2012 Nevada-Mojave Trip



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Red Rock Mercury Mine & Mill, NV

I spent the first night of my 2012 trip at the Red Rock Mercury Mine of western Nevada. This is one of the best sites I’ve ever seen, with numerous structures scattered over a large area.

As usual prior to setting up camp, I scanned the area with a UV flashlight. This is a good way to find scorpions -- they fluoresce in black light. To my surprise, I found one that glows blue. All the scorpions I’d previously seen glowed a pale yellow in UV light. I found a second blue-glowing scorpion the next night at the Belmont Mine in central Nevada.

I got up at dawn and spent several hours exploring and photographing this site. The Red Rock mine
is located near Boundary Peak, at about 7000’ elevation. It was started in 1927 and remained in operation until at least 1957. Besides the mill, there are cabins for the workers, a house and other structures where the owner lived, and many other interesting things to see. The mine was originally all underground, with over 4000’ of tunnels, but later they switched to open cuts and pits.

Click on the titles or photos to see more pics.

Cave Spring Cabin and Silver Peak Range, NV

After leaving the Red Rock Mine, I fueled up in Dyer and then took Coyote Road through the Silver Peak Range. The scenery here is spectacular!

Along the way there is a wonderful old stone cabin near Cave Spring. In years past, this cabin has always been deserted. This year I found that someone is apparently living in it, as well as a tent set up nearby. The old corral, with a loading ramp made of spiral-wound, riveted pipes, has been torn out and replaced with a modern corral.

Vanderbilt Mine, NV

After crossing the Silver Peak Range, I took a side trail that runs up the back of Vanderbilt Peak, almost to the top of the mountain. Here the mountain is honeycombed with old mine tunnels. On the east face of the mountain is the Vanderbilt Mine, barely visible from the valley below.

A rough path leads down from the top of the road, past several mine tunnels and the remains of an incline, to an ancient ore bin.

The incline was used to lower ore cars down to the bin, on a long cable. At right is a section of trestle that was part of the incline.

Near the ore bin is evidence of a second incline running down the face of the mountain.

When I started hiking down to the ore bin, the weather was sunny with a few puffy clouds. By the time I got there, thunderstorms were beginning to build up, and I had to rush to get back up to the car and off the mountain!

Tonopah, NV

While in the Silver Peak area, I discovered that the portable charger for my camera batteries was not working. The part that plugs into the cigarette lighter of my car had a broken connection, so I had to find someone in Tonopah who could solder it for me. While I waited I watched lightning in the distance and took a photo of this old sign. I didn’t get any other pics in Tonopah this year but if you click on the photo you can see some from previous trips.

Little Fish Lake Valley, NV

It was late afternoon by the time I left Tonopah. The sky was mostly cloudy with scattered rain showers and occasional lightning. I headed east  to Stone Cabin Valley, then north to Little Fish Lake Valley, a very remote area of central Nevada.

The small lake there was now just a marshy meadow.  The ruins of an old homestead were spread out on both sides of the dirt road.

Danville, NV

Late in the day I arrived at this former silver mining town in the Monitor Range, west of Little Fish Lake Valley. I found stone ruins on the north side of the canyon (below). Across the creek on the south side of the canyon, I found a wooden building (left), an outhouse that was still in useable condition, and a stone dugout.

I barely had time to explore and photograph these structures. Someday I’d like to go back and search for the mines, and see if there are any other ruins farther up the canyon.

Clear Creek Ranch, NV

Continuing north up Little Fish Lake Valley, I soon came to the ruins of the Clear Creek Ranch. This heavily overgrown site features two log barns, one on each side of the road. The barn on the west side of the road (right) appears to be the more recent of the two. Part of the structure uses boards instead of logs, and the roof is covered with corrugated metal.

The older barn is completely made of logs, with a roof of sticks covered with dirt.

Below: Sunset over the Monitor Range.

Left: Ranch house ruins at Potts, NV.

My journey continued long past nightfall. Along the way I passed the ruins of an old house at a site called Potts.

Go to Page 3 to read more about my 2012 Nevada trip:

Nevada Trip 2012 Part Three

More great stuff ahead!

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