2009 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Part Three: More adventures through history!

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I left Ely, NV late in the day and headed towards a small thunderstorm in the vicinity of Mt. Hamilton. I passed through colorful sage-covered hills, and spotted the remains of a deer that had gotten snagged on a fence.

By the time I reached the Hamilton area, the storm had ended, the sky was clearing, and it was getting dark. So I turned north and drove up route 882 through Newark Valley. The paved road became a graded dirt road. I explored a couple of side trails without finding anything of interested. Finally I set up camp on the open prairie near Railroad Pass, way the heck in the middle of nowhere.

In the morning I took a road headed west towards Highway 278. This road was little more than a jeep trail, and at times was much less. Heavy rains the previous day had left the trail muddy and flooded in places. Other sections were brushy and hard to find (below), but eventually I made it to the highway.

Ranch Buildings - Pine Valley Area, NV

Upon reaching the highway, I turned north again. I passed several ranches in the Pine Valley area of Nevada, where I photographed these old ruins.

Carlin, NV

Eventually I arrived in Carlin, NV. This small town on Interstate 80 in the northern part of the state, started out as a way station for pioneers headed west. Later it became the eastern terminus of the Central Pacific Railroad’s Humbolt Division.

In 1907 the Western Pacific built its tracks through Carlin, which remained primarily a railroad town until the end of the steam era in the 1950’s.

Today there are many vintage buildings in Carlin. Some are inhabited and well-maintained. Others, especially south of the railroad tracks, are empty and showing the ravages of time.

Palisade, NV

The town of Palisade (originally “Palisades”) was first established as a station on the Central Pacific RR during construction of the Transcontinental Railroad.

In 1874 the Eureka & Palisades Railroad was formed and headquartered in Palisade. This narrow gauge railroad had 4 steam locomotives, 58 freight cars and 3 passenger coaches.

One of those locomotives, a 4-4-0 named “Eureka”, is still running today, having been lovingly restored by a gentleman in Las Vegas.

Almost nothing is left of the town that once was home to hundreds of people, but the “Eureka” lives on -- a valuable link to a bygone age.

Above: Steel through-truss bridges on the Union Pacific tracks near Palisade, NV.

International Harvester Dump Truck

This interesting old International Harvester dump truck was parked near the road at a ranch just outside Palisade, NV.

It would make a great subject for a model!

Ruby Hill, NV

From Palisade, I traveled south to Ruby Hill, the site of a former mining town in the hills above Eureka, NV. There are extensive ruins and mining structures from various eras here. The most recent structures (above) are posted against trespassing.

The town reached a peak population of 2500 in 1878. The Ruby Hill Railroad, built in 1875, transported ore from the mines and mills to a smelter in Eureka. 

A couple of the oldest cabins at the townsite date to the turn of the century. I especially like this one, and plan to build a model of it.

I like the various materials used, the different methods of siding on each wall, and the way the tiny original cabin was gradually expanded into a slightly larger cottage.

Note the beautiful masonry work on the stone addition at the rear of the building.

Left:  This massive wooden ore bin was once used to load ore from Ruby Hill onto trains, to be hauled to the smelter in Eureka, NV.

Below: Extensive ruins of an older mine in the Ruby Hill district.

Above: Fault line along the southern edge of the Project Faultless underground nuclear test site.

The strangest site I visited is Project Faultless, 87 miles south of Eureka in the remote wilds of central Nevada. It was here that a nuclear bomb in the megaton range was detonated underground in 1968.

The blast caused two large faults along the southern and northern perimeters of the site, creating a depression in the ground about 3000 feet across.

Unlike the large, official Nevada Test Site north of Las Vegas, this site is unfenced and open to the public. There are several odd markers dotting the site; solar-powered instruments transmitting data to how-knows-where; and other curious artifacts, such as the bright red steel caps of monitoring wells.

Nearby are the capped remains of two more “emplacement holes”. These were created in anticipation of further test blasts. However, the effects of the first test lead to abandonment of the project.

But wait, there’s more! Go to Page 4 to read more about my 2009 Nevada trip:

Nevada Trip 2009 Part Four

...still more ghost town adventures!

Go Back To Part Two


Return to Ghost Towns Page

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Right: A jackrabbit roams Ground Zero at the Project Faultless site.