Wednesday, October 24, 2012

High Rock Canyon

Treasure Hunting

That's right, for a little over two weeks, I was obsessed with Treasure Hunting in honor of Nevada Day (a state holiday). It wasn't so much about trying to find a medallion that would be awarded $1,000 to the winner, as it was about researching Nevada history and trying to figure out clues obsessively.

Our search led us to Northern Nevada, north of the Black Rock Desert (where Burning Man is held) to which we couldn't resist driving on the playa where record speeds have been marked in the Guiness Book of World Records. I paid for this by scrubbing and detailing every nook and cranny of my car for two and half hours thereafter. We then drove past Fly Geyser (which was torture for a photographer to drive past and not stop, it's on Private Land and special arrangements must be made to see this phenomenon).

We were hopeful that the treasure would be off the Applegate Trail where wagons ventured out West years ago. We discovered that those wagoneers coming out of the Black Rock Desert had to lower their wagons into the canyon by rope to proceed west in an area nearby. By this point, cattle and livestock traveling may not have survived as resources started drying up. Names of some passing through (see photo at top) were recorded near a cave. Famous historian, Joseph Goldsborough Bruff, drew many sketches and maps of his travels, and even wrote a list of those passing through with him and tied it up to the top of the cave. In the canyon south, Little High Rock Canyon, is the location of the last Indian Massacre of 1911.

How long did it take us to get there? That's a good question. Leaving Reno at 6:30am, we passed Fly Geyser around 9:30am, which is the last area of pavement off Highway 34. From there we proceeded up Highway 34 (now a gravel road) another 20 miles or so, and turned right off a dirt road a few miles past Leadville (an old mining ghost town). From there, it was 14 miles via an off-road trail which took us another hour and twenty minutes (more out of fear that a rock would pierce the tire and we would have to hike miles in the desert before seeing another human being with no cell service). We arrived back in Reno around 6:00pm.

We arrived at the Applegate Trail leading into High Rock Canyon around Noon, from there is was another two miles trompling the narrow trail amidst sage brush. This gave us about an hour, before we felt like we should head back before the sun started to sink behind the mountains. Not to mention, that the nearest gas station in Gerlach, NV is about 60 miles away.  

Fortunately we went on the perfect day in mid October, just one week before Nevada's first snow. The weather in the desert was beautiful. Had it been in the middle of summer, it would have been scorching, not to mention the rattlesnakes that thrive here in the desert. Other wildlife we had to keep an eye on were ticks in the brush near the cave, or mountain lion and bats that could have been napping in the cave. Though I would have enjoyed seeing a Big Horn Sheep known to reside in the area.

 We did see wild horses lapping up some water in a pond. In all my adventures, this was truly a unique treat, to be able to get so far away from civilization where the silence is literally deafening.

Though we didn't find the treasure, the adventure was worth way more...
We weren't even close.
The treasure was found only 15 miles from home.
I think we got so caught up in wanting it to be somewhere cool like that,
that we made ourselves point all the clues to that location.
But... it was the first time I've been passionate about something in over a year.
Ever since my return from European travels,
history has been a new found love that has only grown with each passing day.

Follow Simply Colette

No comments:

Post a Comment


Author Interview

I'm very excited to be able to share my author interview with you! Many people have asked questions about my book, 'Running Away to ...