February 23, 2021
Written by Blake Douglas.
Call Captain Gwenda Yates put out a request for team members on the evening of February 23rd. Apparently, RSO was continuing to receive reports from concerned citizens regarding the lights at the abandoned mining site on Cahuilla Mountain that we had investigated a few days earlier. Our objective was to locate and remove whatever the light source was, while planning for the possibility of a rescue.
We met up with Deputy Funkhauser at an unnamed trailhead inside a gated community bordering on National Forest land. Based on satellite imagery it appeared that the road or trail that led to the mine was still in use, but this route did not appear on any maps of established routes. We departed with a deputy accompanying us as a precaution due to previous security concerns in the area.
The trail was well-maintained and showed abundant signs of recent use. About halfway to the mine we spotted the blue lights that were visible from Star 9, but also a brighter, white light that repeatedly turned on and off, but did not move. This turned out to be a solar-powered LED with a motion sensor, which was probably being set off by wildlife, or vegetation moving in the wind. Likewise, the Christmas lights were attached to a small solar panel.
The remains of the mine consisted of a large tailing pile with various archaeological leftovers, but nothing resembling a hole in the earth where someone might have fallen. The lights appeared to have been installed on a cliffside intentionally, but perhaps without the forethought as to how they could be interpreted. After removing them, and taking a photo, we hiked out without incident.
RMRU Members Involved: Cameron Dickinson and Blake Douglas.