Monday, March 10, 2014

Dixie Valley Nevada – March 2014

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We figured friends were seriously starting to doubt our sanity. Our church going friends were probably down on bended knee in prayer beseeching divine intervention for our well being. We were off again into Nevada. What could possibly be out there in that barren wasteland?

We did not have second thoughts although as we stopped at the signal light at our turn onto Highway 50 in Stateline, Nevada I gestured toward the casinos and asked the Lady, “Want to just turn in here, get a room, feast at the buffets, and gamble away the weekend?” She just looked at me, aware of my joke. That lifestyle is so foreign to us.

We had recently explored the Grimes Point Archeological Area. Studying the topo maps for the area, I figured there were possibly other nearby sites to discover.

Although we were gently rocked to sleep with the sounds of fighter jets from nearby Fallon Navy Air Station, morning was quiet and still before sunrise.

We investigated a series of caves and shelters.

The most interesting shelter still had remnants of walls………………

………………………along with a boulder out front with old petroglyphs slowly fading with desert varnish.

We climbed and explored the entire ridge line, marveling at the terraces marking the ancient shorelines of Lake Lahontan.

We have made several trips into Dixie Valley and I figure we will keep returning. There is always something new to discover and explore out here in this interesting terrain. The US Navy completed its buyout of the entire valley in 1995 and turned it into, according to this article, “The nation’s only Drive-Thru Electronic Warfare Park.”

There is a spur road that leads to Wonder.

Wonder exists as the usual broken down ruins of mills and mining operations, sad, neglected, abandoned. We have been out to Wonder twice before.

We continued north into Dixie Valley. There is a visible fault scarp/rupture against the base of the Stillwater Mountains along the valley’s west flank. It runs almost the length of the range, testimony to the power of the 1954 earthquake.

We explored up the Little Box Canyon Road. This interesting canyon starts out guarded by a series of high pour overs.

On a hike across the alluvial fan we came upon a monumented section corner.

Our Public Land Survey System was yet another invention of Thomas Jefferson. We knew where were. We could pinpoint our location – beginning 120 miles north and 204 miles east of California’s Mount Diablo.  

If you aren’t into the trivia of land navigation and you find yourself in the middle of Dixie Valley, there are villages seemingly out of Afghanistan to catch your eye.

We wanted to end our day at the now gone site of Dixie Valley, Nevada. It was a spread out ranching community, a haunting place filled with memories. The homes, the school, the outbuildings are mostly gone. The abundance of artesian/flowing wells remains, the water that makes this place an oasis.

There are more recent arrivals.

I’ve operated tracked snowcats so I felt at home with the familiar controls.

We found a wonderful spot to spend the night.

Complete with an expansive view for dinnertime.

The half moon was high above in the night sky, perfect for a long night walk. We were surrounded with the songs of coyotes. We wandered at will, alone.

It was an amazing night.

It was an amazing dawn.


The skies were overcast as we pulled out from camp. We continued north stopping at the Dixie Valley Hot Springs.

The signs are new but left us puzzled. If this area is sensitive habitat and protected, why is it hammered by cattle and the ground covered with cowpies? This is one place I would not want to get my water downstream from the herd.

Our explorations continued and will continue in Dixie Valley……………………………….

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