The Rex Montis Mine Project
We live in a time of environmental concerns
for the future of our planet. Who would of thought 50 or more
years ago that all the effort to bring materials for a mine high
up on the side of Kearsarge Peak would be matched with the help
of mules to bring it out? That's what we did in the end of August
this summer. The U.S. Forest Service contracted out the services
of a hazardous waste disposal company who sub contracted the
services of my brother Mike Morgan of Bishop Pack Outfitters
to use pack mules to pack out about 350 gallons of diesel fuel
from the Rex Montis Mine site high above Independence, California.
It was a feat of logistics but we packed all
the diesel fuel along with other items that are detrimental to
the environment such as very large and heavy battery's. The six
miles of road to the mine site that is very steep and has been
unmaintained since the mid 70s was cleared of all obstructions
by a Forest Service trail crew who worked a full tour of ten
days. A 300 ft hose to a water trough for the thirsty mules was
set up about half way on the three hour ride to get there. A
ground crew of five who worked for the waste disposal company
who spent one night during the clean up was used. Four packers,
their riding mules and twenty three pack mules were all employed.
Special containers were used to contain the wasted fuel to be
carried mule back to a waiting truck that disposed of the material
at various disposal sites in Southern California.
It was quite the undertaking working about
18 hours a day for the two days to complete the job. We planned
for four. Our staging area was at Dennis Winchester's ranch in
Independence were we trucked our stock up the Onion Valley Road
just above Seven Pines Campground. I found it kind of ironic
that we were packing something out that took more effort then
it took to pack it in. Times have changed for us packers and
there will be more jobs like this in the future.