the desert, we liked to explore; and the Kokoweef was just the tip of the iceberg for us. We were also looking for some old Spanish markings in caves near the Kokoweef. We never did find them.
This goes back to 1994 when we came on the scene. We stopped at the Kokoweef Mine and met the head miner of the operation at the time; Joe Kelly- now deceased; he was a really nice guy with an old west attitude; very friendly. His girlfriend Katra was also very friendly and in fact she let us go exploring in the old Crystal Cave. There were a lot of different tunnels and some were blocked with gates with a sign announcing lethal gas environments. We climbed down the main shaft of the tunnel; which had old metal ladders attached to the sloping walls. It was quite an experience. Earl Dorr's name was on one of the shaft tunnels. Now a more correct name would be natural caves. As they were natural once you got into the mountain. The (alleged but disproved) OLD original acess through the Crystal Cave natural entrance from near the top on the East side was replaced with a lower tunnel and a raise that had been drilled and blasted into the original natural cave system to make it easier to gain access and remove exploratory rock debris. This tunnel was supposedely the one that Earl Dorr blasted shut to stop anyone from getting his gold. We've heard that Government Engineers went into the tunnel right after this took place and could find no evidence of a blast.
This popcorn (that's what they call this) was a sample that I took off of the wall of the natural cave. This was done with Joe Kelly's permission. He said he didn't think anyone would mind, caus' they was looking for gold. Now Joe (who was an old professional trucker who worked mines in his youth)
knew mining and he was the one setting the charges in the mine on the other side of the mountain. But to his misfortune he was used to doing things the old fashioned way. He lost his life in an accident at the mine on May 18th 1996 when he was 70 years old. See the link to the MSHA's report above for details on his demise. He was working at the time for the Lessee of the property at Kokoweef Peak: Explorations Inc. Nevada.
As the story goes, Earl Dorr had been down in the cave and had taken a considerable amount of gold from the river at the bottom of the cave system. This cave system allegedly runs for many miles and it's even believed that it may run from the middle of Nevada down to empty into the Sea of Cortez. Of course this has never been documented, but a lot of evidence says that it's very possible. Devil's Hole just West of Pahrumph in Death Valley has water in it in a place where there shouldn't be any water. It also varies in depth and the hole has never been fully explored because of the death of a couple of cave explorers. It may be connected to this underground river. Our new Argosy section of the site will have an article on this river soon. Also Ivanpah dry lake bed is another strange anomaly that figures into this scenario. And we've seen this -- it can rain and cause flash floods and the dry lake bed will fill with water to a level of several feet in depth only to disappear. (Update) - this loss of water could be accounted for by previous drilling sites in the Ivanpah Dry Lake Bed!. Kind of makes you wonder where all that water goes. There have even been explorers that say they have found caves near the Mexican border that have running water rivers in them. There are also tales of Indians finding natural openings that have a great wind rushing out of them in areas of the desert in Southeastern California (more on this below). You can get off of Interstate 15 at Mountain Pass and drive to the Kokoweef Mine. Visiting the mine at the present time may not be a good idea -- because of legal arbitration -- we were told that visitors might not be welcome! HERE is one of their web sites. Do a google search - there are other sites.
We e-mailed different people that were involved with the Kokoweef mine and the only one that showed any interest was Ralph Lewis. We've met with Ralph and I'm sure you couldn't find a more sincere person to tell you about the Lost River of Gold. Now some of the investors would have you believe that Ralph has ulterior motives for his views of the "Treasure Tale" Like all treasure tales, there is always more than one story, and in some cases there are dozens -- most hard to believe! Let's start off with some historical facts as they were related to me.
Ralph volunteered full-time while living at the Kokoweef Mine for nearly 15 years of his life -- believing in the legend during that time.
Ralph has compiled and inherited a substantial amount of new information, pictures of a relative of Earl Dorr's including notes plus unpublished facts from conversations with Dorr's living relatives..
Ralph studied this info, pictures and came to some conclusions - not popular ones, but factual ones.
Ralph never said the river of gold is not in the area.
Ralph believes it may exist, but in a different location.
Ralph doesn't believe Earl Dorr ever saw the river of gold.
Ralph knows, from working experience, failed attempts from all the other diggers and government reports from 1942 that Earl Dorr lied about going through Kokoweef Peak's Crystal Cave to the underground canyon, it's underground waterway or any 'gold'.
Our perspective on the subject. The affidavit that Earl Dorr signed in 1934 means absolutely nothing! I could go an get an affidavit made up similar to his and have it notarized, what would that prove? Earl Dorr's story could very well be a story that he heard and repeated for notoriety! The Kokoweef Peak has some very unusual geologic features -- let me explain. They drilled test drill holes and have had constant (and intermittent) air flow out of them. The mountain itself is like a battery holding a charge all the time. The surrounding area has a deep gold, sulfide deposit, so it's possible it leached or weathered into a cavern below. Now the biggest one: People (most that is) that have invested in working on a treasure tale will never give into the idea that the whole thing is a fraud. Also you have to consider the people looking for investors -- would they tell you if they knew that it was a fraud? Does this make this mine or tale any less interesting - heck no! If you visit the area you'll understand why. Just my thoughts!
So what does it all look like?
This is a sign that when found was on the wrong side of the mountain. Of course this sign was put up back then to inform investors. When we were there the first time we were approached to be investors. I hope they all get rich beyond their wildest dreams.
5 acres of private property just below the Northwestern side of the Peak is home to many of the volunteers and investors. The camp is shown here.
The mine entrance that they put into the Peak on the Western side to hopefully connect with the alleged, but still not discovered, Dorr's Natural Cave and Caverns. So far this has been unsuccessful. These photos were taken Nov. 26th 2002 by me. A lot of money has gone into this search as well as time and effort. Maybe it's time for a new direction to be taken -- remember the deep Sulfide Gold ore body located here? Just a thought.
Have fun -----------
This is an inter-active Maps.google Satellite Map. You can zoom in / out and change
Ralph Lewis view in his words -- HERE
The present owners & lessor companies are the Crystal Cave Mining & Development Co's.
Dowlnoad the Garmin GPS topo track
This is the complete historical timeline for activities at Kokoweef Peak and the Lost River of Gold.