Monday, August 9, 2010

Soldier Creek Hike August 6, 2010

Above Robinson lake in the Ruby Mountains of Nevada

Location: To get to Soldier Creek take State Route 227 south of Elko towards Lamoille Canyon. Near the main canyon take a left towards the town of Lamoille, Nevada, (the turn is well signed). Drive straight through the picturesque town of Lamoille until you reach a crossroads. Turn left and follow the gravel and oil road nine miles to the turnoff for Soldier Creek. The road crosses private road for the first two miles and into the canyon. Two miles later is the Soldier Creek trailhead.
The Hike:The first two miles of the hike follows Soldier Creek up Soldier Canyon. The trail is rocky and muddy in places so watch your footing. The canyon is the only place a hiker has shade from the Nevada sun. Today the canyon was very picturesque with Fireweed blooming, rock walls, and a beautiful creek. After two miles the trail reaches the beginning of Soldier Basin which is treeless and meadowy. Today I saw an explosion of Larkspur and Paintbrush along the trail which made for a beautiful hike. After about mile and a half of hiking in the basin the trail for Krenka Creek goes to the left. Continuing another two miles a hiker will get into the main part of the basin with Hidden lakes, Soldier lake, and Robinson Lake as possible destinations. Robinson lake is the farthest from the trailhead at about five miles.
The trail in the canyon

Pack animals grazing near Robinson lake

Trail with Soldier Peak in the background

Soldier lake with surrounding vegetation

Tuscarora, Nevada August 3, 2010

Picture showing some of the modern buildings in present day Tuscarora

Directions: Tuscarora is an old mining community to the north of Elko, Nevada. To get to Tuscarora drive north on Nevada 225 for 27 miles going toward Mountain City. Head east on Nevada 226 for 17 miles. A sign for Tuscarora shows the turnoff.

History: Mining began in Tuscarora around 1867 when a group of men from Austin, Nevada, found gold while placermining. Initial mining operations remained small because of water limitations and few prospectors. In 1869, the community got a boost when chinese workers came from the Central Pacific Railroad. The new workers were more successful because they worked harder than the original prospectors. The community remained small even after the discovery of silver ore to the north.
The beginning of the boom occured around 1876 with the discovery of a three-foot vein of silver-ore. The first ore was sent to the Leopard Mill at Cornucopia, Nevada, which was considered some of the best in the district. Because of advertisments settlers flooded into the area. One of the first companies in the area Grand Prize Company brought the Windsor Mill which increased production.
By 1877 the town had blossomed and the mines were producing ore in large quantities. The population of the town was 3,000 citizens and businesses and companies sprang up. Tuscarora had 12 saloons, entertainment, a baseball team, and a brewery. Stage lines were created to facilitate the movement of people in the county. The same year two newspapers began publication: the Mining Review and Tuscarora Times Review. Examples of some of the mines in the area: Grand Prize, Susan Jane, Young America, and Grand Prize along with three mills. The best years for the mines were during the years 1878 and 1879. Each of these years production was well over million dollars.
The first boom would not last and by 1881 the town started diing. The major reason for the decline was a slow down in the area mines which ultimately led to many of them closing. Likewise, the town suffered a number of major fires which burned important structures.
The second boom began in 1887 when two new companies entered the area: Nevada Mining Company and East Grand Prize Silver Mining Company. Likewise, three new mines broke ground in the area bringing the total number to eight. However, the boom would not last and 1890 would bring a mixed distinction: total production was high but one of the most productive mines closed the same year. During the years 1890-1891 the mines closed one by one. The last mine to operate in Tuscarora was the Dexter Mine which closed in 1903. The newspapers also folded in 1903.
Today, the town is surviving because of a pottery shop in town. The town is small but has a nice mixture of old and new building. There are also many ruins in and out of town. The cemetery is very historical and a worthwhile visit. The town is currently restoring the old tombstones.
(Source: Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of Elko County By: Shawn Hall)

Some of the old and new tombstones in the cemetery

Old store front in town

Car with old shack in Tuscarora

One of the old mills to the north of town