Monday, December 28, 2009

Ride 11: Horse Spring-Valatier Ridge-GB Mine

Lower Gold Butte from Valatier Peak
You've heard of the "road less traveled"? Well, this is the road-less-traveled's road less traveled!  [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: Ride 11: Horse Spring-Valatier Ridge-GB Mine]

We took Gordon's RZR and my Kodiak for an 'explore' that even Christopher Robbin and Pooh would be proud of!

You know, the ride down New Gold Butte Road through our 'million acre woods' is a bit long; and, when you've done it a few times, a bit… monotonous (if you ever could call such thing monotonous).

Most of the time one just leaves the
Whitney Junction Trailhead , Nevada USA
[36.522978, -114.140209]
and goes whizzing by all the side trails on one's way to (fill in the blank); but not this time!

We've decided to see where those roads go, and to – find things. One, because they're part of our history; and "B," because if the fiends of gold butte and the Mesquite mayor have their way we may never be able to do it!

[You may also notice that in this post I am trying a new system for annotating geo-coordinates of places. Behind the scenes, in the programming, they are also tagged so that other web-based programs can gather these coordinates for maps and other uses. They are a lot of work to program, so I'll try it on this post to see how it works.]

We decided to look for every trail leading off the main road and take any one which looked like it might lead to somewhere interesting. The first turned out to be a short "frontage" road down a wash which led to a corral and a couple specimens of Cottontop Cactus – a bit unique for the area.

Then we decided to try and find the historical locations of
Copper City , Nevada USA
[36.413840, -114.123060]
Bauer , Nevada USA
[36.356060, -114.124700]
, realizing that they just may well be a "spot" on the road any more.

Actually, Copper City was un-noticeable at a trail junction and we didn't quite make it to Bauer because we stopped and had lunch at
Horse Spring , Nevada USA
[36.349811, -114.129815]
. That is a neat place!

Probably due to the recent weather there was actually water in the springs and an eagle seems to regularly patrol the area. There is a 5-6 foot high rock wall almost entirely across the valley and up to the hills – sort of like the "Great Wall of Horse Spring." What makes it interesting is that it was constructed using a lot of 3-man rocks!

I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.”
Susan Sontag

Heading out to meet the main road we saw yet another trail leading up onto
Valatier Ridge , Nevada USA
[36.328371, -114.135728]
and followed it. It was a bit steep and slightly out of camber but, wow… what a view. The crisp, cool air made it easy to see clear up to Whitney and down to the lake.

Our diversions were eating up the time so we deflected down to
Gold Butte Mine , STATE USA
[36.275476, -114.192763]
for the benefit of someone who hadn't been there before. Even there, following marked trails which we hadn't been on before led us to several mine shafts of the Gold Butte claim.

In all a great day even if, or especially because, the weather was crisp and cool. We were dressed for it and had just begun to scratch the surface of what is down there. This one is definitely a "do over."


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