Thursday, June 24, 2010

Floating Island and Indian Cave June 21, 2010

Floating Island with sparse desert environment

Today, I drove out the Silver Island Mountains Scenic Byway to explore Floating Island and Indian cave. Floating Island stands by itself in the salt flats next to the Silver Island Mountains it is approximately 24 miles one way from the nearest gas station. As a result, a visitor needs to have a full tank of gas, spare tire, food, and water. It is a long walk if your car breaks down. The desert in this part of Utah is accessible by dirt roads. The roads are pasable by most cars in the best conditions. Indian cave is on BLM land in the southeastern part of Floating Island. It is accessible by a 1.5 mile hike in the desert.
Outside of Indian Cave

Looking out into the desert from inside cave

Dirt road in the desert on the side of Floating Island

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Angel Lake June 17

Today, I decided to go hiking up at Angel Lake. Angel Lake is 13 miles outside of Wells in the East Humboldt Mountains. The area is very scenic and a fun place to go hiking. I knew that I was taking a chance on encountering snow because Nevada has had a cool, rainy June so far. I left Angel Lake with the intentions of heading to Grey Lake (about a six mile hike one way). After two miles, I encountered steep snowfields and turned around. The trail up to Smith lake had even more snow. The weather was wonderful and ten days should melt the snow.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Callao June 14, 2010

Old log building in Callao

Callao (originally Willow Springs) was incorporated in 1859 in the foothills of the Deep Creek Mountains. It served as a stop on the Pony Express from 1860 to 1861. Riders would stop at the Willow Springs station to change riders and feed their horses. The telegraph line ended all activity on the Pony Express. The towns biggest boom came with the completion of the Lincoln Highway which brought more businesses and residents to the area. In 1936, 100 residents lived in the town. However, the towns importance would be diminished by the relocation of the Lincoln Highway to the west. Today, the area supports small ranching operations.

Plaque for the Willow Springs station

Gold Hill and Callao June 14, 2010

Remants of the mining to the east

On June 14 I traveled approximately fifty miles south of Wendover to two historic towns in Utah: Gold Hill and Callao. Gold Hill was a boom and bust mining community in Toele County which produced gold, silver, copper, lead, tungsten, arsenic and bismuth. Callao was a Pony Express station in western Juab County. All information comes from the book Utah Ghost Towns by Stephen Carr.

Gold Hill- Gold Hill first started mining operations in 1882 as part of Clifton Mining District. The original boom revolved around gold which was found to the east of town. By 1906 the boom had faded and the inhabitants left the area. During World War I the town boomed again because of the need for copper. The importance of the mines was helped by the completion of the Deep Creek Railroad which helped transport copper ore to Salt Lake City. Later during the war tungsten and arsenic became important. The government needed arsenic to control the boll weevil in the South. By 1924, the arsenic boom died with cheaper foreign sources and the town died too. Finally during World War II idle mines were restarted because of the need for tungsten and arsenic. From1944 to 1945 ore wih 25% arsenic was shipped to Salt Lake City. After two years the mines stopped production.
Lizard in the desert near the mines

Deserted store front on mainstreet

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Spruce Mountain May 31, 2010

Looking West toward Ruby range from on the Mountain

Directions- Take 93 south of Wells for 25 miles. Turn left onto a dirt road heading east towards Spruce Mountain. You will get to a kiosk with maps for the area. If a visitor has an ATV, Pick-up truck or SUV a visitor can drive to almost all the sites. Remember to not go into any mine shafts which are not closed off!!!! The area is one of the best preserved mining sites in Elko County.
History-The Spruce Mountain mining site is a group of mines which mainly produced silver, lead, zinc, and copper evry year from 1899-1952. In the 1920s, mine production stood at $100,000 every two years. The most productive of the mines was the Spruce-monarch mine on the western side of the mountain. Other mines included Blackforest, Bullshead, Jasper, and Ada. The area boomed during World War II, when in 1945, $300,000 worth of ore were shipped out of the area. By 1947 the price of ore decreased in value and the mines of the area slowly became less profitable. Major mining activities ended in 1952 but a few companies still explored the site until 1961. Total production: one million ounces of silver, 22 million pounds of lead, 3.2 million pounds of zinc and 780,000 pounds of copper. (For more information consult: Old Heart of Nevada: Ghost towns and mining camps of Elko County)
Monarch mine ruins

Monarch mine

Old entrance into mine

Neat photo from inside cabin- Monarch mine