Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Iosepa, Utah July 25, 2011

The memorial at Iosepa

On my way back to West Wendover from the Wasatch Mountains; I took a diversion to the ghost town of Iosepa. The memorial for the community is located approximately 15 miles off of I-80 in the Skull Valley on Route 96 at the base of the Stansbury Mountains. If you are in the area the trip is well worth your time.

The history of Iosepa bagan in the 1880s when the Mormon Church sent missionaries to the Hawaiian Islands (then called the Sandwich Islands) to preach the gospel. The missionaries were very successful and many native Hawaiians converted to the new religion. Two years later around 1887 50 islanders came to Salt Lake City and wanted to stay in the state. The Church had problems finding available land in the Salt Lake valley but brought a 1280 acre ranch in the Skull Valley.

At first the new community flourished despite the hardships. In the spring of 1890, the Church built 10 homes, a school building and chapel. The settlers built a more complicated water system to bring snow melt from the nearby Stansbury Mountains to water their crops and cattle. Hawaiians flooded into the area and by 1890 about 250 people lived in town. The same year saw a profit of $20,000 in the sale of hay, grain and cattle.

The harsh realities of life in the Skull Valley and disease doomed the town. During its existence Iosepa never had more births than deaths in a single year. This is because of the isolation and hard work necessary for farming in a desert landscape. In the late 1890s, leprosy came from the Hawaiian islands and swept through the town. Even though, the sick were quarantined many people died. By 1917 the few remaining residents had left and gone back to Hawaii. Today, there is very little left of the original establishment (Info from Utah Ghost Towns By: Stephen Carr).

The Skull Valley; looking north .

A headstone in the cemetery

Another memorial at Iosepa

Original fire hydrant

Hidden Peak and Mt. Baldy July 24, 2011

Looking across the canyon; from up on the Gadfly trail

I made the decision to spend July 24th hiking at Snowbird for a number of reasons. First, after each of my hikes I drank a beer at the Tram Club while gazing at Mt. Baldy. Second, I have skied at Snowbird but have never hiked at the resort. Last, I wanted to climb both Hidden Peak and Mt. Baldy. Snowbird is world renowned for its powder (annually the resort gets over 600 inches of snow) and most years visitors can ski well into June. This year the resort stayed open until July 4th and snow has stayed in the upper elevations through late July. During the summer, the resort has concerts, hiking trails and the tram operates daily to the top of Hidden Peak. Throughout the summer Snowbird hosts a number of mountain bike races and a 50k running race.

Today, I seek to "bag" Hidden Peak and Mt. Baldy by hiking the Dick Bass Highway to the Gad Valley Trail. The hike will be five miles one way and over 3,000 feet of elevation gain. This hike offered great views as I gained elevation but, it can be monotonous to hike on ski runs. Snowbird has beautiful terrain and it was great to see it during the summer. I have included a number of photos from my hike.
The tram below Hidden Peak

One of the tram cars on its way up
The trail in between Mt. Baldy and Hidden Peak

Beautiful Wasatch scenery

Looking west towards Twin Peaks

Twin Peaks from the top of Hidden Peak
Side of Mt. Baldy

Below the tram at Snowbird

Twin Peaks on the way up the mountain

Pine tree with blue sky

Twin Lakes Pass and above Cardiff Pass July 22, 2011

Beautiful Penstemon in the Wasatch

After hiking up Maybird Gulch and seeing how much snow there was; I decided to pick a south facing spot for my second hike. I chose to hike out of Alta towards Twin Lakes Pass and Brighton Ski Resort in Big Cottonwood Canyon. I started out hiking towards Cardiff Pass at the base off Little Superior; however, after 2 miles the trail peetered out before it reached the ridge between Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyons. I then hiked back down towards the town of Alta before finding the trail to Twin Lakes Pass and Brighton. This particular trail was very steep gaining elevation quickly towards Twin Lakes Pass. I wanted to get high in elevation to see awesome views; so I veered off the trail and climbed to the top of the ridge above Twin Lakes Pass. The hike gave me great views of Snowbird and Alta and into Big Cottonwood Canyon but the abundance of wildflowers was not the same from a year ago. To the east I could see Sunset Peak and Mt. Wolverine and to the west I could see the Pfeifferhorn, Twin Peaks and Mt. Baldy at Alta. Warning! This area has many illegal hiking trails which causes confusion. The Forest Service needs to do some trail reclamation in this part of the Wasatch.
Penstemon and Paintbrush

Infusion of Penstemon

Looking toward Big Cottonwood Canyon

The beautiful view to the west; showing the high peaks around Snowbird.

Cool tree in the high country

Lone tree with blue sky.

High country of the Wasatch.

Maybird Gulch "Is it Spring or Summer" 7/21/2011

The Pfeifferhorn from up in Maybird

On July 21st I hiked into Maybird Gulch from the Whitepine Trailhead in Little Cottonwood Canyon. This trailhead is located about six miles up Little Cottonwood Canyon on the right side of the road. It is a very popular trailhead for Salt Lake City residents and will fill up early on the weekends. The trailhead gives access to three different lakes basins- Whitepine, Redpine and Maybird- all about 3.5 miles from the trailhead. Last year I hiked up to Redpine lake and Pfeifferhorn and loved it (chronicled on this blog). Today I will hike into Maybird Gulch which is 3.75 miles one way and approximately 2,000 feet of elevation gain.

The hike: Leaving the canyon the trail climbs steadily out of the canyon passing the trail junctions for Whitepine first ( aprroximately 1.5 miles from trailhead) and Maybird Gulch second at 2.5 miles. Each junction is clearly marked with trail signs. The trail to Maybird leaves the Redpine trail and crosses the creek before climbing into Maybird Gulch. Snowbird received a record 780 inches of snow so their was still extensive snow in Maybird Gulch making it necessary for some route finding skills. However, the hike offered great views of Little Cottonwood Canyon and the Pfeifferhorn. This year the wildflowers in the Wasatch were pushed back because of high snow levels in the Wasatch.

Penstemon up in the canyon

Columbine off the trail

Cottonwood Canyon from the trails

One of the avalanche shoots on the northern side of the road

Extensive snow in the gulch

A tree well in the gulch

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tonopah Historic Mining Park 7/15/2011

The mining park

Coming back from Southern California I visited the Tonopah Historic Mining Park. The Park is 110 acres in size and has many of the original silver mines in the area including the Silver Top, Mizpah, Desert Queen and Grizzly. The hoist works at the Silver Top and Mizpah were pariculary interesting. The park has been voted one of Nevada's Top Rural Museums and is well worth a visit. If you stay in town the entry fee is $4. The Mining Park is open 7 days a week April thru September from 9 to 5.

History: The silver rush in Tonopah started in the spring of 1900 when prospector Jim Butler, traveling to the mining camp of Southern Klondike, decided to have samples of rock tested for minerals in the San Antonio Range. When the ore was analyzed the assayer in Belmont found each ton of ore had 640 ounces of silver and $206 in gold. Butler would not return to Tonopah springs until six months later to stake claims. The first claim Butler and his wife made was the Desert Queen. Butler's wife made a claim at the Mizpah (it was a rarity in the west for women to stake claims at mines). However, at first it cost an extraordinary amount of money to transport the ore to smelters so production remained small. Butler began to lease out his claims in December of 1900 for a year. All he asked was 25 percent of the gross output. Ore piled up because of the poor transportation infrastructure.

In January of 1902 Butler sold his mining rights to a group from Philadelphia who organized the Tonopah Mining Company. At about the same time a long epidemic plagued Tonopah causing about 1300 people to leave. After the 30 day epidemic, Tonopah entered a period of stability with few robberies and little violence. In 1902 town had 32 saloons, hotels and stores bolstered by rich ore strikes at the Desert Queen, Montana- Tonopah and North Star. However, the town was still plagued by transportation issues keeping its production down.

The completion of the narrow-gauge railroad in July 1904 helped to increase production at the mines and the town's importance. The railroad was named the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad. In 1904 the County seat was moved from Belmont. In 1906 and 1907 total production surpassed $10 million. In 1908 the expensive Mizpah Hotel opened helping to put Tonopah on the map with wealthy east coast citizens. Through 1921 total silver production was $120 million. Production stayed at around one million through World War II. (Information from Tonopah: Silver Camp of Nevada By: Stanley Paher)

The Desert Queen mine headframe

The trestle on Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad

The steel headframe at the Mizpah Mine.
This would also be known as the Belle's Mine.

The hoist works at the Mizpah

The headframe of the Grizzly peaking out behing tailings

The shallow shafts made by the leasers

The loader at the Grizzly Mine

Hoist works at the Grizzly Mine

One of the stamps from the nearby 10 stamp mill.

Monday, July 18, 2011

7/15/2011 Tonopah Cemetery 1901-1911

The entrance into the cemetery

Down the road from the Mizpah and next to the Clown Hotel is the original Tonopah Cemetery. It has graves of men and women who pioneered Tonopah and who worked inside the mines. After walking around the cemetery taking pictures I formulated a number of observations. First, many of the graves showed men who migrated from Italy and Ireland. Second, it shows how many citizens died from diseases which are rare today such as Pneumonia, Yellow Jaundice, Diptheria and Typhoid. Third, a section of the cemetery has 10 plus graves devoted to babies which shows the harsh realities of the eary 1900s. Last, it shows how dangerous mining could be. This is one of the most interesting cemeteries I have been to in the west and should be on anyone's list of places to see.

Inside the cemetery

One of the many graves for babies
Irish immigrant who died from Typhoid
If you look closely this man burned to death
One of the 17 victims of the Belmont Mine fire
Another victim of the fire. The following men died from a run away ore care in the mines