Pinto Wye Arrastra


What is an arrastra you may ask? Well, I could have taken a picture of one, but instead I chose to photograph this odd berry bush.

We found this two-mile walk listed in our hiking guide. It was nearby and just the right length to finish off the day. It didn’t say, however, what an arrastra is. So we tromped off to find out.

It turns out an arrastra is a circular arrangement of rocks and metal in the ground, located next to an old mine, with a little sign explaining what an arrastra is. Truly, if it weren’t for the sign this is about all I would be able to say.

Now of course it seems obvious that an arrastra is a stone mill for grinding up ore, gold ore in our case. Mercury could then be added, and it would form an amalgam with the gold. The amalgam could then be heated to evaporate the mercury. Our arrastra was powered by burros, and when the burros went wild they switched to a gas motor. It doesn’t say how productive this arrastra was, but judging by its current condition and the shallowness of the mine, this was a short-lived arrastra.

2 responses to “Pinto Wye Arrastra”

  1. cool berry bush! I thought it was a touched up black and white shot! I also thought the bit about the mining was interesting. I think I saw one of these when my family lived up in Grass Valley. We lived at the end of a long dirt road called Old Stage Coach road. It used to be as it’s name implies back in the mining days, and the ruts were still in the road where the coaches used to travel. Anyways, my friends and I saw something like your description by this creek once…

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