The weather for the day was perfect as everyone began rolling into the parking lot at the Mercur turnoff. Over the next 30 minutes more and more rigs showed up until the group had grown to 25. We headed up towards Mercur for a few miles til we hit the pullout for the cemetery. A quick hike later and we were taking in the morning sun, great views, and of course wandering among the grave sites.
After leaving Mercur, we had a short stint on the highway before turning up towards Ophir. Taking our time slowly driving through the town, we were able to take in the sites of all the old equipment, homes, and mine remnants before taking the turnoff for Lion Hill Loop. The first section was a tad rough, but the group made it through without incident. Once we reached the top we were rewarded with an excellent view of the valley below.
Continuing on our way we passed by many roads left over from the old mining days on our way down to the abandoned mine. Unfortunately the mine entrance has collapsed in recent years, but we still had a nice break nearby.
A little after leaving the mine, a tire on the Cherokee Trailhawk got slit open on the rocks. After determining all the necessary tools and equipment for the repair was on hand, the rest of the group continued on while a few members stayed to help swap on the spare.
Once down from Lion Hill Loop, those who were interested stopped at the preserved town site of Ophir to check out the old buildings. Shortly after we started to poke around, the caretaker from across the road came over and gave us the key to all the buildings so we could go in and check them all out. It was an awesome experience that ive never had a chance to do before.
The group began to whittle down as those who were done exploring started to head home. Only 4 vehicles remained by the time the last one pulled out of Ophir, and 3 continued on up and over the mountain into Butterfield canyon. We made a quick stop at the overlook into Kennecott Copper mine which always makes for an excellent view, then headed down the canyon and home for the day.
Thank you everyone who came out on the run. It was a great day with good friends!