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View Full Version : Bluebird Mine, Attempt #6, The Dream Becomes Reality



LauraA
11-17-2006, 06:05 PM
Finally, we were able to achieve access to the Bluebird Mine. My husband's son Scott was visiting us from Los Angeles this past week and when he heard us talk about the Bluebird he said that he'd like to try to reach the mine with us while he was visiting, so we loaded up early Thursday morning and headed once again for the Bluebird. We figured if we had any vehicle problems, Scott being a young 43 year old would be physically able to hike out and get help. The road hadn't improved since we last traveled it with Brian10X, still tippy, elevated and as rocky as any road we'd want to travel in our mostly stock Jeep. We arrived at the Bluebird cabin without any damage except maybe my frazzled nerves due to the tip factor of the road.
The quarter mile hike back into the Bluebird Canyon was semi strenuous, with lots of boulders to scramble over and cactus spines to avoid, but at the end of the hike we were rewarded with success. There ahead of us were the remains of the Bluebird Mine. Finally, after 6 attempts, we had reached our goal. A large ore chute, a conveyor of some sort with tracks leading from the mine to the conveyor and then to the ore chute. There were assorted remains, fallen wooden buildings, tracks all over the place, an old assayer's office now covered with corrugated metal siding.
The view from the adit was dark and ominous as we peered into the gloomy interior but we decided to go for it. The walls and ceiling were solid rock, the floor was lined by ore cart tracks and very little sound marred the silence except for our muffled footsteps and nervous laughter as we left the light of the mine entrance behind us. Only our flashlight beams lit the way as we went deeper into the mine. When we had gone a very slow, 150 feet into the mine making twists and turns along the way our flashlight beams in unison focused on a dark form on the floor ahead of us. There, as we approached, we could make out the shape of a human figure and upon closer inspection, we could see it was a skeleton, dressed in rotting clothing, wearing boots that were decaying exposing bony toes. Scott, being young and foolishly brave moved aside a bit of clothing and we saw an arrow piercing the skeleton's chest and large silver coins spilled from his pockets. Around his waist were the remains of a holster with a large gun still in place. At that point we turned and headed out of the mine at a much faster pace than the one we used entering it................

And now, the truth.....:o
We did indeed finally reach the Bluebird Mine, but alas, no skeleton, no skeletal toes, no arrow, no coins and no holstered gun. We were instead rewarded with some really neat ruins. The conveyor with tracks leading up was something we hadn't seen before and while poking around the assayer's office, we found some old tools which had fallen down behind a bench. There was a heavy, handmade chair and of course modern day beer cans and shotgun shells littering the ground from previous explorers to the area. Dang it, I wish people would be more considerate of these places, but that's the topic for another thread. We weren't disappointed at all at not finding any hidden treasure, instead we had the satisfaction of finally reaching our goal. It was worth the wait. Sometime in not too distant future, this site will be gone, scheduled for "reclamation" but at least we've photographed it, explored it and brought home a few things which would have been lost to the bulldozer's blade.


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LauraA
11-17-2006, 06:13 PM
More Bluebird


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widleewidleewaa
11-17-2006, 06:18 PM
Wow great pictures, finding stuff like that is so cool. Did you go in the mine?

Makes me jealous I havent had time to go out in 3 weeks.

LauraA
11-17-2006, 06:18 PM
and some more....


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Goat
11-17-2006, 06:22 PM
Congratulations Laura, whew, what a roller-coaster ride the BlueBird has been! Nice pictures too, I'm really happy for you guys.

Goat

LauraA
11-17-2006, 06:36 PM
... and some shameless bragging, here's my sweet hubby Ralph and equally sweet stepson, Scott at the Bluebird :)
Yes, we did go into the mine, it looked pretty secure. We would have liked to have gone further, but we were a bit afraid because nobody knew where we were.



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Here's an old bat that flew out of the mine :D

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brian10x
11-17-2006, 07:37 PM
Wow, laura, great trip!

I actually had one of those mouth wide open bug-eyed moments reading the first part of the story.

Only one thing left to do. Find the next Bluebird, and we can start planning the next great discovery!

Kelly
11-17-2006, 07:46 PM
Great story,Great pics. Thanks for posting your trip Laura.
Did you do any rockhounding or prospecting there? What type of ore did they mine there?

Kelly
11-17-2006, 07:52 PM
Is this the same place?

http://azmemory.lib.az.us/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/shmining&CISOPTR=147&REC=1

Mikejts
11-17-2006, 08:15 PM
Great story - I am sure many of us have experienced the same type of adventure. Looking for a special place, mine , town, making numerous attempts to get there, and finaly arriving.

:p The joys of Ghost Towning. :D

LauraA
11-17-2006, 09:03 PM
Great story,Great pics. Thanks for posting your trip Laura.
Did you do any rockhounding or prospecting there? What type of ore did they mine there?

We didn't do any metal detecting, mostly because of the large amount of metal littering the area. It was mainly an Azurite mine with a couple of holes dug in addition to pull out fluorite. We'd like to go into the mine further to see if we can find any Azurite left.


Is this the same place?

http://azmemory.lib.az.us/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/shmining&CISOPTR=147&REC=1

Yes, that's the same mine, although the cabin has been rebuilt in what appears to be the same location.

LauraA
11-17-2006, 09:08 PM
Wow, laura, great trip!

I actually had one of those mouth wide open bug-eyed moments reading the first part of the story.

Only one thing left to do. Find the next Bluebird, and we can start planning the next great discovery!

Brian, I was thinking of you when I wrote it :D
We've got three more mines in line to find next, The Journigan, we've got the approximate location, but it appears some hiking will be involved, not sure how much. The other is the Saguaro Mine, same vicinity, but not showing on many maps, it appears to be in direct line with the Journigan, but we're not sure how much further, there are also some cliff dwellings in that same area. Then there's another mine located near Picture Mountain in Tonto Basin, it was a pig iron mine and should have some neat remains. Whew, so many mines, wish we were younger. The spirit is willing, but sometimes the dang flesh is weak. As I've said before, it sure beats retiring to a rocking chair. :o I really appreciate everyone's comments, suggestions and support, it's great to be able to share our explorations with folks who can appreciate it (and not look at us like we're just crazy old people) :rolleyes:

widleewidleewaa
11-17-2006, 09:49 PM
I think The Journigan and Saguaro Mines are kind of N/E of Roosevelt Lake. I saw them on a map once, when i was looking for places to explore.

LauraA
11-18-2006, 05:10 AM
I think The Journigan and Saguaro Mines are kind of N/E of Roosevelt Lake. I saw them on a map once, when i was looking for places to explore.

You're right. We've made a few halfhearted attempts to reach Journigan and quickly found out that the road that is marked on the map is washed out and totally impassable. We're going to attempt to reach it from another road we found and then hike in. Journigan was a lead mine, so I don't have any idea what kind of remnants to expect. Saguaro mine is even more inaccessible, the road to it is closed off by boulders either placed or fallen, we're not sure, but we'll figure out some way to reach it too. Saguaro mined a small bit of asbestos and then turned their efforts to copper. It should be a challenge. :eek:

Johnnie
11-18-2006, 06:43 AM
More Bluebird


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Everyone please go to page 1 and read Laura, story to the Bluebird Mine, You had us all in suspence. Have you ever thought of writing articals in "Desert Magazine"

Thanks for sharing
Johnnig & Sheila

Johnnie
11-18-2006, 07:28 AM
Finally, we were able to achieve access to the Bluebird Mine. My husband's son Scott was visiting us from Los Angeles this past week and when he heard us talk about the Bluebird he said that he'd like to try to reach the mine with us while he was visiting, so we loaded up early Thursday morning and headed once again for the Bluebird. We figured if we had any vehicle problems, Scott being a young 43 year old would be physically able to hike out and get help. The road hadn't improved since we last traveled it with Brian10X, still tippy, elevated and as rocky as any road we'd want to travel in our mostly stock Jeep. We arrived at the Bluebird cabin without any damage except maybe my frazzled nerves due to the tip factor of the road.
The quarter mile hike back into the Bluebird Canyon was semi strenuous, with lots of boulders to scramble over and cactus spines to avoid, but at the end of the hike we were rewarded with success. There ahead of us were the remains of the Bluebird Mine. Finally, after 6 attempts, we had reached our goal. A large ore chute, a conveyor of some sort with tracks leading from the mine to the conveyor and then to the ore chute. There were assorted remains, fallen wooden buildings, tracks all over the place, an old assayer's office now covered with corrugated metal siding.
The view from the adit was dark and ominous as we peered into the gloomy interior but we decided to go for it. The walls and ceiling were solid rock, the floor was lined by ore cart tracks and very little sound marred the silence except for our muffled footsteps and nervous laughter as we left the light of the mine entrance behind us. Only our flashlight beams lit the way as we went deeper into the mine. When we had gone a very slow, 150 feet into the mine making twists and turns along the way our flashlight beams in unison focused on a dark form on the floor ahead of us. There, as we approached, we could make out the shape of a human figure and upon closer inspection, we could see it was a skeleton, dressed in rotting clothing, wearing boots that were decaying exposing bony toes. Scott, being young and foolishly brave moved aside a bit of clothing and we saw an arrow piercing the skeleton's chest and large silver coins spilled from his pockets. Around his waist were the remains of a holster with a large gun still in place. At that point we turned and headed out of the mine at a much faster pace than the one we used entering it................

And now, the truth.....:o
We did indeed finally reach the Bluebird Mine, but alas, no skeleton, no skeletal toes, no arrow, no coins and no holstered gun. We were instead rewarded with some really neat ruins. The conveyor with tracks leading up was something we hadn't seen before and while poking around the assayer's office, we found some old tools which had fallen down behind a bench. There was a heavy, handmade chair and of course modern day beer cans and shotgun shells littering the ground from previous explorers to the area. Dang it, I wish people would be more considerate of these places, but that's the topic for another thread. We weren't disappointed at all at not finding any hidden treasure, instead we had the satisfaction of finally reaching our goal. It was worth the wait. Sometime in not too distant future, this site will be gone, scheduled for "reclamation" but at least we've photographed it, explored it and brought home a few things which would have been lost to the bulldozer's blade.


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Our apology for posting our reponce, to your great story that you and Ralph, and Scott, had to the Bluebird Mine, it came up on the 2nd page so we reposted it again so great story was in the spotlight, once again.

Wow! you are good Laura, you had all of us in suspence. You sure have some hidden talant, just itching to break loose from the bulletin board You sure had us on edge of our seats, and gluded to our mouse;)

Johnnie & Sheila

LauraA
11-18-2006, 08:18 AM
Thank you Johnnie & Sheila, I'm so glad you enjoyed reading my post, it really adds to the enjoyment of exploration. :)

bad bob
11-18-2006, 02:29 PM
Welllllllllllll, LauraA
I see I'm a day late again. And since all the accolades have already been spent, all that's left fer me is to reverberate that which has been written.:o
Congrats to da tree a youse.
bb.

LauraA
11-18-2006, 04:23 PM
bad bob, da tree of us dank youz ;)

brian10x
11-18-2006, 04:38 PM
You're right. We've made a few halfhearted attempts to reach Journigan and quickly found out that the road that is marked on the map is washed out and totally impassable. We're going to attempt to reach it from another road we found and then hike in. Journigan was a lead mine, so I don't have any idea what kind of remnants to expect. Saguaro mine is even more inaccessible, the road to it is closed off by boulders either placed or fallen, we're not sure, but we'll figure out some way to reach it too. Saguaro mined a small bit of asbestos and then turned their efforts to copper. It should be a challenge. :eek:
Although lead mines can be exciting, I'm really looking for a mine that has remnants that really turn me on.
I'm looking for the lost ice cream mine of the superstitions.

Kelly
11-18-2006, 04:53 PM
Check that lead mine real good for Galena with Quartz, Some of those have high Silver content.

LauraA
11-18-2006, 05:02 PM
Check that lead mine real good for Galena with Quartz, Some of those have high Silver content.

Thanks Kelly!
So that means when my father used to tell me to "get the lead out" he really meant it as a compliment?! :D

Kelly
11-18-2006, 05:06 PM
:D :D
Here is a link about Galena.

http://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/sulfides/galena/galena.htm

LauraA
11-18-2006, 05:12 PM
Although lead mines can be exciting, I'm really looking for a mine that has remnants that really turn me on.
I'm looking for the lost ice cream mine of the superstitions.

Brian, Ask and ye shall receive. This is Lost Sundae Mountain located deep within the Cholesterol Mountain Range. Legend has it that when someone finds the Melted Ice Cream Mine, they'll be rewarded with a long sweet, sticky life plagued by clogged arteries. :p


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LauraA
11-18-2006, 05:16 PM
:D :D
Here is a link about Galena.

http://mineral.galleries.com/minerals/sulfides/galena/galena.htm

I've never heard of Galena. Looking at the pictures it's an attractive mineral in its own right. We're looking forward to finding the Journigan even more now. Thanks!

bad bob
11-19-2006, 11:26 AM
Brian, Ask and ye shall receive. This is Lost Sundae Mountain located deep within the Cholesterol Mountain Range. Legend has it that when someone finds the Melted Ice Cream Mine, they'll be rewarded with a long sweet, sticky life plagued by clogged arteries. :p



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Would those be the Chocolate Mountains in SW AZ or the ones in CA?

LauraA
11-19-2006, 02:10 PM
Would those be the Chocolate Mountains in SW AZ or the ones in CA?

No, those are the Chunky Monkey Mountains, first discovered by Ben & Jerry, they're right next to the Pistachio Range, first explored by Howard Johnson. :rolleyes:

LauraA
12-11-2006, 07:09 PM
I don't want to beat this old thread death but we returned to the Bluebird this past weekend with the intention of looking for some Azurite in the mine. For some reason we feel drawn to return to it time after time. We did locate a vein of Azurite running through a crevasse in the ceiling, however, the stone surrounding it was way too crumbly to consider picking at. Our friend Larry did find enough Azurite on the ground so we could each take home a tiny souvenir. Next time we go, we'll go in further and take better lighting. As you can see from the photos, it's a rather spooky looking place.


Something about this shot reminded me to tell my husband to make an appointment for a colonoscopy :rolleyes::o
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Getting ready to head in.
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This is a shot of the ceiling, you can barely make out the purple and blue of the Azurite vein.
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brian10x
12-11-2006, 07:31 PM
You are not beating this thread to death. Rather, you may be beating the poor old Jeep to death.

I don't know how many trips there I could take before I dislocated a spleen or two.

Its time for us to look for the next "what if". I'm searching. I just wish some old timer would see this and email me to the effect of "I used to know of this undisturbed ghost town, it was located......"

LauraA
12-11-2006, 07:36 PM
We've got the next "what if" chosen. The Journigan Mine sounds like an interesting site, but we can't quite figure out how to get to it without a pretty strenuous hike, I'd rather beat up the ol' Jeep instead of my ol' body...parts are no longer available for my make and model. :p :D

speedy
12-12-2006, 06:45 AM
Great pics, Laura. I hope you will continue with others....I really enjoyed them...Speedy

brian10x
12-12-2006, 06:48 PM
We've got the next "what if" chosen. The Journigan Mine sounds like an interesting site, but we can't quite figure out how to get to it without a pretty strenuous hike, I'd rather beat up the ol' Jeep instead of my ol' body...parts are no longer available for my make and model. :p :D

Maybe we need to get together for a strategy meeting one weekend. My pile of stuff with your pile of stuff and come up with the next great undiscovered town.

LauraA
12-12-2006, 06:55 PM
Sounds like a great idea Brian. We've got piles and bundles of maps and I know you do too...can Jeeps be modified with wings? :confused: :D

widleewidleewaa
12-12-2006, 09:12 PM
Journigan Mine

http://mapper.acme.com/?lat=33.7977777778&long=-111.164722222&scale=12&theme=Topo

The road still shows up on sat photos too

LauraA
12-13-2006, 02:36 AM
Thanks Widleewidleewaa,
I can't get the page to load, it might be my slow dial-up connection. :(
We've been on the road and followed it as far as it's drivable. The road gets impassable and we're not sure which way to hike or how far. :confused:

Flatiron
12-13-2006, 03:27 AM
Laura.............I mapped it out on my TOPO system, and it's only about 2.25 miles from the A-Cross Rd. intersection to where it shows the mine ruins on my map. I don't know how far you were able to drive towards the mine, but just deduct that from the total trip distance to see how far the hike would be. As if you couldn't figure that out? Let us know how it turns out........;)

brian10x
12-13-2006, 04:28 AM
Thanks Widleewidleewaa,
I can't get the page to load, it might be my slow dial-up connection. :(
We've been on the road and followed it as far as it's drivable. The road gets impassable and we're not sure which way to hike or how far. :confused:
Laura,
Have you been able to get anymore information from your forest ranger buddy?

If we are doing another grand voyage of exploration, it would be a bonus if there was "stuff" to find there.

Oh, and Wild wee wee can come too.

LauraA
12-13-2006, 08:49 AM
Laura.............I mapped it out on my TOPO system, and it's only about 2.25 miles from the A-Cross Rd. intersection to where it shows the mine ruins on my map. I don't know how far you were able to drive towards the mine, but just deduct that from the total trip distance to see how far the hike would be. As if you couldn't figure that out? Let us know how it turns out........;)
Thanks Flatiron, I appreciate it. Did you happen to notice the road number on your topo map? Was it FR 266?

Laura,
Have you been able to get anymore information from your forest ranger buddy?
If we are doing another grand voyage of exploration, it would be a bonus if there was "stuff" to find there.
Oh, and Wild wee wee can come too.

Our ranger buddy hasn't been there, neither has anyone else we've spoken to. (that's part of the appeal) ;) As for remains, we don't have a clue what, if anything, remains of The Journigan. There are also Indian ruins within spitting distance of the mine showing on our map. We've located a dump site and we'll probably go digging within the next few days to see what turns up.

widleewidleewaa
12-13-2006, 05:33 PM
I have a good Sat photo of the road, but if your using dial up I dont think it will work.

(http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=33.776811%7E-111.180498&style=h&lvl=17&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&sp=Point.pmwd3h5r1dwb_Road___)

Flatiron
12-13-2006, 06:34 PM
Laura..............My topo map doesn't have any designation other than A-Cross Road. I mapped it out and it starts off of Hwy. 188 about 2.70 miles North of the Bumblebee Creek Hwy. Maintenance Station. I hope this helps a little bit......Good luck.....:o

LauraA
12-14-2006, 05:32 AM
I have a good Sat photo of the road, but if your using dial up I dont think it will work.

(http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=33.776811%7E-111.180498&style=h&lvl=17&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000&sp=Point.pmwd3h5r1dwb_Road___)
I got a good dial-up connection this morning, it happens occasionally so I was able to open the Acme Topo Map. It's as we figured, the road doesn't go all the way to the mine, so it looks like it'll be about a mile uphill hike to get to the locations of the mine and ruins. :eek: The spirit is willing, but the flesh is too often weak. If you'd send me the Satellite photo, I'd like to give it a try. Thanks!


Laura..............My topo map doesn't have any designation other than A-Cross Road. I mapped it out and it starts off of Hwy. 188 about 2.70 miles North of the Bumblebee Creek Hwy. Maintenance Station. I hope this helps a little bit......Good luck.....:o

Thanks Flatiron, that sounds about right, it's the road we've been trying. I guess we'll dust off the ol' hiking boots. (groan) :D

I REALLY appreciate the help and input, it spurs us on to keep going!

widleewidleewaa
12-15-2006, 11:55 AM
I think thats it right here, it doesnt look too bad, it looks like it kinda merges with a wash.

http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=33.778015~-111.180643&style=h&lvl=16&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000 (http://local.live.com/default.aspx?v=2&cp=33.778015%7E-111.180643&style=h&lvl=16&tilt=-90&dir=0&alt=-1000)

of course if you needed help I know someone that would go....:D

good luck

LauraA
12-15-2006, 01:07 PM
Thanks widleewidleewaa, Yep, that's the road we took. It stops at the wash which may at one time been drivable, but it's not anymore, too full of boulders and washed out places. This pretty much proves what we were afraid of, gotta get out the hiking boots. We were hoping there would be another way in, but that doesn't appear to be the case. I'd better get myself a case of Wheaties, I'm gonna need them. :o <sigh>

GaryB
12-15-2006, 02:19 PM
We were hoping there would be another way in, but that doesn't appear to be the case.


Use one of them new fangled helly-o-copter-thinga-ma-bobs :p

LauraA
12-15-2006, 04:24 PM
Use one of them new fangled helly-o-copter-thinga-ma-bobs :p

I'm passing the tin cup. Prices begin at $50,000. Only $49999.99 to go! :D


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Pnx Jay
12-15-2006, 05:01 PM
That looks dangerous. I'm glad to see they come with air bags already deployed :D. Can you save $$$$ or so on a DIY kit? I have a few old lawn mower engines and a 10-speed frame I could donate to the cause....

Jay

LauraA
12-15-2006, 08:42 PM
Jay, That's been tried before, doesn't look too successful...you wanna go first? :p


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GaryB
12-15-2006, 09:40 PM
Ahem.......http://www.flurl.com/item/Ultralight_Crash_u_6402/

LauraA
12-16-2006, 04:50 AM
:eek: Okay, this is about as high tech as I'll get.


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LauraA
02-06-2007, 04:58 PM
We just learned from the Globe Historical Society Archives that the famous balloonist, Maxie Anderson was the last owner of "our" Blue Bird Mine. Anderson was best known as the first, along with his partner Ben Abruzzo to fly non-stop across the Atlantic in a gas balloon in 1978. He was killed in a ballooning accident in Germany in June,1983 and since that time, the mine has become part of the Tonto National Forest.
Maxie Anderson invested in mining at an early age, probably to help support his passion for ballooning. Nobody seems to know what his intentions were for the Blue Bird, since it was thought that Azurite, the primary mineral at the Blue Bird had run out and there isn't a big market for Fluorite, the secondary mineral found there.
Since he purchased the mine between 1976 and 1980 after it had supposedly played out, I wonder if he knew there was something else worth mining there?

The Anderson-Abruzzi Balloon Museum is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.



Welcome to the Balloon Museum, Albuquerque NM (http://www.balloonmuseum.com/balloonmuseum.shtml)

Kelly
02-06-2007, 05:07 PM
Laura,
Ask Rod, http://www.arizonagoldprospectors.com/invision/index.php
at this site. He does alot of prospecting there in that area and knows alot about the mines there. Is is a real good guy and has helped me in the past. Tell him I sent sent you;)

LauraA
02-06-2007, 05:27 PM
Thanks Kelly, I just sent him an email. :)

mattmusto
03-12-2010, 05:54 PM
I know that this is an old thread, but I have been trying to find the bluebird mine in the copper creek mining district. Is this the same mine, right outside of Mammoth, AZ? If it is can you help me with directions? My email is mattmusto@gmail.com.

Thanks!

LauraA
03-13-2010, 03:29 AM
Welcome to the forum.
The Bluebird Mine in this thread is in the Greenback Valley District, Gila County but perhaps these links will help you with directions to your Bluebird.
Hope this helps.

Sibley Mansion and Bluebird Mine Trail | Mammoth Arizona Off-Road Trails | Trails.com (http://www.trails.com/tcatalog_trail.aspx?trailid=BGS114-154)

Expeditions West: Sibley Mansion and Bluebird Mine, Copper Creek Arizona (http://www.expeditionswest.com/adventures/2004/sibley_mansion/index.html)

mattmusto
05-15-2012, 07:18 AM
Thanks Laura! I did finally find the bluebird mine outside of Mammoth. There wasn't much left of it sadly. I am trying to plan another (different) mine trip though and was wondering if you have GPS coordinates to the Bluebird Mine in the Greenback Valley District. Any directions would help greatly because i have no idea where it is and I live in Tucson. Thanks so much for all your help.