Moby Goes to Hanaupah Canyon and Shorty Borden’s Mine

Our ongoing search for water takes us to Hanaupah Canyon where Shorty Borden mined silver in the 1930’s. At the age of 66, Shorty built a road from the valley floor into the canyon (9 miles) using only “a pick, crowbar, shovel, a small amount of dynamite, and burro power.” In the end, it cost more to transport the silver ore out of the canyon than it was worth, and Shorty’s dream ended.        (

As we head into the canyon, we wonder if our search for water will be more successful than Shorty’s silver mine.

Mouth of Hanaupah Canyon

Death Valley is full of surprises, full of secrets. In the interest of preserving fragile sites, most people (including me) don’t mention these places; however these pictographs are pretty well known. In Death Valley, pictographs (paint on rock) is much less common than petroglyphs (chipping or carving on rock).


As we trudge up the canyon, we come across this chuckwalla. Female chuckwallas have scattered spots while males have red/orange bodies and dark heads.


Shorty located his mining operation near a spring that feeds a small stream that runs down the canyon a short distance. Green shrubs line the creek.

Hanaupah Canyon Spring

This is Shorty’s mine, but Larry wishes it was his.

Shorty Borden’s Mine

We hike an old mining road past Shorty’s place and on up the mountain.

Brittlebush and Indian Paintbrush in Upper Hanaupah Canyon

The old road is in bad shape. Even Moby would have trouble with this one.

Mining Road in South Hanaupah Canyon

The old mine shaft at the end of the road was unstable, so it was blasted closed (I assume). All we found was a jumble of rock and great views.

Upper South Hanaupah Canyon

We return to Moby after dark and with sore feet. We found good water, and Larry marks it on his map for his someday backpack route. In the morning, we enjoy the sun and Moby’s luxury accommodations.

Moby Flies the Kazakh Flag

Larry makes dinner, and we plan for tomorrow. What’s next?

Carne Asada Feast

For entertainment, we watch the changing evening light over Badwater Basin and the Funeral Mountains as the sun sets over Telescope Peak behind us.

Evening on Hanaupah Canyon Road

14 thoughts

  1. Hi there, I think your blog may be having web browser compatibility problems.
    When I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however when opening in I.E., it’s got some overlapping issues.
    I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that, great website!

    1. More about the Kazakh towel: When we were in Kazakhstan, Larry tried to mail one home to Marty to hang in his old classroom and the letter had been opened, inspected, and returned with a note that said that mailing the Kazakh flag out of Kazakhstan was illegal. I don’t know why. Like many things there, it’s a mystery!

  2. I so enjoy hearing of all your adventures! I think the Shorty cabin should be renamed the Callister Cabin….
    Keep Moby rolling….I know some day it’s going to turn up in Key West 😄

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