A Mysterious Lake By a Miner's Grave: Photo Journey, Big Bear, California

En route to Big Bear's historic Holcombe Valley, we passed by Castle Rock Trail.
En route to Big Bear's historic Holcombe Valley, we passed by Castle Rock Trail. | Source
A Ghost from the Gold Rush days, this structure was part of the "lucky Baldwin" Mine; Big Bear area, California (Doble)
A Ghost from the Gold Rush days, this structure was part of the "lucky Baldwin" Mine; Big Bear area, California (Doble) | Source
a Mining community in Doble had this poignant little pioneer graveyard.
a Mining community in Doble had this poignant little pioneer graveyard. | Source
More evidence of Mining activities from the 1850's: Doble, California.
More evidence of Mining activities from the 1850s: Doble, California. | Source
"Unnamed lake" by a miner's grave. Holcombe Valley, cCa.
"Unnamed lake" by a miner's grave. Holcombe Valley, cCa. | Source
An enchanced photo showing the splendid colors of this "unnamed" lake by Wilbur's grave, Holcombe Valley, Ca.
An enchanced photo showing the splendid colors of this "unnamed" lake by Wilbur's grave, Holcombe Valley, Ca. | Source
a rusted pioneer's pump where miner's drew water from underground springs; Holcombe Valley, California.
a rusted pioneer's pump where miner's drew water from underground springs; Holcombe Valley, California. | Source
Listed as "dry" and unnamed;  more shots of this mysterious lake by a grave.(Holcombe Valley}
Listed as "dry" and unnamed; more shots of this mysterious lake by a grave.(Holcombe Valley} | Source
Lovely Holcombe Valley on a Spring afternoon.
Lovely Holcombe Valley on a Spring afternoon. | Source
The Big Bear Discovery Center is a gold mine of information in itself, with a gift shop to delight the kids as well as adults.
The Big Bear Discovery Center is a gold mine of information in itself, with a gift shop to delight the kids as well as adults. | Source
At LAST..the miner's grave itself, "wilbur.." strewn with rocks and pine cones, and honored with a festive flag.  It is in full view of the "unnamed lake."
At LAST..the miner's grave itself, "wilbur.." strewn with rocks and pine cones, and honored with a festive flag. It is in full view of the "unnamed lake." | Source

By Gloria Siess, {"Garnetbird"}

I hope you enjoy these photos; all but one were taken by yours truly. Big Bear, California has a rich history in the Mining Tradition: tales, fables, murders and mayhem typical of this period in time. The Holcombe Valley has a series of wonderful mining cabins you can visit on their guided trail, complete with gems and stories. The lake I fell in love with is listed simply as "unnamed" on most maps, or worse still, "dry." As you can see from these photos, the lake is gorgeous and unspoiled, with mysterious depths.

The grave nearby is shrouded in local rocks and is said to contain the remains of a miner named "Wilbur" who asked to be buried by his beloved claim. When visiting the Big Bear, California area be sure to have lunch at the Discovery Center, as they have maps and tours to introduce you to this diverse and glorious place. (Ask for the Holcombe Valley flyer, which details every stop along the way with mini history lessons).

You can easily access Big Bear, California while in the Southern California area. Take Highway 18 or 330 from either San Bernardino or Highland. Although winding, the road is very well maintained. There are rest areas along the way where you can take wonderful panoramic shots. Big Bear City has special cafes and regular chains like Denny's, not to mention cabins and motel rooms to suit your budget. Big Bear Lake boasts cruises as well as guided canoe trips. For hikers as well as History Buffs, this gem of Southern California is an exciting place to visit.

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Comments 18 comments

moonlake profile image

moonlake 5 years ago from America

I use to live under Big Bear when I was a kid. When the mountain burned the ash fell on us.

Interesting hub I never knew about this place sorry I missed it.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

It just looks like a brilliant place to walk around. It is a pity someone doesn't know more about "Wilbur". His story is probably worth telling.


diogenes 5 years ago

I know this area somewhat as weekended in Lake Arrowhead a couple of times. How I miss huge, lovely California!

Bob


gogogo 5 years ago

I love your photos, I live in Orange County, been to Big Bear many times, but did not know about this. Thanks for writing the article.


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

THANK you--I agree about Wilbur. he must have come out with the Holcombe Mining expeditions, which were spurred on by a Grizzly Bear hunt in the area. Thank all of you for your comments; if you need more precise travel info. I would be delighted to email you a map. We visit about once a week or twice a month; Holcombe Valley brings me peace and joy, even in the most stressful of times!


Joni Lynelle profile image

Joni Lynelle 5 years ago from Kansas, USA

Hi Garnet,

My teen years were spent in Yucaipa, CA, and my brother still lives there. We would go to Big Bear often taking the route of (I think!) highway 38. I don't have a map right here, but it is the highway that runs up out of Redlands and through Mentone.

Big Bear will always be one of my favorite places on earth, as well as Miners lake and all the other surrounding wonderful Mountain attractions and communities.

Thanks for sharing these awesome photos! ('cept now I am homesick for Yucaipa!)

Joni


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 5 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

What a great place to visit


suziecat7 profile image

suziecat7 5 years ago from Asheville, NC

Looks wonderful. Great photos and history. Thanks.


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you, Suzie!!


BigBear-ian 5 years ago

As a local, I can certify to everyone here, Wilbur is actually a mule! Not a miner's grave, as the ones in the Doble area also pictured above are.


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

O, I love it! That's hysterical! I believe you. It's a lovely lake and grave all the same (I like mules)


lambservant profile image

lambservant 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

I have been to Big Bear many times as I grew up in Southern California. Lovely photos. Good hub.


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you-! have a lovely Sunday!


PADDYBOY60 profile image

PADDYBOY60 5 years ago from Centreville Michigan

Sounds like it would be a great place to visit if I ever haul my carcass that far west. Thanks for the info.


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 5 years ago from Northern California Author

Thank you for reading--you'd love the Gold Trail tour, which takes you to different mining sites..


ellahall2011 profile image

ellahall2011 5 years ago

Great hub.Thanks for sharing.


Mike 20 months ago

That graveyard is a pet cemetery.


GarnetBird profile image

GarnetBird 20 months ago from Northern California Author

I heard that a mule was buried there.

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