2011 Nevada-Mojave Trip


Part Two: Steam Trains and old mines!

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Hamilton District - Belmont Mill, NV 

Hamilton District - Belmont Mine, NV 

I spent the second night of my trip at the Belmont Mine in the Hamilton mining district. (This mine should not be confused with the town of Belmont.) I shot many photos there in 2008, so I only have a few new shots this year.

Last time, the huge wooden ore bin at the mine was leaning badly, so it was no surprise to find it fallen over this year (above). You can click the photo above to see additional new images.

Mary Ellen Mine, NV

Not too far from the Belmont Mine is the Mary Ellen Mine. It’s a smaller mine, but like the Belmont it’s located high on a mountainside. Its ore bin still stands (above), and there are some mine tracks (left)and other interesting relics. However, all but one of the few buildings there have collapsed.

I climbed the mountain above the Mary Ellen Mine and found several other old mines, but no structures.

Nevada Northern Railway Museum

One of the best attractions in Nevada is the opportunity to see steam trains running at the Nevada Northern Railway museum in Ely, NV. I arrived a little late, getting there just in time to see the train coming out of the tunnel on its way to the wye at Ruth.

It turned out to be the only steam-powered run of the day. That plus a dead battery in one camera prevented me from getting all the video I had planned. Nevertheless, I got some great shots, both video and stills.

This year they were using engine #40, a 4-6-0 type locomotive built by Baldwin in 1910. Go here to see my photos of this beautiful engine:

Engine #40 photos

I compiled my best clips into a single video:

Go to Ray’s YouTube Channel to see the more of my videos from previous trips, or go to my Video page for a convenient list of links to each video.

Ore Car Culvert

Between Ely, NV and the Ruth wye, there is a place where the tracks cross a culvert where antique ore cars have been used to shore up the embankment.

Cherry Creek Station

After the locomotive  returned to the engine house at the end of its run, I left Ely and headed north, following the tracks up the Steptoe Valley to Cherry Creek station. Here I found the ruins of an ancient water tower and pumphouse.

Four miles west of Cherry Creek station is the town of Cherry Creek, NV which dates back to 1872. At its peak it had a population of about 6000; the current population is 72.

There are many period buildings and ruins here. Some are brick or stone, some are wood-framed, and some, like this one to the left, are made from old railroad ties. The original one-room school house is the oldest in Nevada.

Homemade Hoist

One interesting piece of equipment that I saw in Cherry Creek is this homemade hoist powered by a six-cylinder automobile engine (below). Click the photo to see more details of this hoist, or visit my Vintage Machinery page.

Left: Sunset near Eureka, NV.

Below: A Great Basin rattlesnake. I spotted this guy warming himself on the road after dark, and chased him off so he wouldn’t get run over.

From Cherry Creek I drove through Egan Canyon, then headed south through Butte Valley to Highway 50. I again passed through Eureka, NV after dark and encountered more rain. I had hoped to photograph some lightning on this trip, and I did see many thunderstorms. But as it turned out, they all produced much more rain than lightning, and the lightning was never under suitable conditions for photography.

I continued westward on Highway 50 until I reach the area of Austin, NV. I drove around various mountain trails for over an hour before I finally found a decent place to camp.

Go to Page 3 to read more about my 2011 Nevada trip:

Nevada Trip 2011 Part Three

More great stuff ahead!

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