The Lindner Mine

The Lindner Mine Trail is not really the name of this trail. I just call it that because when you get to the top some brothers from Bishop named Milton, Scott and Barry Lindner had a small mining and mill operation up until 2000. Probably three people go up the trail each year: me, myself and Ike Lamarck. There’s just no place that Ike hasn’t been.

It begins at Em’s Pond about 17 miles west of Bishop, California on the South Lake Road. Em’s Pond is on the left before the Tyee Trail and across from the meadow with the rock-lined parking area. The Lindner Mine Trail is another Art Schober production, and I am sure he had his own name for it. He also had a mine next to the Merrill Mine. Art was the man who packed mules all over the Bishop Creek Canyon and built most of the trails. He rode his horse all over the country and knew all the best ways to get to a place. In fact, if Art couldn’t get there, it couldn’t be done on a horse. A lot of his old trails are out of use today. They are washed out with downed trees and rock slides erasing sections on the steeper slopes. Art’s trails are just too radical for the modern-day hiker; it is like going cross country versus the freeway.

The trail is hard to locate when you leave Em’s Pond, and there are some small arrows carved on aspen trees along the way. Where the aspens end and hit a granite ridge is the place to go up. You definitely have to work your way up this trail, because there is a lot of granite, shale and slate. It’s in surprisingly good shape farther up below some switchbacks that Art made. The views from here of South Lake Basin and the Tyee Basin are superb.

At one point along the trail I saw some bear scat with little pieces of tin foil and plastic wrappers embedded in it. The bear must have come up from one of the campgrounds down below. That reminds me of some of the trail camps I have seen that have been hit by bears. Sometimes the trail crew would get snowed out by a freak storm and have to leave all the food and gear in the backcountry. One huge camp was left all winter one year, and you talk about a mess. Good Lord!

Every single thing, from canned food to tents, tarps and equipment, was destroyed. Huge cans of beans, chili, and juice-you name it-were all bitten into, ripped apart and had the contents sucked out. It took us days to clean up all of that stuff and pack it out. Farther up the trail I came across a ski glove that someone dropped. Every now and then I find a knit hat, glove or ski pole handle to remind me that some people love to ski these nice mountain slopes in winter. Sometimes articles of food and clothing drop out of their pockets or packs. Bears usually get the food and then poop on the clothing to let the humans know how they really feel about them.

The trail finally entered a Limber Pine forest and started to get real pleasant. A lot of the Limber Pines at this elevation of 10,000 feet are large and very old. They have that beautiful golden grain and are mighty strong hanging out on the rocky sides of the mountains against the fiercest of winds and snow. When I reached the top of the trail where it widened out into a beautiful little meadow with a spring, there was a road. Here, I had hiked all the way up that rough old trail only to find that people can drive in from Coyote Flat. That’s okay because someday one of those people will be me. I needed the exercise anyway.

That reminds me about what my biology teacher, Mr. Mapes, taught us about ecosystems at South Lake Tahoe High School in 1965. That was a new word and concept that we didn’t know about at the time. It was just a year before that the Wilderness Act was passed, and we weren’t really sure what a wilderness was, either. We knew that John the Baptist had “cried out in the wilderness,” but we just referred to it as “the woods.”

Mr. Mapes was one of those guys out of Field and Stream magazine with a red plaid Pendleton shirt, sitting in an easy chair smoking a pipe with a primo German Shorthair laying faithfully at his feet. He was into environmental studies long before anybody knew what it was and began to teach us about “ecosystems.” He was also a deer hunter and stressed the importance of protecting deer habitat not just for the deer, but for all of us. The main example that he liked to use to illustrate an ecosystem was how a pond turns into a meadow and then matures into a forest. He explained how over a long period of time grasses will overtake a pond and form a meadow. Later, trees will invade the meadow and turn it into a forest. Anything that upsets this balance will cause Nature to unravel. It is a wonderful little lesson about the evolution of nature that I cherish to this day.

The other thing I learned about meadows was from John of the mountains, when he wrote about the damage caused by sheep grazing in the Sierra. Yes, the overgrazing of the meadows was severe in all parts of the Sierra, but the destruction done by the hooves and weight of the animals in the wet season was far more damaging. They literally punched holes in the meadows restricting drainage. The clumps of grass that were left stick up above the meadow and catch seeds blown by the wind. In turn, small trees grow on top of the clumps and speed up the process of encroachment.  Unfortunately, we will not see a recovery in our lifetime or that of our grandchildren.

Well, by golly, once I get jawin’, there is no stopping me, so until I write again, partners, happy trails to you.


One Response to “The Lindner Mine”

  1. Barry Lindnder Says:

    Clarification for my Father, Milton Lindner. The Mine was originally established by the Grandfather’s Brother, Charles Lindner. After he passed my Father (Milton) and my brother Scott maintained the mines for several years but stopped in the 90s. Ed Lindner is my grandfather. The trail head is south of Sabrina Lake, I have not heard of Em lake. The trail you spoke about was blazed by Charlie Lindner who lived in west of Bishop and mined the area. If you want more Information my Father Milton can provide.
    thanks, Barry Lindner

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