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Sunday, May 21, 2017

El Paso Mountains, CA, Desert Trek 2017 - "They were there and then they were gone."

 Our first stop on the Desert Trek was at the Jawbone Siphon of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
 Next we drove into the El Paso Mountains east of Red Rock Canyon State Park. We visited an old mine and stopped at the location of Della Gerbracht's house.
 It was here that we discovered Colton's rock stacking abilities.
 Next stop was Toni Seger's home which is located next to Burro Schmidt's cabin.
 Then we walked around the hill to the tunnel.
 William Henry Schmidt spent 38 years digging this half-mile tunnel.
Every walked through the mountain. I stayed outside with Bosco.
Dusty design with a faded Explorers flag.
 We passed by a spot where I once camped in my Unimog. Miss that old piece of iron and wish on the morning of the wildfire that destroyed our home I would have chosen to drive it out instead of my Tacoma.
We drove on through hills still green from winter rains.
Our destination was the abandoned Old Dutch Cleanser Seismotite mine.
They were there and then.
They were gone.
 Evidence that Colton was in the area.
Most of the Explorers drove home but three families camped with Bosco and me.
Dawn and later it would be time to drive into Mojave and stop at Primo's for breakfast.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Southern Nevada: Rainbow Canyon and Mormon Mountains - "a blast from the locomotive"

Bosco and I packed up our Kane Springs Road camp and drove east back down into Rainbow Canyon.
Driving over and crossing under the railroad tracks was a theme on this road.
More gorgeous rock waiting for the right light.
We drove under the railroad and up Cottonwood Canyon to the Clover Mountain Wilderness boundary.
Potential for future exploration but soon it was time to move on.
First a photograph, then a wave at the engineer and last a blast from the locomotive's horn were the three actions at this stop.
Our route continued south to Lyman Crossing and then east to the Tule Desert where a choice had to be made. We drove south toward the Mormon Mountains.
Wild flowers were blooming.
A small herd of horses crossed the road ahead of us.
The drive south through the Tule Desert was very scenic although probably a dry and dusty trip in the summer.
Heading west into the Mormon Mountains on Horse Hollow Road.
Plenty of water after good winter rains.
Our route took us high into the mountains until we reached a wilderness boundary.
Bosco and I hiked on to Horse Spring.
Looking east down into the south fork of Toquop Wash.
We hiked higher until the trail disappeared.
Bosco led the way back to camp, occasionally looking back to check on me.
Our camp at the wilderness boundary.
It rained several times during the night but dawn brought partially cloudy skies.
Our route south with the East Mormon Mountains on the left.
A view west toward Moapa Peak.
Far in the distance was Interstate 15 and our route home.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Southern Nevada: Pahranagat NWR and Delamar Lake - "Groot beckoned for us to stay"

 After purchasing fuel in Glendale we drove north on NV168 and then US 95 toward the Pahranagat NWR. Bosco was so excited about the drive that he took a nap.
 We stopped for lunch near the lake.
 The were several vacant campsites but the traffic on US 93 was just a few hundred yards away and there were several more hours of daylight so we drove on.
 A bog creature who looked to be a cousin of Groot beckoned for us to stay as we departed the refuge.
We turned down the invitation and drove north then east onto Alamo Canyon Road.
A short time later Delamar Lake appeared in the distance.
Out in the middle of the lake bed was an island which was our destination.
We passed under the guyed-V tubular towers of the One Nevada Transmission Line.
And drove onto Delamar Lake.
Mirages were happening on the lake bed.
Upon arriving at the island we walked to its highpoint.  During our stroll we discovered small pockets of trash. I suggested to Jo Ann that we circumnavigate the island and pick up all the trash. She agreed and for an hour we worked at the task. An entire garbage bag was filled with trash from the shoreline of the island.
After our bit of community service we drove away from the island and set up camp on the playa.
Sunset on Delmar Lake.
The next morning mirages were happening once again.
Bosco walked away from camp, sat down and kept a watchful eye on the truck. The tracks on the playa were not ours.
After breakfast we broke camp, drove back to the road and continued north toward the Delamar town site.
On our way we stopped at a Chinese cemetery near Delamar Wash.
And less than a mile away was an old camp.
Looked like the parts of an ore roaster.
A few signs of domesticity were found.
Our next stop was Delamar or as it was known at the time, "The Widow Maker" because the gold was in quartzite, which when crushed created a fine silica dust. Miners would breathed in the dust and developed silicosis much like what happened when the Hawks Nest Tunnel was built in the 1930's.
Not much remains of the town.
At the height of the Delamar boom 1,500 people lived in the town and it had an opera house, hotels, a hospital, churches, a school and of course saloons.
Curiously this was the third safe that we found while exploring the town.
Curiously this was the third safe that we found while exploring the town.
After one last look at Delamar we drove north to visit the town cemetery.
We found several markers for the Horn family.
Made me wonder if any of the residents were related to my paternal grandmother.
It was late afternoon as we made our way north and then east to Caliente. After purchasing fuel we drove under the Union Pacific Railroad and then south on Rainbow Canyon Road.
From the looks of this car there had been some serious water flowing down the wash.
High rock walls lined the road but the cloudy afternoon sky made for poor photography.
More evidence of past flooding in Rainbow Canyon.
High canyon walls waiting for the right light.
We stopped in Elgin to visit the school house but it was closed.
Soon it was time to look for a place to camp. We drove east up Kane Springs Road and after trying a few side roads found a site just after sunset.
Our camp the next morning under a cloudy sky.
After breakfast Jo Ann drove west on Kane Springs Road headed for home while Bosco and I drove east back down into Rainbow Canyon.