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Northern Lights


Northern Lights bead necklace by Danny Lopacki. Photo Arland Ben.



Red Mountain is a distinctive feature at the northern end of Carico Lake Valley. It is home to two well known turquoise mines, the namesake Red Mountain and Northern Lights located in the Carico Lake Mining District. Where Red Mountain is best known for a distinctive blue dark web, Northern Lights produces a beautiful range of colors from blue to green but is best known for the vivid green.


The claim was first located as Northern Lights by J.M. Edgar (Cutler) and partners on January 17 1971. In the description it says “on ground formerly held by J.D. Edgar (Dick). The Edgars were active in this area at this time. Ben Edgar, Dick’s twin brother located Red Mountain on February 3, 1971 with his son Bucky and Tom Morgan and in 1965 J.W. Edgar and Dick Edgar had worked what they called the X15 prospect just above Northern Lights and below Red Mountain so named because they believed they were being spied upon by an X15 spy plane.


The story gets interesting. Cutler got the Red Mountain claim from Ben in 1972 and sold it to Menless Winfield who in 1973 sold to Austin Turner. Down the mountain at Northern Lights we find on October 7 1971 a Quitclaim from Cutler to Menless Winfield. By 1972 Clyde Wright has filed a Proof of Labor on Northern Lights which he holds until 1977 when L.W. Hardy takes over ownership of Northern Lights #1-5. Hardy had an arrangement with Clyde Wright and his son John to file the assessment paperwork. Tom Morgan got a lease from the Hardy's and worked the claim. John Wright missed filing the assessment work and the claim lapsed and then Wright filed in his own name and cancelled the lease with Morgan.


In the turquoise mining world these situations, however unpleasant, are not uncommon. When Tom Morgan and Bucky Edgar were working Red Mountain in the early 1970's they decided to stake some claims around the three Red Mountain claims. This is often done in order to provide a buffer to discourage others from over staking your claim in an attempt to jump the claim. There is a ninety days period after a claim is located on the ground before the filing has to be made in the county and the BLM. To over stake boundary markers and then beat someone, who first staked the claim, to the county office before the 90 day period is the true meaning of "Claim Jumping". Tom recounts how he and Bucky had spent a week staking three claims around the Red Mountain claims. "You know that is hard work climbing around that mountain to put up those stakes." Evidently Cutler Edgar came out to Red Mountain, saw the stakes and promptly drove to Austin, then the Lander County seat, and filed the claims in his name as the Blue Boy 1-3.


Delbert E. Dyer senior was married to Dixie Rae Wright, sister of Clyde Wright, In 1986 their sons Delbert Jr., Mason and Rodney filed on the claim in their names, presumably after it had lapsed. They would work the claim for the next ten years. Rodney Dyer would spend summers with his family living in a trailer and working the dumps. They worked it hard because the 1988 POL lists 80 days of 8 hour work days.


Northern Lights would be held by the Mason family from Crescent Valley during some part of the 1990's and early 2000's and later, for a brief time, by Bob Brucia. Today the claim is held by Philip Chambless and worked in association with Richard and Helen Shull. It remains a very popular turquoise primarily for its brilliant green with delicate hints of blue.


Mike Ryan II

Santa Fe, August 2021

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