Morrisonite Mining Operation 1989

Good morning May 18, 1989 at the Morrisonite mining camp. Nothing to do but keep the fire going and enjoy the views. Sage brush?  As the sun moved higher in the sky, the clouds started to rise out of the canyons below.

The year was 1989 and I was just getting started on that years operation. The notes in my pocket calendar tell of installing a new battery, rebuilding the master brake cylinder, and replacing a brake slave cylinder in the loader on Saturday May 13. On Sunday I cleaned and repaired the steep road down to the Christine Marie mining claim well enough to use the Scout the next day. Monday I drove the Scout down the canyon to within 200 yards of the Old Boot Dig. That night I made a note about working through over one ton of rock and only recovering one pound of jasper yet my other notes sound optimistic like there is going to be good jasper under the next rock. That Tuesday, working with the loader, I reached the point were blasting was necessary. Wednesday, May 17, I worked on getting the compressor close enough to the site to do the drilling. The last written entry in my log on that day said, "hope to get the compressor running tomorrow and blast on Friday."

I remember that day as a beautiful partly cloudy warm day but by the time I made it back up to camp it was looking nasty. The wind was blowing hard and the sky was spitting. I did my chores, started the fire and went to bed listening to the howling wind and pelting rain. Sometime in the night I remember it got very quiet and I fell into a deep sleep.

Looking north into the Owyhee River Canyon from the Jake’s Place claim.
Burn off clouds from the valley below add to the whiteness of the other side of the canyon.


There is a window right beside my bunk in the cabin. The light of the day awakens me each morning and the morning of May 18th was bright. When I opened my eyes, I couldn't see anything and I had that strange feeling of not knowing where you are that you get sometimes sleeping in many different places while on a trip. Then the reality hit me. Everything was white—the sagebrush was white, my Scout was white, the dozer was white—the rain had turned to snow. A rare May snow storm had dumped six inches of snow on the Owyhee River Canyon. There would be no mining today!

View from the point on Sheepshead Ridge looking north across the valley to Red Butte.Burn off clouds rising out of Blue Canyon. Looking north through Blue Canyon, across the Owyhee River to Red Butte and beyond. Blue Canyon with Red Butte in the distance. Looking southwest toward Birch Creek. Looking west down onto the Christine Marie mining claim.


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