Friday, April 18, 2008

The Arrastra (The Alabama Hills Series)

(GPS: N36 36.090 W118 06.855)

This is another one I have wanted to do for a long time. This is one of the man made artifacts that has been left behind in the Alabama Hills. The movie The Yellow Sky has the Arrastra in it. When the men are working in the mind not too far from this location they hear some Apache Indians coming and run over here to see them below.

This is one of those things that I am not sure there is some Wikipedia type of articles to explain it. I did not look to hard. I did a simple search and found THIS. Basically, it was used to grind up the quartz to remove the gold found. Something like a donkey could be used to walk around in a circle to get the "machine" going. It seems to me the movie The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly had one at the beginning with the intro to Lee Van Cleef. There was a boy riding the mule around. Here is the way the one in the Alabama Hills looks today: I mention this in the video, but the story I was told was that this Arrastra was designed for the movie The Yellow Sky. When the movie was finished the guy hired to take it down only cut off the top part of it so it could not be seen from the nearby roads. He took his money and ran before this was discovered. The problem is that I have seen this used in other movies. The movie Kim has it briefly and you have to look or you will miss it. That was filmed a few years after The Yellow Sky. No problem there, but one day I was watching an old Rex Allen western, West of Nevada, which for a few seconds had this: At first I thought this must have been another area, but then I matched up the big rock behind them that looks like it has a bunch of lines going through it with my videos. Sure enough, it is the same location. It is possible that it was a movie set piece for this movie or another movie done here before it. My gut feeling is that this was a real arrastra used for some mining at some point. I could be way off though. I do not know enough about mining in this area. If someone knows the real story on this please let me know. Either way, it is pretty cool that it is still out there and has been used in movies. Although I have a bunch of other Alabama Hills videos I am going to post, I am going to take a break from this since I have posted a lot lately. For a change of pace, over the next week or two I am going to cover a hike I went on a few months back and some movie stuff related to it.

YS: The Arrastra (Youtube Version)

YS: The Arrastra (Vimeo Version)