Marvel Canyon was a place I had been wanting to explore for the past three years, ever since my first trip to Panamint City.  Especially after hiking up the Wyoming Mine Road and rounding the mountain at the top, which gives a grand view of Marvel Canyon.  One of the obstacles which had stopped me from making it into Marvel Canyon was that trail itself-- the Wyoming Mine Road.  When you follow that trail past Upper Wyoming Mine and continue hiking, it takes you around the mountain and you reach a frightening obstacle-- a vertical cave which is apparently a 3rd entrance to Wyoming Mine.  Basically, it's a huge underground cave which splits the trail in two and there is no easy way around it.  There is a small footpath leading around the top of the cave, but if you slip and fall, basically you are in a lot of trouble.  So on that trip when I first found the vertical cave, I turned back and hiked back down Wyoming Mine Road.

Fast forward to June of 2009 and my friend Gary and I set out to fully explore Marvel Canyon and the Hemlock Mine.  To reach these destinations, we hiked back down Surprise Canyon about one mile west from Panamint City.  Once we got to Marvel Canyon, we turned south and followed the old Hemlock Mine Road.  Along the way, we encountered beautiful trees in a very thick forest, old mining remnants on the ground and in the air, and we passed several other old mines we didn't previously know about.  To reach the Hemlock Mine, the trail eventually turns away from Marvel Canyon and you have to hike up some very steep terrain and tailings.  But it was all worth it, because we were able to fully explore the Hemlock Mine tunnel and trench area.  Some of the things we discovered we have decided to leave off this report, so there is more to see in the area if you take the opportunity to visit.  After checking out both the lower and upper area of the Hemlock Mine, Gary and I followed the alternate route back to Panamint City.  This was the very trail which had stopped me a couple of years earlier because of the vertical cave which disrupts the trail.  I must say that the Wyoming Mine to Hemlock Mine connector trail is in very good condition all the way, with the exception of the vertical cave, and is probably a much faster way to reach Hemlock Mine from Panamint City.  When we arrived at the vertical cave, we bypassed it across the bottom of it, because as I said earlier, one slip trying to bypass it from the top and you're in big trouble.  Stay as far away from the vertical cave as possible, if you ever end up on this connector trail.
Please do not enter the mining tunnels of the Hemlock Mine.  Potential dangers inside abandoned mines include unseen vertical mine openings, deadly gases, oxygen deficiency, cave-ins, unsafe structures, unstable explosives, and other assorted risks.  As the NPS recommends-- Stay Out and Stay Alive!
The Hemlock Road intersects with Surprise Canyon about 1 mile west of Panamint City:
Gary starting up the Hemlock Mine Road in Marvel Canyon:
Early on in the hike we came to this cable which was still attached to the ground:
The cable stretched far across Marvel Canyon:
And it continued all the way up a nearby mountainside where it was attached near the top:
After checking out the cable and some other nearby relics, we continued hiking up Marvel Canyon:
As you can see in this picture, Marvel Canyon is heavily forested.  It would be a very beautiful place to spend a day hiking even if Hemlock Mine wasn't here:
Looking back down Marvel Canyon towards Surprise Canyon as we really started gaining some elevation:
We passed by some relics and tailings from the Ida Mine, which we didn't have time to explore:
Looking down into the wash of Marvel Canyon, there was a very large container sitting there:
Soon we were gaining so much elevation that we could clearly see into Panamint Valley:
This is the point where the road turned away from the main canyon and got extremely steep:
The light colored part on the left in this picture is the tailing of Hemlock Mine:
Once we got to the bottom of the tailing, we found this old cable and pulley system lying on the ground:
We decided to make our way up to the left of the tailing, but it was quite steep and difficult the whole time:
Steve making his way up the steep terrain:
There was this old cable lying on the ground which some might find useful as a helper:
Gary standing on the connector road which bridges the Hemlock Mine and the Wyoming Mine.  Halfway up the left side of the tailing, we ran into this:
The connector road is visible in this photo, as it switchbacks its way up to the Hemlock Mine tunnel:
Looking down the tailing we had just finished climbing up:
More relics and equipment near the entrance to the mine:
Gary looking inside the Hemlock Mine:
Steve and Gary outside of the Hemlock Mine:
View into the Hemlock Mine, which is located at about 7,840 feet:
After fully exploring the area, we looked up at the tailing leading to the upper section:
We eventually worked our way up with considerable effort and came to the natural trench area of Hemlock Mine:
Walking along the trench area right here was where we saw our first-ever scorpion in the park:
The next two photos give you more views of the trench area and a wooden brace in between the two walls:
From the trench area, we dropped down some very steep terrain to the connector trail, which would eventually lead to the Wyoming Mine.  In this picture, we are looking up at the head of Marvel Canyon:
Check out the size of this tree in Marvel Canyon.  This has to be one of the largest trees in the park:
While still in Marvel Canyon, we came across the ruins of an old miner's house.  The next three pictures show you some of the things we found:
And a short distance later, we came across the remains of an old wagon parked on the connector trail:
The next three pictures show some more angles of the wagon:
As the connector trail crossed the Marvel Canyon wash and began climbing the mountain on the other side, we looked back at the lower Hemlock Mine tailing and trail:
Abruptly the trail ended at this stunning hole in the earth.  It is literally right in the middle of the trail and would completely disrupt any hike:
After considering all the risks, we decided to bypass the vertical cave by dropping down below it.  This is a view looking in as we crossed below it:
And now we are on the other side of the vertical cave, looking back across the trail to the other side.  What an intimidating and frightening discovery this was.  As I said earlier, this is supposed to be a 3rd entrance to the Wyoming Mine:
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