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Posts Tagged ‘Humboldt River’

Lovelock, Nevada

Posted by graywacke on July 28, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select 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 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Landing number 2200; A Landing A Day blog post number 628.

Dan:  AYKM?  Once again, I landed in that big bad OSer . . . NV; 92/79; 4/10; 1; 151.1.

I’m going to repeat my standard Nevada paragraph (most recently presented two landings ago), just updating the numbers and percentages a little:

Between landing 2121 and landing 2200 (80 landings), I’ve landed in NV 10 times!  Ten is 12.5% of 80.  Nevada’s area is 110,567 sq mi; that of the lower 48 is 3,061,363 sq. mi.  Nevada’s area is 3.6% of that of the lower 48.  So I’ve landed in Nevada at almost 4 times the rate that I should have over the last 80 landings.  That’s what Over-Subscribed (OS) is all about . . .

Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

And my local landing map:

 landing 2a

Without resorting to a streams-only map, you can see that I landed in the watershed of the Humboldt River (27th hit).  It goes without saying that the Humboldt River goes nowhere.

OK, so “nowhere” isn’t exactly correct.  Here’s the afore-mentioned streams-only map:

 landing 3a

I landed near the dead end of the Humboldt River.  If there’s enough flow, the water will make it to Toulon / Humboldt lakes.

It’s time for my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight in to the Humboldt Valley.  (Click below and hit the back button when you’re done).

//screencast-o-matic.com/embed?sc=coiuINfvWE&w=820&v=3

Of course, I checked out Street View coverage for bridges over the Humboldt.  Close to Lovelock, I found two spots:

 GE Humboldt SV shot map

Here’s the upstream Street View shot of the river:

 GE SV humboldt

For Nevada, I’d say this is quite the substantial river!  Now, let’s look at the downstream Street View shot of the river:

 GE SV humboldt 2

Oh oh.  What happened to all of the water?  I’ll zoom in to get a closer look at the river near the downstream shot:

 GE humboldt dam

So they dammed up the river and stole all of the water (reminds me a little of Joni Mitchell’s “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot”).  Anyway, what happens to the water?  This . . .

 GE farm land

A 15-mile stretch of farmland surrounding Lovelock.

So, what about Lovelock?  From Wiki:

The area around what would become Lovelock came to prominence as a lush way station on the Humboldt Trail to California. According to an 1849 description of what were then called the Big Meadows, “This marsh for three miles is certainly the liveliest place that one could witness in a lifetime. There is some two hundred and fifty wagons here all the time. Trains going out and others coming in and taking their places is the constant order of the day. Cattle and mules by the hundreds are surrounding us, in grass to their knees, all discoursing sweet music with the grinding of their jaws.”

A few settlers stopped on there to harvest the wild rye growing in the meadows and scythe the hay each fall, which they then sold on. Arriving there from California in 1866, the English settler George Lovelock (1824–1907) bought the squatters’ right for 320 acres and got with it the oldest water rights on the Humboldt River.

So, Lovelock’s raison d’etre is the Humboldt River and the wetlands / meadows that were present at the downstream end of the river.

Staying with the Humboldt for a little longer, I found a Nevada State publication entitled “Humboldt River Chronology.”  The publication emphasizes the fact that the Humboldt River is part of the “Great Basin.”  The Great Basin is a large area that is entirely internally-drained; i.e., precipitation that falls here never makes it to an ocean.  Here’s a map:

 great basin map

Funny thing.  I’ve been tracking watersheds and talking about internally-drained basins for years, but I’ve never formally addressed “The Great Basin” before.  It’s about time!  From the Nevada State publication:

The Humboldt River Basin lies wholly within a vast Intermountain region which was first recognized for its unique geophysical structure by John C. Frémont, who fittingly named it the “Great Basin”.  The  Great Basin is defined as an area of internal drainage systems bordered by the Rocky Mountains on the east, the Sierra Nevada on the west, the Columbia Plateau on the north and the Colorado Plateau on the south. Surface waters within this expansive area never reach the ocean, but are confined to closed basins which ultimately drain to terminal lakes, playas, or sinks.

The GreatBasin covers an area of approximately 205,780 square miles and includes nearly all of Nevada, much of eastern California, western Utah, southeastern Oregon, and portions of southern Idaho.

The Great Basin is characterized by considerable variation in its topography, with one record example for adjacent valley bottoms and mountain tops being the vertical relief of 11,331 feet between Badwater in Death Valley (282 feet below sea level) and nearby Telescope Peak in the Panamint Range (elevation 11,049 feet).

[Personal note:  During a 1972 Lafayette College geology field trip, I stood across Death Valley from Telescope Peak, gazing at the 11,331 feet of elevation difference right in front of me.]

The most extreme example of this variable topography within the Great Basin is the elevation difference of 14,744 feet over a distance of 84 miles which separates Death Valley from the summit of Mount Whitney (14,462 feet).

More typically, the difference between the Great Basin’s mountaintops and valley bottoms ranges from 3,800 feet to 7,600 feet with an average difference of 5,800 feet.

Back to Wiki, a little more about Lovelock:

Some twenty miles south of the town is the Lovelock Native Cave, a horseshoe-shaped cave of about 35 ft width and 150 ft length where Northern Paiute natives anciently deposited a number of duck decoys and other artifacts.

Could use a little editing.  Not a word about how ancient, and “anciently deposited” is a peculiar way to describe what the natives did to duck decoys.  But worth investigating.  From the Wiki entry about the cave:

The large rock shelter is next to the shore of the Pleistocene Lake Lahontan a large lake that covered much of Nevada during the most recent glacial epoch. It was formed by the lake’s currents and wave action. It was first a rock shelter. Eventually an earthquake collapsed the overhang of the mouth.

To give you an idea of how big the lake was, here’s a GE Panoramio shot by Baker7598 looking across the valley from the mouth of the cave.  Keep in mind that lake wave action helped form the cave:

pano baker7598

Back to the Wiki write-up:

The dry environment of the cave resulted in a wealth of well-preserved artifacts that provide a glimpse on how people lived in the area. Lovelock Cave was in use as early as 2580 BC but was not intensely inhabited until around 1000 BC.  People occupied Lovelock Cave for over 4,000 years.

In 1911 two miners, David Pugh and James Hart, were hired to mine for bat guano from the cave to be used as fertilizer. They removed a layer of guano estimated to be three to six feet deep, and dumped it in a heap outside of the cave. The miners were aware of the artifacts but only the most interesting specimens were saved.

L.L. Loud of the Paleontology Department at the University of California was contacted by the mining company when the refuse left by the ancient people proved so plentiful that fertilizer could no longer be collected.

The most renowned discovery at Lovelock Cave was a cache of eleven duck decoys. M.R. Harrington and L.L. Loud found when they were digging for the Museum of the American Indian in 1924. The remarkable decoys were made from bundled tule, a long grass-like herb, covered in feathers and painted.

Here’s a Wiki picture of one of the decoys by Mark R. Harrington:

Lovelock_Cave_decoy_Autry

Amazing!

Before closing this post out with my usual Panoramio shots, here’s a true confession.  I had finished up the draft of this post, and was typing the “tags.”  As I started to type “Lovelock,” Word Press finished it for me, saying “Lovelock Nevada.”  Oops, I thought, I landed here previously and never checked out my previous post!  Well, in fact I did land here previously (October 2009).  There’s just a minor bit of repetition, so I strongly recommend that upon finishing up this post, you type “Lovelock” in the search box, and check out my earlier post.  It’s excellent!

All righty then.  It’s time for some Panoramio shots from near my landing.  Here’s a shot just 1.5 miles NW of my landing by Nitro929:

 pano nitro929 1.5 mi ne

I’ll close with this shot taken a couple of miles north of my landing, looking west on Coal Canyon Road, heading down to the Humboldt Valley (by David Goulart):

 pano david goulart  2 mi nw

That’ll do it . . .

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Beowawe, Nevada (revisited)

Posted by graywacke on May 25, 2015

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (and now pretty much a once-every-three-or-four days blog), I have my computer select 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 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean in the first paragraph), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Landing number 2184; A Landing A Day blog post number 612.

Dan:  Yo Landing God!  Give me a break!  Six OSers in a row and my highest Score since November 2013, thanks to this landing in NV; 90/79; 3/10; 6; 151.5.  Plus, enough of Nevada, already.  Check this out:

Between landing 2121 and landing 2184 (64 landings), I’ve landed in NV 8 times!  8 is 12.5% of 64.  Nevada’s area is 110,567 sq mi; that of the lower 48 is 3,061,363 sq. mi.  Nevada’s area is 3.6% of that of the lower 48.  So I’ve landed in Nevada at about 4 times the rate that I should have over the last 64 landings.  That’s what Over-Subscribed (OS) is all about . . .

Anyway, enough bellyaching.  Here’s my regional landing map:

 landing 1

My local landing shows that I’m out in the middle of nowhere (I’ve been using that phrase a lot lately):

 landing 2

I’ll jump right to my Google Earth (GE) spaceflight aboard the yellow push pin:

 

I’ll stick with GE, showing you this shot of my local drainage pathway (the blue line).  Obviously, I landed in the Humboldt River watershed (26th hit):

 ge drainage

Showing that the Humboldt River is to Nevada what the Snake is to Idaho, here’s a map of the Humboldt River system:

 landing 3

As any regular reader might guess, I went looking on GE for StreetView coverage of a bridge over the Humboldt.  The closest spot with such coverage was in (not surprisingly) Beowawe:

 ge sv map bridge

Here’s the Street View shot of the river:

ge sv bridge

As you can see below, it was a gray day (maybe raining), unusual for Beowawe, I’m sure.  The road was wet, and the Google Cam driver must have been going at a good speed, because he was kicking up so much spray behind him that the rear-looking shot is obscured:

 ge sv bridge 2

I continued my Street View tour, jumping right into downtown Beowawe:

 ge sv map beowawe

Here’s the Street View:

 ge sv beowawe

Wait a minute!  It’s a rainy winter’s day when we’re on the bridge.  We’re a mile up the same road, and it’s a beautiful, sunny day.  What’s going on? 

The following clip is a Street View trip from the railroad tracks in Beowawe (seen above), north towards the bridge over the river.  You’ll see what happens:

 

Moving right along . . . I clearly remembered that I wrote a Beowawe post some time back, although I was surprised to learn that it was posted in March of 2009.  I quoted Wiki in that post, as follows:

Beowawe (pronounced bay-o-WAH-wee) is an unincorporated area and ghost town in Eureka County, in northeastern Nevada in the western United States.  Beowawe is a Paiute Native American word meaning “gate”.

Times have changed.  Right out of the gate, here’s what Wiki says now:

Beowawe (bay-ə-wah-wee) is a small town, misnomered on the internet as a ghost town.

Wait a second.  Microsoft Word puts a squiggly red line under Beowawe (signifying that it’s not in Word’s dictionary), but it also puts a squiggly red line under “misnomered.”  Every on-line dictionary I looked at confirms this, showing only the noun “misnomer.” 

So let me try:  Beowawe is a small town, mistakenly identified as a ghost town on the internet.  Better?

The updated Wiki entry also definitively says that Beowawe mean “gate” in Paiute.  However, the next Google entry after Wiki has the salacious title:  “Nevada town’s name may have salacious origins.”  Looks like a  must-read. 

It’s a Feburary 17, 2014 article on the Reno Gazette-Journal website by Marilyn Newton.  Here’s what she has to say about the name:

Beowawe.

The meaning of the name of the tiny Nevada town, south of I-30 between Battle Mountain and Elko, is in itself a mystery.

“Beowawe” apparently is a Native American and both the Paiute and Shoshone have some very interesting translations for it.

It seems that back in the mid-1800s a truly huge man of immense girth, one J.A. Fillmore, weighing more than 300 pounds, came to the area looking for possible town sites along the Central Pacific Railroad.

Legend says he had to relieve himself and when nearby Paiute women saw him they were so terrorized by his size, they ran screaming Bea-wa-we which was translated then very loosely as “big butt.”

Paiutes also state that part of their word “bewa” translates to “big balls.”

Local Shoshone confirm that Beowawe means one who has a large posterior. They also have a word, beacog, that means wide-spread legs, like when wiping a baby’s rear end. And their word, bewa, loosely means “the runs” or a place to take “a dump.”

Other historians say the area got its name from the conformation of hill that appears as an open gate. They say the Paiute word for gate is Beowawe. The Paiutes, however, disagree (and they should know, don’t you think?). And yet another said it is a Shoshone word meaning “big wagon.”

Whatever the meaning of Beowawe, it was always a tiny community and today only the few residents who call the place home keep it from becoming a ghost town. A number of old ruins remain.

Well, there you have it.  And note that she says it has a few residents that keep it from being a ghost town.

As I discussed in my 2009 post, there used to be a geyser field outside of Beowawe that was destroyed by power companies exploiting the geyser field for geothermal electric power.  Here’s a video (posted by turdbird20) that shows some footage of the old geyser field and bitterly laments the fact that the geyser field was destroyed:

 

As mentioned above, the video was posted by turdbird.  I wonder if that’s the meaning of another Indian word for Beowawe.

There’s a website with lots o’ pictures of Beowawe today and yesterday – the Elko County Rose Garden (a community garden website that morphed into a more general community website).  Click here to peruse their pictures.

I’ll close with one of their shots:

 020217beo_dee8

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

 

© 2015 A Landing A Day

 

 

 

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Tuscarora, Nevada

Posted by graywacke on September 4, 2010

First timer?  In this formerly once-a-day blog (then every-other-day blog and now a two-or-three-times a week blog), I have my computer select 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 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  I guess the LG decided that four USers in a row would be too many . . . NV; 75/69; 5/10; 2; 155.0.  Here’s my landing that shows  that I landed in the middle of nowhere (typical for NV):


Note the scale, and the fact that there aren’t even any roads (let alone towns).  I have to move out a little to see some roads and towns:


Here’s an even broader view:


For the 24th time, I landed in the Humboldt R watershed.  As you know well by now, the Humboldt is internally drained, and ends up in the dead end Humboldt Lake.

Here’s my GE shot, showing a very dry, very hilly, very empty terrain:


Here’s an oblique GE shot, looking east, showing pretty much more of the same:

Nearby (surprise!) is a huge mining operation.  Here’s a GE shot looking past the mine towards my landing:


I would usually do some research on the mine, but for some reason, I didn’t bother . . .

So, if you look up at my second landing map, you can see that I landed closest to the town of Tuscarora, which is about 19 miles away.  You’ll not be surprised to learn that it’s a former mining town that’s now pretty much a ghost town.

About Tuscarora, from Ghosttowns.com:

Placer deposits were discovered near Tuscarora in July of 1867. Nothing much happened until 1869 when the first Chinese moved into the area. By the end of the year more than 200 Chinese miners had arrived and formed a Chinatown adjacent to the Tuscarora camp. The Chinese became more efficient than the whites in placer mining primarily because they were willing to work harder and longer. In 1870, Tuscarora had a population of 119 of which 104 were Chinese and 15 were white

During the early 1870s, the frustrated white miners left the placer operations and began prospecting in the nearby hills. Silver was discovered and Tuscarora became a silver mining town. Mills were built to process the ore, stage lines included the town in their routes, businesses flourished, schools were built, and Tuscarora became the place to be. The two most productive years were 1878 and 1879. The population had reached 1,500. In each of those years, Tuscarora’s mines yielded more than $1 million worth of bullion.

But fires that had spared the town during the first few years of its existence began to plague to town. That, together with a new discovery in the Wood River region of Idaho started a small exodus from Tuscarora. During the mid 1880s, the big mines of the 1870s began to play out and the population slipped to less than 1,000. The town continued to suffer and many businesses closed their doors. The stage coaches were full leaving town and empty upon their return. During the ensuing years there were many attempts at revival but none succeeded in returning the town to its previous glory

Today, Tuscarora is classified as a ghost town although there are a few people still living there. Visitors are guaranteed to enjoy themselves.

Here’s the “Welcome to Tuscarora” sign (photo by Rich Bauer, from Barraclou.com):


Pretty funny how someone procured a “Welcome to Nevada” sign and then fixed it up a little.  You have to love the giant grasshopper.

Of course, there are broken down trucks:


Here’s a shot of a property that’s still occupied:


There’s an old mining pit filled with water in Tuscarora:


Perusing my landing map, I saw a blip on the map labeled “Dinner Station.”  Here’s a landing map oriented further east.  Today’s landing is the western-most, but just south of the eastern-most landing, you’ll see Dinner Station:


Intrigued, I Googled it, and found it to be a ghost town as well.  From Ghosttowns.com

Stage lines need stations along the route for the convenience of passengers. The best known along the Elko to Tuscarora line was Dinner Station. The first station was a wooden building built in 1860s. The fare to Dinner Station from Elko was three dollars. In 1880 the station burned to the ground and was replaced by a new two-story stone structure that was “the handsomest and most comfortable wayside hostelry in the state of Nevada.”

In 1888 a saloon and a small store opened next to the station and the population grew to about forty people. In addition to serving meals, the station could sleep twenty people and the barn could hold up to seventy-five horses. Over the years a good-sized ranch grew up around the station but with the advent of the automobile the need for the station diminished. The station still stands and is open to visitors. HBC

Here’s a picture of Dinner Station by D.A. Wright (from ghosttowns.com):


I stumbled on this from the Elko County Rose Garden site (elkorose.com):

The area between Lone Mountain Station and Dinner Station (names come from when stagecoaches and freight wagons traveled between Elko and  Tuscarora, Nevada) contains what is widely considered to be a meteorite impact field (many small and intermediate sized craters).

Here are a couple of pictures of small craters.  This one shows a crater just to the left of the hill top (and maybe one to the right as well):

Here’s a more obvious one:


I’ll close with this general Nevada landscape shot, which is taken a little east of my landing:


That’ll do it. . .

KS

Greg

© 2010 A Landing A Day

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Lovelock, Nevada

Posted by graywacke on October 2, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-day blog, I have my computer select 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 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  The situation’s getting a little more serious now – yes, I’m on an 0/4 run due to my landing in . . . NV; 70/65; 5/10 (0/4); 12; 152.1.  Here’s my landing map, showing my proximity to Lovelock and the Humboldt River:

aalanding

This was my 21st landing in the Humboldt R watershed; this time I landed fairly close to the end of the Humboldt, where it runs into Humboldt Lake (about 12 miles S of my landing).  Of course, no water leaves Humboldt Lake; it just soaks in and/or evaporates.  Here’s a map, showing my proximity to Humboldt Lake:

aalanding2

I’ve discussed the Humboldt before; it’s the longest internally-drained river in the U.S., with a length of about 300 miles (all within Nevada).  Staying with the Humboldt, I’ll present some photos of the river and the lake.  I’ll start with these two shots of the river, just upstream from where it empties into the lake.  Note that it is often dry; obviously these pictures were taken after significant desert rains:

aahumboldt upstream from lake

aahumbold river upstream from lake

Here’s a shot of the lake itself (taken at the same time as the river pictures):

aalake humboldt

A gentleman named Lawrence K. Hersh, a photographer, railroad lover and historian, put together a book entitled “Central Pacific Railroad Across Nevada, 1868 and 1997 Photographic Comparatives.”  Two of the comparative photos are taken near Humboldt Lake.  First this picture from 1868, with Mr. Hersh’s caption below the picture:

aa1868

Photo number 316, “End of Track, near Humboldt Lake,” circa 1868, is an excellent view to the southwest, showing a construction train stopped, headed eastbound, with lots of tents in the foreground.  These tents were probably occupied by Chinese, whose contribution to the construction of this railroad made the Transcontinental Railroad a reality. The railroad grade parallels the west side of Humboldt Lake.

Here’s his 1997 shot taken from the same place, with his caption below:

aa1997

Photo number 97316, taken in May of 1997, shows the general spot Alfred A. Hart photographed in 1868, from atop the sand hill on the east side of the railroad grade. This is one of my favorite photo sites. I can spend hours exploring this area, thinking only of going back in time, while standing on top of the sand hill. It appears as if the trail seen in the foreground of photo 316 can still be seen in today’s photo.

On to the town of Lovelock.  From the town’s website:

Lovelock, Nevada (the County Seat of Pershing County) lies in a meadow valley with the Humboldt Range to the east and the Trinity and Seven Troughs ranges to the north and west. This valley was known to settlers as Big Meadows because of the abundance of grass and water. It was favored as a resting place before continuing on to California and Oregon.

In 1868, the history of Lovelock changed with the building of the Central Pacific Railroad through Pershing County. Like many Nevada railroad towns, Lovelock had a thriving Chinese population and a large mining community. By 1900, Lovelock featured a school, churches and a business district.

On March 19, 1919, Pershing County was created and Lovelock was named the county seat. Pershing County is named after General John J. Pershing, a World War I hero, and the town is named for George Lovelock, an early homesteader and storekeeper.

Here’s an overview photo of downtown Lovelock:

lovelock view

The impressive-looking building in the above picture is the courthouse.  Here’s a close-up:

01_courthouse

Heading back in time again, here’s an excerpt from an 1849 journal entry, written by a visitor to Lovelock (then referred to as Big Meadows):

“This marsh for three miles is certainly the liveliest place that one could witness in a lifetime. There are some two hundred and fifty wagons here all the time. Wagon trains going out and others coming in and taking their places is the constant order of the day. Cattle and mules by the hundreds are surrounding us, in grass to their knees, all discoursing sweet music with the grinding of their jaws.

“Men are seen hurrying in many different ways and everybody attending to his own business. Some mowing, some reaping, some packing the grass, others spreading it out to dry, or collecting that already dry and fixing it for transportation.  In fact the joyous laugh and the familiar sound of the whetted scythe gives an air of happiness and contentment around that must carry the wearied travelers through to the “Promised Land.” The scene reminds one of a large encampment of the army, divided off into separate and distinct parties, everybody minding his own business and letting other people alone.”

I really enjoyed the above piece and the expression of pure joy!  How about the cattle and mules, “all discoursing sweet music with the grinding of their jaws . . .”

Moving right along – I stumbled on an interesting road trip blog, with a lovely photo taken near Lovelock:

rain and sunlight near lovelock

In addition to the travel blog, the author’s website contains much about baseball (statistics, scorekeeping and history).  Baseball is obviously his passion.  Click here to check it out.

I’ll close with this shot of the Trinity Range, just west of my landing:

Trinity Range

That’ll do it.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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Beowawe, Nevada

Posted by graywacke on March 3, 2009

First timer? In this once-a-day blog, I have my computer select 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 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 and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” above.

Dan –  Well, the slide continues.  Four, count ’em, four WBers in a row.  AZ, then WY, then SD, and now . . . NV; 62/60; 2/10; 7; 168.0.  This is my highest Score since December 1st!   For the 17th time, I landed in the Humboldt River watershed.  The Humboldt, as I’m sure you know, is the largest single internally-drained watershed in the U.S.  It meanders across northern NV, and ends up in a dead-end lake:  Humboldt Lake.  From Wiki:

The Humboldt River runs through northern Nevada.  At approximately 300 miles (480 km) long, it is the longest river in the arid Great Basin of North America.  It has no outlet to the ocean, but instead empties into the Humboldt Sink. It is the largest river in the United States, in terms of discharge, that does not ultimately reach the ocean.  Through its tributaries the river drains most of sparsely populated northern Nevada, traversing the state roughly east to west, and passing through repeated gaps in the north-south running mountain ranges. 

It furnishes the only natural transportation artery across the Great Basin, and has provided a route for the historical route for westward migration, railroads, and modern highways.  The river is named for the German naturalist Alexander von Humboldt.

Here’s a map showing the river’s course:

 nvmap-doton-humboldtriver

Here’s a nice picture of the river not far from my landing:

 carlincanyonnv

Here’s my landing map, showing that I landed near Beowawe.  Don’t worry, we’ll get to the proper pronunciation shortly.

 landing39

And a broader view:

 beowawe

Here’s a picture of the Humboldt River at Beowawe:

 020120beowawe_humboldteast

Anyway, back to the town of Beowawe.  Oh my, what a strange name.  From Wiki:

Beowawe (pronounced bay-o-WAH-wee) is an unincorporated area and ghost town in Eureka County, in northeastern Nevada in the western United StatesBeowawe is a Paiute Native American word meaning “gate”.

Beowawe was officially founded in 1868 with the arrival of the railroad.  The town reached its peak around 1881 with a population of 60 people. In 1909 a power plant was built but, like many ghost towns, the boom had ended by 1916 and many of the residents had moved on. Currently, Beowawe is once again tied to energy production, the home to both a geothermal power plant and a large propane tank farm near the railroad.

Beowawe is also the name of one of two geyser fields located in the region (the other is Steamboat Springs). Geyser activity in both fields was destroyed by the creation of the local dual-flash geothermal power plant in 1985.

Here’s a picture of the post office and store that are now gone from old Beowawe:

post-office-and-store-now-gone

Check out my landing map.  “The Geysers” & “Hot Springs” are shown west of my landing.  Here’s some more info about the geyser field:

 Beowawe Geyser Field was located in central Nevada between Elko and Battle Mountain. The field and steam were visible from the Interstate. The geyser field itself was located on the side of a hill and immediately at the bottom of the slope. This small basin was considered for national monument status, but apparently a political rivalry caused its disapproval. In the 1950s, geothermal drilling began the downward spiral of geyser activity at Beowawe. The sinter shield from geothermal activity can still be seen on the side of the hill, but steam issues only occasionally from several steam wells at the top of the hillside. Geyser fields normally occur in rhyolites and in volcanic areas. Beowawe is quite rare in that it possessed neither of these characteristics. Now, this rare and wonderful place is gone.

Here’s a not-so-great 1931 picture of the geyser field:

 1931-hot-spring

Here’s a 1971 picture showing a “geyser.”  I’m not sure if this is natural, or coming up out of a well (I suspect the latter).

 beowawe-geyser-1971

And here’s some recent signage:

 020217beo_power1

From elkrose.com

Beowawe is a place where many have passed through but few have remained.  It has seen the likes of Indians, trappers, traders, emigrants, miners, ranchers, railroaders, ministers and school marms.  But the town hasn’t been able to provide a lasting home for them.  They have come, stayed for a while, and gone.  The school  has closed, the church is closed; the post office, grocery store and even the bar have closed down. 

Beowawe may soon come back into the news.  It is one of several planned alternative routes to ship spent nuclear waste to Nevada’s Yucca Mountain in southern Nevada.   Here the nuclear waste would be unloaded from the Western Pacific railroad.  Then shipped by a yet to be constructed 320-mile railroad spur from here to Yucca Mountain. 

Right in Beowawe is a cemetery with a somewhat-famous grave, known as the “Maiden’s Grave.”  It turns out that maiden’s name was Lucinda Duncan.  Here’s quite the picture of Lucinda’s cross which is part of a very interesting blog post about Lucinda.  Click here for the post.

 lucindaduncanimage

From the Oregon-California trails association website:

The grave of Lucinda Duncan in Beowawe has traditionally been called  “The Maiden’s Grave.” Far from being a maiden, Lucinda Duncan was a seventy-year old grandmother traveling with her family to Galena, Nevada, from their home near Richmond, Ray County, Missouri in 1863.

Lucinda was born in Virginia, ca. 1792. Early in life she moved with her parents to Kentucky, where she married Daniel Duncan in 1820.  By the 1840s, they had moved to Missouri and had a family of 8 children.   In 1849 Daniel Duncan and his three oldest sons joined a wagon train captained by Lucinda’s cousin, Judge Daniel Parker. Daniel Duncan died in the California gold fields late in 1849. Lucinda Duncan remained a widow for the rest of her life.

In 1863, Lucinda and her family decided to emigrate to Nevada, then in the midst of a gold and silver boom. Lucinda was called the “mother of the wagon train” as it consisted primarily of her seven surviving children, their wives and husbands, many grandchildren, and various other close relatives. It was said that Lucinda, still strong and vigorous at the age of seventy, occasionally drove her own horse-drawn carriage, the only team of horses in the company of sixty ox teams and wagons.

Accounts of the death of Lucinda Duncan vary. Family stories say that she suffered a heart attack on the trail above Gravely Ford, lingered for a day and then died the night of August 15. The only contemporary account comes from the diary of James Yager, one of the contingent of non-Duncans in the train.

Sunday Morning 16. An event occurred last night that has cast a gloom over our camp; the death of one of its members. An old lady the mother and grandmother of a large part of our train. She had been sick for several days & night before last she became very ill so much so our train was compelled to lay over yesterday & last night she died. She was pious and beloved by the whole train, relatives & strangers. Her relatives took her death very hard. All of her children and grandchildren were present except a grandson who is in the confederate army.

Camp Wide Meadows Monday 17. We left Camp Reality yesterday about noon. Before leaving Mrs. Duncans funeral was preached by Captain Peterson [Peterson was captain of another train.] Her remains were carried to its last resting place as we proceeded on our journey & up on a high point to our left about one mile from camp, we paid our last debt & respect to the remains of the departed mother. There upon that wild & lonely spot, we left her, until Gabriel shall sound his trumpet in the last day. The scene was truly a sad one to leave a beloved mother on the wild & desolate plains. A board with the name of the deceased was put up at the head & boulders was laid over the grave to keep wolves from scratching in it. After this the train moved on.

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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