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Friday, November 28, 2014

Silurian Hills - Pt 1 "Just enough road remained"

 Brian, Beth, Jo Ann and Clark and I rendezvoused in Baker, drove about 20 miles north on CA127 and then turned east. Beth and I jokingly discussed naming this blog post, "Brian's Desert Cabin Extravaganza" because of his enthusiasm for visiting old mine dwellings.
We are headed for the first location on "Brian's Desert Cabin Extravaganza." Kingston Peak in the distance.
Here we turned right toward the Silurian Hills.
Brian, Beth and Jo Ann and Clark driving south with the Dumont Dunes far in the distance to the north.
Nearing the Eastern Star Mine cabin.
The remains the mine.
We reached the Eastern Star cabin. When I was here in the late 90's this sign read "Crusty Bunny Cabin."
On that previous trip the cabin was in much better shape. We would have stayed in it then but now the cabin is a mess of trash and rodent droppings.
Looking to the left on our drive away from the cabin I located a small alcove with broken glass bottles, a few miles from the mine, that we found on the previous trip. Maybe is was once a stash of emergency water.
Our Toyota/Jeep squad.
We drove north, then east looking to jump on the old Tonopah & Tidewater (T&T) Railroad grade at Valjean.
(Photo from the collection found at: http://www.donwinslow.net/Historic.html)
"The Tonopah & Tidewater (T&T) Railroad was built between 1905 and 1907 between Ludlow, CA and Beatty, NV (Myrick, 1991). The abandoned right-of-way crosses the Tecopa Lake Beds, China Ranch Beds, and the Valjean Site. Unfortunately, the T&T lost money from the very beginning and, as a result, filed an application to cease operations in March 1938; the last train used the tracks in June 1940. " - USGS
Cruising alongside the T&T grade. Cruising is probably a misnomer because we never traveled faster than 20 MPH on this road.
Many washouts along the grade and road. Most looked very recent. Maybe from the rain event early in the year.
One of the many places on the route where the road no longer exists and you have to find a path to the track on the other side.
Very cool to pass by the concrete culverts of this old rail road line.
Occasionally the route was on top of the grade.
Although there were some spots that were barely passable.
The route was almost lost at a washout near this bridge abutment.
But just enough road remained for us to scramble up out of the wash and regain the route.
We continued driving south thinking that the worst was behind us.
But soon another large washout required an off camber traverse of a hillside and a sharp climb out of a wash to continue our drive south on the T&T.
The sun was setting as we continued our drive south on the T&T.
After this cut on the T&T we decided to find a place to camp before darkness fell.
(Photo from the collection found at: http://www.donwinslow.net/Historic.html)
Probably not the same cut but fun to think that it might have been.
We set up camp alongside the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad grade and enjoyed a relaxing campfire in the cool night air. Occasionally I paused and listened for the rumble of a passing train from an errant ripple in time but the night air in the Silurian Hills maintained a tight grip on its history.

1 comment:

  1. Bill we've been anxiously awaiting your blog post. We had a great time. We have another trip planned out there the 20th to look for more cabins. You're right, Brian can't get enough of them.

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