Tuesday, December 26, 2017

A Night on Black Rock Desert

Near Gerlach, Nevada
July 7-8, 2001

My weekend on the Black Rock Desert was in stark contrast to a weekend of Burning Man. Instead of thousands of people and a burning effigy, there was only myself, Karen, a small group of fellow campers, and a couple that we met at the hot springs on the east edge of the desert. Our caravan of a half-dozen vehicles drove a little way up the playa, turned left, and camped on the west side where the playa met the hills. With no one else around, it was safe to walk across the desert under the moonlight to the tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad. The next day we picked up camp and a few of us ventured to the Tregos Hot Springs for a dip in warm water.

Web Link

Friends of Black Rock High Rock

The Ruins of the Thompson Smelter

Near Wabuska, Nevada
March 28, 2009

On a leisurely drive around the Nevada countryside southeast of Carson City, I came upon the ruins of the Thompson Smelter, which I saw to the west as I drove north on US 95 ALT. The mill and smelter ruins are at the northern end of the Mason Valley, and the mill and smelter processed copper from the many mines in the Mason Valley and Smith Valley. The copper ore was delivered here by the Nevada Copper Belt Railroad, which ran the length of the Mason Valley and into Smith Valley via Wilson Canyon. The heyday of this area was short-lived with the smelter and town built around 1910 and, except for the ruins, not lasting for more than a decade or two. The ruins consist mostly of foundations of the mill buildings, two smelters, and a number of a buildings from the nearby town that served the mill and smelter.

A Cross-Country Drive

Truckee, California to Seville, Ohio and Return
April 28 to May 12, 2001

Lehman Caves
The Start of the Cross-Country Drive
Truckee, California to Cedar City, Utah

Day #1. For my two week vacation, I decided to drive across the country to visit relatives in Kentucky and Ohio and see some attractions on the way. My first day did not offer much in the way of attractions. My only stop was at Great Basin National Park to tour Lehman Caves. Unfortunately, on my tour was a troop of boy scouts with two scout leaders. The scouts were rowdy and loud, and the scout leaders did not nothing to curb their rowdiness. For myself and the other non-scout participants of the tour, it was not an enjoyable visit.

Where you see a day with italics text, that text is from a postcard that I sent while on the road to chronicle my trip. Like a postcard, it is short and to the point.

Another Holiday Weekend Trip

Northeastern California and Southern Oregon
September 1-3, 2001

A holiday weekend trip to northern California and southern Oregon to visit Lava Beds National Monument and Crater Lake National Park. On the way back, Karen and I also made some quick stops to other sites of interest.

Lava Beds National Monument, California
Day #1

We started the morning in Reno, and our first stop was to the top of California to Modoc County. This was my second time at the Lava Beds, and this time I had a partner and did not have to solo into the caves. A drive through the park and stops at the following attractions:

  • Big Painted Cave / Symbol Bridge
  • Merrill Ice Cave
  • Schonchin Butte Fire Lookout
  • Balcony Cave / Boulevard Cave
  • Gillems Camp and the Canby Cross
  • Captain Jacks Stronghold
  • Petroglyph Point

We arrived at our stop for the night in Klamath Falls, Oregon just as night descended upon us.

View from the Schonchin Butte Fire Lookout

The start of the trail to Balcony and Boulevard Caves
Inside Captain Jack's Stronghold

Petroglyphs etched onto Petroglyph Point

A Weekend on the East Side

Mono and Inyo Counties, California
August 11-12, 2001

This was a quick Saturday-Sunday trip with Karen to visit some highlights along the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. Highlights not recorded by photograph: a nighttime dip in the unimproved BLM part of Keough's Hot Springs south of Bishop and another drive down Silver Canyon Road with a drop of 6,000 feet in nine miles (average grade 13%).

The west entrance to Bodie State Historic Park via State Highway 270, the last three miles on dirt road.