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Please click here to go to - Part Three
The Serpent and the Rock
We stayed off of pavement as much as possible. We passed Deadhorse Well and the abandoned ruins of the Nevada Scheelite Mine. We turned east on a two track dirt road with the thought of a lunch break at Eagleville. The vistas from Eagleville can be grand. Today the views were dimmed by a gray, dreary sky. We parked on a lonely highpoint and walked. An interesting looking adit across the canyon drew us. It's rare that we venture into mining tunnels but this one had solid rock. We entered as far as natural light allowed as we looked for the quartz gold bearing vein that was followed. The Lady led the way out and was first to exit.
"Oh, I almost stepped on you! I'm sorry." I heard her say as she looked down and did a quick sidestep.
"You are so pretty! I won't hurt you." she continued and then called back to me. "I almost stepped on a rattlesnake. It's scooting toward you looking for a place to hide."
I saw the little snake in a hurry.
"It went under a rock right there," the Lady pointed. "Get down, look under, and you can see it's coil."
I confirmed the serpent was safely in a defensive position.
"It's fine, just remember it's there."
It was too fast to snap a photo. The snake's coloring was beautiful and well matched the rock here.
There were fenced off areas on the hillside above. We climbed up to them. The adit we had entered hit the ore body and the miners when straight up following it to the surface.
Larger workings were over on the south side of the hill.
On our way back to the truck I walked back over to the adit. The guardian - the rattler - was coiled in the sun, taking in heat. I readied the camera and approached and took one step too close. It scooted back under the safety of its rock. I did not get the portrait I wanted. We returned to the camper, pulled out our chairs, and relaxed with lunch.
We continued north and dropped into Fairview Valley watching for possible access to one of the canyons along the east side of the Sand Springs Range. We've made other trips in the area and were looking for new discoveries. With some travel in 4x4 low, we found a nice lonely spot for a campsite with a view below the mouth of a canyon . A canyon to explore and an expansive view. There's hardly anything better.
This canyon was also a wonderland of granite.
Around one corner we found an amazing wide (30 feet or more) intrusion of feldspar and quartz running close to vertical through the granite.
There were several prospects upslope into this rock.
Around another corner was a massive granite rock.
If there was rock art up this canyon, this looked like a perfect spot to find it. The Lady was first on scene and started the search.
"Pictographs!" she announced. This was a very cool discovery and we were thrilled.
Most of the pictographs are quite faded and DStretch worked well helping to reveal what was here.
We returned to the truck and cozy camper.
We wandered in the evening and watched the constantly changing light play on the landscape.
Note: Most of Fairview Valley is closed and used as a training range for the fighter jets from the nearby Fallon Naval Air Station. Also, parts of the Sand Springs Range are also closed. Pay attention to your map when exploring here.
We returned home the following day, a day earlier than planned to beat a predicted storm coming in. This canyon piqued our interest - especially what we called "The Bright Shining Mountain" - and we returned a week later. I'll include that short trip here now.
We had our camp set up in the same spot as before by late morning on Saturday. After a quick lunch, we started the climb up a ridge.
We explored several granite outcroppings.
The granite had large chunks of feldspar.
Our route took us above The Bright Shining Mountain. We circled around to another ridge to descend and the massive outcropping of quartz came into view.
In the evening, from our camp a week ago, the last rays of sunlight lit up this point and really made it shine. It was impressive. We wanted to see it up close.
A primitive road leads to a prospect in the quartz.
We found several voids with partially formed quartz crystals.
The Lady enjoyed the high perch. Our truck is visible in the lower left.
Our evening walk was over to, and up, the next canyon to the north. A Navy Sea Hawk helicopter flew over on its return to Fallon.
The canyon had several narrow sections and made for a great evening walk.
Our adventure for Sunday was to hike up the entire length of the canyon we were camped below to the crest of the Sand Springs Range.
ATV's and side by sides have driven a short way up the canyon. Forward progress is soon ended by dry falls and very narrow sections. Good. At the top of the first dry fall we found a very dark Great Basin Fence Lizard with a missing section of tail basking in the sun. The lizard was sound asleep and did not react until I was right in front of its nose.
The granite in the first half of the canyon was quite fun to move through and over.
One of the outcropping of granite high above us sure looked like a giant turtle with its head raised to the sky.
The Lady enjoyed inspecting all the
quartz veins through the granite. She hoped to find some gold to pay for gas.
The terrain changed as we ascended the canyon.
Near the top we began to come upon debris that must have washed down from above. This made us curious about what we'd find up on the crest. This tire was particularly interesting because of its age.
The ruins of a mining camp with two collapsed buildings sits right on the crest. A gas stove and plywood used in the construction point to this being more recent.
Old tires are up here also. My guess is these are from the late 1930's.
We climbed the nearby high points for the views. Here is a view down the canyon we came up.
And other vistas.
After an hour up on the crest, we dropped back into the canyon to return to camp.
The lower half of the canyon with its granite is more spectacular.
We had a surprise waiting for us back at camp. The Teds had joined us with their Tiger. The Tiger always makes our bobcat look small.
It was another cat house camp. The Teds texted us the previous day that they were returning from a trip to Valley of Fire. We provided our location and they found us. It was a great evening catching up with stories of their travels.
We joined the Teds in the Tiger in the evening for a game of Scrabble. The Lady was the victor, thoroughly giving the rest of us a good whooping.
We all wandered up the canyon in the morning. The Teds made it to the rock but we did not come upon any serpents.
Due to a predicted high wind warning with blowing dust, we decided it was best to break camp and head home.
Thanks for the nice surprise, Teds!
This was an incredible trip(s) wandering Nevada. Thanks for following along.