Tuesday, June 9, 2009

“There comes a time in every rightly constructed boy's life that he has a raging desire to go somewhere and dig for hidden treasure”. -Mark Twain

Ben Here: Rebecca has so totally been on my case about getting some content up here on a recent camping trip that I took. So much so that she did all the real work for this post and I just added commentary. I went hiking and camping with my good friend Matt Sebree to the desert and mountains of Nevada. Thanks Bec for the hard work and for giving me the chance to get out into the wilderness!

The purpose of this trip was to see some good old fashioned ghost towns and mines in the West. For 12 years now, Matt S. and I have periodically taken to exploring different parts of the Western U.S. This time it was a driving/camping trip out of Salt Lake City, UT and into Central Nevada's desert for an approx. 1200mi round trip. Here's another Mark Twain quote that I feel sums up the trip:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do."

As a warm up, please enjoy this video of Jim Gaffigan accurately describing camping. Then scroll down to see some photos.
Ah yes, sweet desolation! This is Highway 50, known as America's Loneliest Highway. It re-traces parts of old western wagon coach and pony express routes over desert plains and mountian passes. We drove for 5 hours and only saw perhaps 5 other cars.

Our first camp site (near Wheeler Peak in the Great Basin National Park), high up (somewhere over 8000 feet above sea level) out of the desert heat in a beautiful Aspen grove with a pristine crystal clear and drinkable creek running by that was fed from the snow melt at higher elevations. Note to others: this makes for a very cold morning bath!

Here I am at 10,000 feet with Wheeler Peak in the background. The road had just been opened to this point thanks to the snow melt. There were still places where the snow was 4-6 feet deep! They have found Bristle Cone Pine trees in this park that have rings that date them to over 4500 years old!

There are hundreds of ghost towns in this area of NV. Here is the ghost town of Belmont, NV. It lost it's County Seat status in 1905 after the silver mines failed and everyone left.

Speaking of mines, we saw a bunch, so here is just one example of what you'd find. Usually they were partially collapsed and very dark inside!

The photos above and below are of the Monarch Mine, near the ghost town of Sprucemont. This was one of the best preserved mines we saw... and NO we didn't dare go inside. You could see the mountain trying to squeeze and crush those 100 year old timbers! Also, don't forget radon gas, old unstable explosives, bats, snakes, and rodents.

This is a log cabin that used to have a sod roof. It was just one of about 20 structures still "kinda" standing in the ghost town of Sprucemont, NV

And finally, the famous Bonneville Salt Flats. We were trying to set world speed records home to Salt Lake City so we could take a shower! If we slowed down, we would be forced to smell our aroma after 5 days in the wilderness.


Chris said...

I'm still laughing at the video! He shares my camping point of view to a T. Thanks for sharing about your trip, Ben! Sounds like you & Matt had a great time.

Rocky said...

If you are still looking for Ghost towns try this site www.rockymountainprofiles.com