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Friday, January 13, 2012

Twelve days in Nevada - Part 3/3

We drove NE from Tonopah on the Gabbs Pole Line Road passing the controversial Crescent Dunes Solar Energy Project.
When driving to the site of Pactolus we passed a shepherd's camp and later saw him high on a ridge with his herd.
Sunset at Pactolus camp. Not much here to see. We did not find the lone building reported at this site.
Jan silhouetted by a Nevada sunset.
The next morning when driving west toward Simon we notice that the shepherd started his day much earlier than we started ours.
Climbing a ridge on the approach to Simon Mountain.
Hiked to the summit of Simon Mountain and rebuilt the marker.
Entering Simon. There are over 25,000 feet of underground workings at Simon, some more than 1000 feet deep.
Note the two different building styles of this structure.
The sun silhouettes an old ore bin.
Rawhide Ranch. Jan really wanted to meet Rowdy Yates but no one was home.
Finger Rock looms over our truck.
Jan zooms the camera in on me as I look down from the top of Finger Rock. The route to the top was easier than it looked.
If cows could talk this one might explain how it all happened.
Exploring mining roads west of Rhyolite Pass.
The sun begins to set as we look for a place to camp.
Sunrise at our west of Rhyolite Pass camp.
Driving down to Rhyolite Pass.
On our way to the Blue Sphinx.
We spot our objective.
Getting closer.
It must have been quite a surprise for a prospector roaming these mountains to encounter the Blue Sphinx.
We drove around the mine camp but only found this small dugout and the usual adits and shafts. On a ridge to the north we could see a structure at the Golden Pen mine.
We drove down from the Blue Sphinx and turned toward Poinsettia.
Poinsettia. From what I have read it isn't really a ghost town but the remains of a cinnabar (mercury) mine camp.
My favorite structure at Poinsettia was this dugout. A look inside revealed that it was used for storage.
Leaving Poinsettia Camp.
The name on the map read, "Car Frame Windmill." With a name like that you have to visit. The windmill seems to be made out of any odd piece of steel on hand, including at least two car frames and an old military vehicle.
On our way to Rawhide Hot Springs. We drove through about 1/4 mile of deep sand north of Black Butte. Thought about stopping and taking a photo but we didn't bring sand ladders and it wasn't worth the risk of getting stuck.
Rawhide Hot Springs. An incredible amount of junk and debris scattered all around the springs. The springs appear to have been developed sometime in the past.
This is the actual spring and from here the water is routed into two other pools. When I was walking near one of the other pools I startled a duck that was feeding. Was it spending the winter at Rawhide?
Rawhide Wetlands.
More sand east of Fissure Ridge. This time the sand wasn't very deep.
Getting close to Downeyville. Many ruins here but we did not find any standing structures. In the remaining light of the day we decided to drive to Craig Station.
Craig Station in the light of a new day.
 Dawn at Craig Station. The temperature dropped to 17ยบ during the night.
Pavement ahead.
Time to fuel up because we don't know if the gas station in Gabbs was still open.
We drove on to Gabbs and the station was as I remembered it.
Sunday, the nearest gas was 60 miles away in Hawthorne and it was time for us to head for home.
Junction with US 395 January 2012.
No snow this year at the intersection. We were surprised by the lack of snow during the entire trip.
Junction with US 395 January 2011.
Looking east January 2012.
Looking east January 2011.
Driving south of June Lake we noticed a volcano in the distance preparing to erupt. ;)

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Twelve days in Nevada - Part 2/3

 We departed Tonopah and drove about 40 miles east on US 6 to our first stop, Warm Springs.
We hiked about two hundred yards up to the hot springs.
Closer look at Warm Springs.
The water flows down a ditch to the buildings.
 Some of the water is diverted into the pool.
 This photo of the pool is from a spot that is probably used by everyone who visits the site. The fence has been pried apart just enough to take an unimpeded shot.
 On the other side of the highway a cow gives me a curious look when I interrupt its solitude.
 A sign for Nevada 375, the Extraterrestrial Highway, beckons us to turn south but we are headed east for Tybo.
 The road to Tybo passes through a small government airfield named Basecamp.
One of the buildings still standing in Tybo, Trowbridge's General Store. Several of the structures in the town are being used as residences.
Headframe and portal for the Two-G mine. More information about Tybo here.
 Farther up the canyon is a water tank manufactured by J.F. Holbrook of Los Angeles.
 We drove up Tybo Canyon to another set of charcoal kilns,
The keystone in the door arch is missing.
 The kilns at Tybo are made out of local rocks rather than bricks like the structures in Kiln Canyon.
Found this weathered bastard flat file in the middle of the road. It is now on display on a boulder a few feet from the road.
Spotted this cool formation of folded rocks while driving south out of Tybo.
Still haven't figured out what to make of this pile of debris.
We were on our way to Lunar Crater. The cattle were on their way to another location.
Easy Chair Crater.
We arrived at Lunar Crater about 30 minutes before sunset and searched for a campsite.
Sunrise at Lunar Crater. More on the Lunar Crater volcanic field here.
The area around Lunar Crater was used by NASA to train Apollo astronauts. Astronauts Eugene Cernan (right) and Harrison Schmit.
40 years later Jan stands in the same spot as Cernan.
The bottom of this maar is 400 feet below the rim. We decided to park parallel to the crater to avoid having nightmares about rolling into the abyss.
The next morning I walked to the summit of North Kidney Butte.
Many commercial jets fly over this portion of Nevada because of the Flight Restriction Zone over the Nevada Test and Training Range.
Approaching the Faultless nuclear test site. More about Faultless here.
The ground zero plug.  Video of the test here.
Unnerving to think that a few thousand feet below this plug is gigantic cavity filled with radioactive sludge.
I was curious about the top of the plug.
Plenty of warning signs around the site. All the signs warn of petroleum impacted soil. Not a single sign mentions radioactivity.
Time to leave Faultless before something odd happens.
Frozen Moore's Station Creek.
We visited the petroglyphs near Moore's Station.
We drove on to Pritchard's Station after stopping at Moore's Station. Moore's Station looked very interesting but was fenced off and hidden behind trees. Jan spotted this balanced rock about two miles from Pritchard's Station.
Pritchard's Station. It was active between the 1870s and 1880s on the old Belmont-Tybo-Eureka stage line.
Sunset on the Little Smokey Valley a few miles south of Summit Station.
We were driving an old road west of Red Ring Mountain looking for a place to camp when Jan commented that, "it doesn't look like anyone has driven this road is quite a while." Five minutes later we discovered why. The road was blocked by a landslide. I scouted the area and found a way into a nearby wash.
 We engaged the 4WD, drove into the wash, followed it for about 50 yards and regained the road.
Dawn at our west of Red Ring Mountain camp.
A mile from Squaw Wells we saw the first tire tracks.
Exiting Jumbled Rock Gulch.
After exiting Jumbled Rock Gulch we drove to Morey.
This cabin was interesting because of what was on the wall of one room.
Two walls were covered with old newspapers and photos.
Looks like Lillie Langtry.
Esther Mitchell murdered her brother in 1906.
A few miles from Morey there is a drill hole for another test site. We drove back to US 6 and then south to Little Lunar Cuesta.
As we approached the cuesta I noticed that we were being watched from above.  Then I noticed the moon above Little Lunar Cuesta.
I hiked to the top of Little Lunar Cuesta because it looked so cool. My big horn buddy had left the summit.
Back at US 6 the fuel gauge read empty. While we were fueling up a Four Wheel Camper on what we think was a green truck drove by on US 6 headed west. We wish they would have stopped to say hello. You don't see many vehicles in this part of Nevada, let alone another FWC.
Near Lunar Crater.
We camped at Lunar Crater for a second night.
Dawn at Lunar Crater.
Tonopah just a few miles down the road.
 Another night at the Mizpah Hotel.