A Landing a Day

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Pioche and Panaca, Nevada (revisited)

Posted by graywacke on May 9, 2019

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-a-week blog), I use an app that provides a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48).  I call this “landing.”

I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town or towns I land near.  I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. 

To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is) please see “About Landing” above.  To check out some relatively recent changes in how I do things, check out “About Landing (Revisited).”

Landing number 2443; A Landing A Day blog post number 879.

Dan:  Today’s lat/long (N37o 53.783’, W114o 19.148’) puts me in southeast Nevada:

Here’s my local landing map:

My streams-only map shows that I landed in the watershed of the Meadow Valley Wash (8th hit).  I generally don’t keep track of “washes” or “creeks:” only “rivers” and the occasional “bayou.”  But this watershed is so big (and I’ve landed in it so many times), I couldn’t help but keep track of this one.

Anyway, as you can see, the Wash ends up in the Muddy River (9th hit); to the Virgin River (15th hit); on to the mighty Colorado (186th hit).

Most of Nevada is in the Great Basin Watershed.  Here’s a map showing the vast area that is internally-drained:

You can see that the Meadow Valley Wash (with drainage south to the Colorado) is a notch carved out of the Great Basin.  FYI, the other “notch” just west of my landing is the White River watershed, which also drains south to the Colorado.

Just outside of Panaca, the Google Earth (GE) Orange Dude was able to get a look at the not-so-mighty Meadow Valley Wash:

And here ‘tis:


I suspect that there’s no water because the agricultural operations take it all. 

JFTHOI, I went another 15 miles south to the town of Caliente, where the OD could get another look at the Wash:

While I’m in GE, check this out:

Well looky there.  Just 245 landings ago, I landed a mere 6 miles west of this landing.  Given the paucity of towns, you’ll never guess which two were titular back then?  Yup.  Pioche and Panaca (thus “revisited” in the title).

Funny.  My mind went past “scarcity” and “dearth,” and for no particular reason, it settled on “paucity.”  Well, the good ol’ internet addresses these more-or-less synonyms head on.  From EnglishStackExchange.com:

Words:  paucity vs scarcity vs death

I see these words used interchangeably in various contexts. Is there a formal difference or preference?

Please supply relevant examples.

You have probably already checked the dictionary for definitions of paucity, scarcity, and dearth. They all basically mean “a lack of something,” and the fact that each definition references the others attests to their interchangeable utility. However, if there weren’t subtle distinctions in meaning, we probably wouldn’t bother to have three formal words for the same thing, so your question is a good one.

If I were to order them from least lacking to most lacking, I would say paucity->scarcity->dearth, based on their respective definitions.

Paucity: smallness of quantity

Scarcity: rarity or shortness of supply

Dearth: an inadequate supply

Since a small number of towns has nothing to do with the “supply” of towns, I guess “paucity” was the correct choice!  Back to the website:

If you have a paucity of pumpkins, you would have just a few (but your neighbor might have many). A scarcity of pumpkins would mean that pumpkins are quite rare, perhaps due to green-oozy pumpkin disease (that is a made-up disease), and you might reserve one for a special occasion. Finally, a dearth of pumpkins suggests that pumpkins are nowhere to be found, and there will certainly be no jack-o-lanterns on Halloween.

So anyway – as I just mentioned, I’ve featured Pioche and Panaca already.  OK, I could do a copy and paste, or simply put a link to that post HERE.  Don’t bother clicking – I didn’t link it.  Here’s what I consider the highlight of the history of the two towns:

Panaca was founded by Mormons, and is still pretty much a Mormon community – no booze, no gambling.  (Oops.  I forgot that the head of the Mormon Church put out a directive saying that Mormons shouldn’t be called Mormons anymore.  I think they’re supposed to be called “Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints.”  Oh, well . . .)

Mormons espouse a very clean lifestyle – no booze, no sex (except between a married man and woman), no cigarettes, no caffeine, no R-rated movies.  So back in the day (except for the R-rated movie thing), Panaca was a clean living town. 

The Mormons were agricultural-based, but there were various mining operations nearby and many miners lived in Panaca.  But hey – you know about them miners – they want all of the things that the Mormons wouldn’t let them do in Panaca.

So, there was this nearby town – Pioche.  And Pioche wasn’t Mormon.  So, the underbelly of Panaca moved up the road to Pioche.  OK, so many new mining claims were opened up near Pioche, giving them additional incentive to move . . . 

From StGeorgeUtah.com:

Just under two hours drive from St. George is the “living” ghost town of Pioche, Nevada. Today Pioche is a friendly town, but it began as a miner’s camp in the 1860s with wild roots quickly gaining a reputation as the roughest, toughest town in the entire West, rivaling even the more well-known gun slinging towns of Tombstone, Arizona, and Deadwood, South Dakota.

In 1873, the Nevada State Mineralogist reported the following to the state Legislature regarding the violence in Pioche :

About one-half of the community are thieves, scoundrels and murderers. Hired gunmen were imported at the rate of 20 a day to fight mining claim encroachments. The sheriff’s office could count on about $40,000 a year in bribe money. It was so bad 75 people were killed before one died a natural death.

The story of Pioche begins with William Hamblin, a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (aka the Mormons). William Hamblin was introduced to silver deposits in the Pioche area by a Native American Paiute in 1864.

Hamblin sold his claim to the mine, but in 1872, he was called to testify in a court case related to ownership of the mine. However, before he could testify, he was given a lethal drink. Realizing he had been poisoned, he started for home in Gunlock but died before he could make it.

At its height, Pioche had at least 6,000 residents (some say 10,000) along with 72 saloons, three hurdy-gurdy houses (dance halls) and 32 “maisons de joie.”  If you don’t what that means, check out a French-English dictionary.

Here’s a shot of Pioche back in the day (1885):

It’s time for some pictures.  Let’s start with Cathedral Gorge, just west of Panaca.  Here’s a shot by Spencer Baugh:

And this, by Geocheb:

And this, by Vitaly Korolev:

Moving up the Meadow Valley Wash, to the Echo Canyon area just north of my landing.  Here’s one by Nevadadcnr:

Another by Vitaly Korolev:

Staying with Vitaly:

I’ll close this one by (get this name) kat n dog named thirsty:


That’ll do it . . .




© 2019 A Landing A Day

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