20.66 Lode Claim in Minden, NV.
    Gold, silver, copper past producer in past mining district!

    Surprise Mine Specs:

    Size of Claim: 20.66 Acres (600'x1500')
    Mining Commodity: Gold, silver, copper
    Past Producer: Yes.
    State/County: Nevada, just outside of Minden.  Gardnerville mining district.
    Closest Cities: Minden (5 Miles), Carson City (15 Miles), Gardnerville (6 Miles), Historic Virginia City, Home of the Comstock Lode (20 Miles)
    Type: Unpatented Lode Mining Claim
    Accessibility: Multiple dirt roads lead to claim. Dirt road 4-wheel Drive recommended. 
    Camping: Yes. This is on BLM land, and a wonderful level camp site exists just outside of the main portal.  Set camp and mine/process ore on site for up to 10 days at a time without a permit.
    Food/Amenities:  5-6 miles away, town of Minden, NV.  Gas, food, lodging, hardware stores.  Carson City just 15 miles away with full retail chains, restaurants, etc.  Reno just 40 miles from the portal.
    Cell Phone Reception: Yes. 4G LTE all networks.
    Primary Claim Features: Several hundred feet of tunnelings, multiple veins, unique malchite ore type.
    Mining Relics: Yes. Can dumps, timbers, iron scrap, old mill site, concrete mill site, tailings piles, possible leach pad. 
    Tailings Pile: Yes.  Outside the portal there are several piles of tailings.  Various ore types.  It looks to be about 500 tons total, creating a unique shelf and flat area in front of the portal for setting up a mill and campsite.
    Unmined Area: Substantial known quantities in the vein.
    Rock & Deposit Type: Sedimentary Rock > Carbonate > Dolomite.
    Comments about Workings: 2 adits, one on east, one on west side of the ridge.  Small cuts on top of the ridge.  Western adit trends east, but turns north about 20 feet inside portal.  It is several hundred feet in length.  Eastern adit trends west but is caved in at the portal.

    Surprise Mine Photos

    The Surprise Mine is a hidden gem in beautiful mountains overlooking Minden, NV.  A past producer claiming several hundred feet of tunneling, headings and tailings piles outside of the mine, 4W-Drive access and perfect level camping grounds outside the mine.  Values still remain in the mine, and hundreds of tons of gold and tailings just outside the main portal 

    The Surprise Mine features a unique gold ore: Malachite.  The pictures below show a light blue vein 1/2" to 1/8" thick running along the entire drift.  Silver ore is found in large quartz boulders intruding in from the dolomite host. The surprise mine might be a perfect investment, or a great small scale project for new lode miners in the area!

    I know alot of people don't associate Nevada with gold, California normally get's that wrap.  But the fact is remember, Nevada is the #1 gold production state in the nation.

    Surprise Mine Lode Mining Claim Top Features

    What makes this claim perfect for camping, finding gold, prospecting and recreating:

    • Its one of only a handful of active claims available for sale in the mining district.
    • The Surprise Mine is a proven past producer of Gold, Silver and Copper surrounded by other mines with a collective production in the thousands of ounces of gold.
    • It's 3 miles away from the active Veta Grande GOLD multi-million dollar a year producer.
    • It's got an amazing view, with plenty of privacy - the closest paved roads or houses being a few miles away.
    • It's only 2 miles away from the famous multi-milliondollar producer the Monarch Mine and Millsite.
    • This area is also famously rich in Tungsten, with a half dozen tungsten mines a stones throw away.
    • A level campsite with shelter exists directly in front of the portal with the rock walls already built.
    • Unique malachite ore type not found in other mines area the area.  Also, the common gold bearing limonite is present.  

    Directions to the Surprise Mine, Southeast of Minden, NV:

    Starting in Reno, or Carson City - simply travel southbound on 395 till you start exiting the city of Minden, just south of Garderville and Carson City.  Make a left on Mono Way, and drive straight down that road till you can make a right.  The street signs/names get a little shaky in these parts.  But if you keep driving east out of this small neighboorhood you'll eventually hit a dirt road called Cedar Flats Rd.  This dirt road you'll stay on for a few miles till you it the Surprise Mine.


    The best way of course is to put the coordinates into your phone and follow the directions.  Here are some pictures here to help you get to the mine as well:


    It's a Pretty Mellow 4x4 Drive Out to the Claim, Expect to Hit Rough
    Patches the Closer to the Mine You Get

    It's beautiful up there this time of year.  As you travel along Cedar Flats Rd., you'll pass the Preachers Mine, and a few other notable past producers.  The Preachers Mine can be seen by two large concrete pads they used for leaching back in the day.  As you follow Cedar Flats Rd., you'll also see some of the fire damage the area suffered a few years ago as you drive to the mine.

    Road leading up to the Surprise Mine.

    The portal to the Surprise Mine.   The drift is over 200' long into the hill and the outside of the
    portal shows the evidence of all the host rock and ore removed when this mine was last operated back in the 1900-1920s.

    Limonite, dolomite, and quartz boulders make up a rock wall build from ore taken out of the portal.

    A look at the sheer zone this portal was driven into.

    Original relics from the 1900-1920's miners that drove this drift.  Here, cans and old steel tins
    from the period.

    More relics from the period are spread about in random places around the 20.66 acre lode claim. 
    Evidence of an old cabin are just up the hill.

    One of the hillsides just above the portal on the Surprise Mine claim.

    On the outside of the mine, we can see some mineralized quartz that's had years to
    oxidize and leech.

    This bright yellow oxide is almost certainly lead or tungsten oxide, both pathfinders for gold
    in this mining district! 

    Stepping into the portal we can see a good arching drift, stable, in a hard rock makes it safe
    to pass through.  We can see lots of dolomite, and calcite in between the host rock, so that's a 
    great indication of secondary replacement cycles of minerals at some point in this deposits formation.

    Going deeper into the mine, I hear a strange sound come from the back of the mine.  For a moment,
    I stopped being a prospecting and miner, and got a little woo-woo...

    NOTICE:  The following few photos are an entertaining side note for those with an eye for the ...shall we say paranormal.

    Let me just tell, I almost left this next part out.  Perhaps you'd think I was a little nuts if I told you what happened, but then I had to laugh at it all.   And I thought, you know what - it's part of the story that goes along with the mine, so here's what happened when I got to the end of the tunnel...

    Keep in mind your already miles from civilization, venturing into an unknown dark shaft.  The proverbial place to find monsters and dragons.  So you're on high alert, but always keeping your cool.  

    I'm walking into the mine, headlamp and helmet, checking out some of the vein material about midway into the mine and I hear a distinct sound come form down the tunnel.  I stop. Think what the f*ck - have visions of dead miners protecting their gold, cougars, snakes, bats, large yet-to-be-discovered species of cave dwelling jumping spiders...

    And then I figured it out. The sound was a drip of water.  In fact, there is a bit of moisture all throughout the rear half of the 200' long tunnel.  Drip of water or not, it still left me feeling a little on edge.  So of course I continue down the mine, inspecting it, and so on. And I finally get to the end of the tunnel, and turn around to snap a few pictures of the drift on the way out.

    I've taken lots of pictures inside of a mine, but the next few pictures I took had what looked like "orbs" in them.  In the viewfinder they would light up the screen, dozens.  But in the pictures themselves they didn't the "orbs" barely turned out - as you can see above.

    That's wierd. I took about a dozen pictures of these geometrically perfect orbs flying around, not figuring out why they weren't showing up very well in the pictures, but I had never seen so many orbs in a mine in my life.  

    That's wierd, I had never seen so orbs on a photo I had taken in a mine.  And why weren't they on any of the other photos I had taken prior to this?  Very curious.  So I kept taking pictures, and kept seeing more and more orbs.  And then I thought I saw something else, something like a grey shroud...

    Just moments prior I was thinking of ghosts from a strange sound I had heard, now my screen was getting lit up with a vague grey figure and orbs. The flash would catch them, I could see them all for a moment on the viewfinder of the phone, and then this is how the pictures would actually turn out.

    Despite all the orbs I was seeing, I could swear to God I also saw this grey shrouded object in middle of them, facing me in the mine.  And getting closer...  to ease my mind I took another picture:

    Sure enough, it was in that one too and was closer than the picture I took previous!  Ok, wait stop.  Don't let yourself get spooked.  Your a grown man, don't be silly.  What are you looking at.  Think.

    My reason took over, and I resolved what I was seeing to moisture on dust particles...  the drop of water, kicking up dust from walking on the floor - that had to be it.  I had a little laugh.  Haha!  
    For a few moments there I let myself get a little spooked.  

    Yet I could swear despite all the orbs I saw, there was a grey haze getting closer to me, as I took more pictures.  "Moisture on dust particles or not, how do you explain the shroud," I thought to myself. 

    Determined now to shake off my spooked vibe, I took one more photo to settle the case....

    Whelp! That settles that! I think I'll be making my way out of mine now.  Haha~

    Is that a friggin' ghost - or is that a moist dust particle in my lens?  I'm not really a paranormal guy but you can say I have a good sense and even in retrospect it's hard to say.  To be honest I think it may have been a combination of moist dust particles making the orbs, and a dense spiritual atmosphere due to some of the unique mineralization.  You know the stories of ancient caves, monks, dragons, gold and all that stuff so you never know...

    Either way, I wasn't attacked and I made off into the sunset with gold and silver ore!All right that's it.  That's what happened in the back of the Surprise Mine. 

    Back to the more formal portion of this write up.  =D

    I didn't actually run screaming out of the mine, instead I continued sampling and taking photos, like the one above of heavy iron oxides on a quartz intrusion.  There's so much iron on this piece of quartz you can hardly make out the milky white.

    Another great shot of all the pathfinders for gold we look for in this district, iron, lead and tungsten oxides cover the walls in the Surprise Mine.

    Slight sheen isn't caused by moisture, but something in the ore.  There are two different types of this sheen I see along the vein, a bright golden colored sheen (top right) and the more bright white (center/left).  I better geologist might be able to identify it more easily.  My guess is this hydrothermal deposit may have been venting mineral rich steam for some time, leaving a coating sulfides with whatever it came in contact with.

    Slightly out of focus, but notice the dark mineralization in the bottom left, in contrast to the gold bearing quartz on the right.

    The gold, silver and copper in this vein seem to deposited in veins of various sizes.  The silver vein (below) is thick, hard and obtrusive, favoring the right side of the drift.  On the right side of this photo you can see a gray zone, a close up of that ore below:


    Compare this dark, slate ore with the high-grade gold/silver ore they were pulling out of the Comstock
    Lode in Virginia City.

    This isn't the host rock, this is quartz bearing intrusion.  Sampling that dark ore with the quartz in it might reveal some high grade silver.

    Great looking dispertion of mineral gold/silver bearing quartz all along the complex 1/16" to 1/8" cracks and veins all throughout this deposit.

    Quartz on limonite, beautiful.

    That canary yellow looks to me like lead or tungesten oxides.  There are numerous tunsten mines nearby.  Unfortunately the flash bleached it out, but also some reddish/purplish oxides in the this portion of the vein. 

    Malachite vein surrounded by quartz, and iron oxides.  Deep brown material below is also apart
    of the vien material, followed by a dense conglomerate of 1-4" round stones making a false bedrock for the vein above.

    Almost out of the mine, portal is clear, well ventilated throughout.

    Hundreds of tons of tailings make a nice flat area ideal for camping or milling on site outside of the main portal.  

    Beautiful green grass and high blue sky vantage point views of valley below.

    A piece of ore from the Surprise Mine.  This was taken from the center of the drift, right side, along the vein on the date of location.  Was allowed to oxidize for approx. a month before taking this photo.
    You can see the iron staining, quartz lattice on top and the malachite vein (light blue) running through the center of the sample.

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