Use the archive on the right to view older posts.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

East Mojave Preserve - "The trestles were long gone"

 Searchlight, Nevada in the distance and the Barnwell & Searchlight Railroad grade in the foreground. Our goal: follow the old B&S RR from Searchlight to Barnwell.
Fortunately, our navigation app, Gaia, has a feature that allows the user to download historical maps.
 The most difficult part of this journey was finding the route the railroad followed inside of Searchlight. Once we were outside of town the route became very clear.
 Occasionally we would see artifacts from the railroad.
 Upon reaching the foothills our route left the grade several times because the grade crossed obstacles that required a trestle and the trestles were long gone. We would drop onto a nearby road until regaining the grade.
 According to the historical map this was Juan siding/station.
 Hart Peak to the south of our route.
 The Castle Range to the north.
 The grade was cut along this rocky escarpment but the route was too narrow for us to drive.
 After about a mile we rejoined the B&S RR.
 We looked for drill holes in the rock of this cut but did not find any.
 Farther along the grade we found more remnants from the railroad.
At times the grade was the best road in the eastern Mojave Preserve.
 We made a quick detour to Stagecoach Spring.
 The windmill no longer functioned but there was water in the well.
The sign read "Road not Maintained," neither Jan or I disagreed and condition of the road made for slow going.
 As the sun set we neared our camp for the night.
 Well maybe not, our plan was to camp on one of the runways of the old Hart Airfield but it looked as though it is now part of wilderness. Beyond that fence, in the "wilderness," were two runways, one of which is 3,400 feet long.
 We set-up camp at a road junction less than a mile from the airfield. The night air at 4,500 feet was cold and still when this photograph was taken.
 Dawn on the eastern Mojave Preserve. The morning air was brisk but just about right for hiking.
 After breakfast I hiked across the hills to a Piper PA-31 Navajo crash that someone had told me about years ago. The NTSB report states that the crash happened 1/14/79 and that there were three people on board. No fatalities. At the end of the report there is a curious remark: KENNEWICK A/P CLOSED DURING RPTD DEPT TIME.RPT FLT DISTANCE NOT POSSIBLE W FUEL ON BOARD. It appeared that the investigator did not believe the pilot's story.
In the distance Hart Mine Airfield's shorter east/west runway is visible.
When I returned to the truck we broke camp and continued following the B&S grade.
Sometimes the road was on the grade and at other times our route paralleled the old railroad.
Eventually we reached Barnwell which is now the site of a ranch house and a few outbuildings.
Jan spotted this wooden culvert just before the Barnwell & Searchlight merged with the former Nevada Southern Railway grade that once connected the Ivanpah Valley and Goffs.

We drove north on Ivanpah Road. Clark Mountain on the left. I was about 200 vertical feet from the summit of Clark ten years ago but had to retreat because of an ice coated route just above the class three pitch.  It must have taken half a dozen sliding falls for the mountain to convince me that a retreat was in order.
The end of pavement for some ...
but the beginning of pavement for us. And time to begin the long drive home.
While stopped for a break at the Cima Road exit on I-15 we saw a blimp approaching.
The DirectTV blimp was flying west but at a much slower speed than traffic on I-15 because we passed it about five minutes after taking this photo.

No comments:

Post a Comment