Sunday, June 15, 2008

Twilight on a caching weekend

Dad claims "It was a little loop on the map...", but 130 miles later we finish up a totally awesome adventure. Now to figure out when to get b0neZ and KG out there.

Being used to waking up at 6:30am every morning has it's down side - mainly that you'll wake up around 6:30am even when you don't want to! So, surfed the Net and read email until Dad woke up and we packed up for the day.

Breakfast was at Sturgeon's Casino and then we gassed up.

Side story - I'd been looking all over Carson for UV lights for a cache idea I have and was unable to find them. What do I find an abundence of in Lovelock? Yeah....

Back out I-80 and a turn towards Rye Patch brought us to a Ranger Station. "Here for the day?" she asked. "Nope, just heading through." "We're geocaching." "Alright, have a good day!" She waved us through and we passed by an insanely blue reservoir out in the dusty desert and surrounded by formations straight out of Cathedral Gorge - or at least the Sump.

Once past the lake, we were on a table top flat expanse of desert with low-lying scrub sage brush. We passed by a small group of antelope and I was describing the scene to b0neZ who was back home. We came upon a true cross-roads with a railroad rail marker for the California Emmigrant Trail. Specifically the Applegate-Lassen cutoff that turned from the Humboldt and headed north towards the Black Rock desert, and eventually Oregon.

Our first cache of the day - having skipped by one at Rye Patch itself - was back down the Trail towards I-80 along the north edge of the Res and at the point where the Applegate and Lassen trails join on the Humboldt. And we thought we got eaten yesterday! I opened the door and a swarm of hungry bloodsuckers descended. dad braved the short walk to the cache while I took two pictures and jumped back into the truck. Thankfully the stop at the gas station not only resulted in UV lights - but also a hearty supply of DEET! Take that buggies!

Onward along the trail into the mountains towards the west. We drove a long way, Dad's "little loop" beginning to reveal the truth, and eventually made it up to Antelope Summit and to our complete surprise, an FTF! Score! The area was beautiful, and I can easily see why no one would have ventured out here sooner. It's rather remote, barren, and only complete loons would do something like what we were doing. But, hey, we've done the Delorme Challenge so this was NOTHING!

The next stop was at the ruins of Superior Mine, another wonderful Dust Devil cache. The Devil's are some of the original Nevada cachers and their trademark caches, white buckets with blue lids, hold some of the neatest log books I've ever seen. The book is a printout of the history of the area, what they know about the site, and enough spaces for complete logs by the finders, including date and time. Ah, back when folks took their time at caches and would be there to enjoy the site rather than the number. But I digress...

As we made our way out of the mountains and towards another valley, Dad makes the comment that it's been three hours (the loop really driving the point home) and we hadn't seen anyone else out here. Just then, a white pickup is spotted driving down a road a few miles ahead of us. We both laugh at the timing, and then realize the the rig was stopped right about where our next cache was - and this was another FTF attempt! It would just be our luck that a cache went two months without a find and here we are, 10 minutes too late. But we had nothing to worry about, it wasn't another cacher and the second FTF was ours.

By now, I'm looking at the map and spotting several mining ghost towns that I've read about in my Nevada Ghost Towns Atlas. However, one - Seven Troughs - was one I wanted to go to with b0neZ so I told Dad that I didn't want to go explore that area yet. But that road did hold three more caches so we did do our fair share of exploring. Including, no joke, a third FTF!

But the highlight of the day was our trip up to Tunnel Camp - a ghost town with a few wooden buildings standing, a tin shed, and a brick workhouse. But the main attraction was the still standing, untouched, STAMP rising defiantly from the ruin of the mill. My jaw dropped and stayed there the whole time. I've seen these beauties in museums, on private property, but always as ornaments, relics, and on display. Here, the giant was home and more glorious than ever. Throughout the desert, I've seen great headframes dotting the landscape, but this was definately a first.

Continuing on down the road, we wound down through a gully and came out the other side to a vast valley with a long road stretching off into the distance. At this point, Dad says, "Where the hell are we?! Where's the freeway!?"

Yeah, his "little loop" had finally pounded reality in. We were WAY OUT THERE and we were only half way through.

The rest of the trip was uneventful as it was a straight shot back into town. After what seemed like forever, we finally bounced up onto pavement. The fun thing about this pavement was the sign saying "Road Closed Ahead, Local Traffic Only". Thankfully that sign was pointed towards the road behind us and we were on our way into Lovelock. Course, there was two more caches to get nearby. Another fun historical site cache by lazyts (who provided our FTFs today) and a fun scramble up a rock outcropping.

Back into Lovelock, another stop at the gas station, and back down I-80. We tried to find a cache at the junction of 80 and 95, but it was not to be. Dad noticed how many caches I had along 95 heading down into Fallon, so we went home by that route. A few years back, Mamma Gravy and I traveled the 40 mile desert and found the series of caches that were on the Trail markers aloung the route. Easy hide-a-keys, but the fun and challenge to following the old trail that cut across the dry alkali of the Humbolt Sink. It's bad enough in a vehicle, and it takes no imagination at all to see the hardship and desperation of the early pioneers.

Back in Fallon, our day was over, and it was a homebound day for us. This was one great Father's Day and I realized how badly I'd been missing these adventures into the desert. Hopefully, the project with the Nevada Rock Art Foundation will come through. I miss the sand and sage under the sun.

You posted a note for Rye Patch View

You found Rye Patch, Applegate Trail-Antelope Summit, Superior View, Rabbithole Watershed-Applegate Trail, Tears to You, Tears to Me, Farrel, Happy Birthday to Me!, Halfway House, Twin Rocks, The Northern, Rounding Mopung Hills - 40 Mile Desert, Hommocks - 40 Mile Desert

You couldn't find Trinity Junction

No comments: