Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Delamar, NV

Barely 20 miles west of Caliente, we camp in a BLM OHV (off-Highway Vehicle) trailhead camping area.  No one else is around except for linesmen working on new hydro towers set up along the dirt access road.  We are at the foot of Chief Mountain on the eastern edge of Delamar Valley, and what a valley it is.

Right after we set up camp, we head out for a tour of the ghost town of Delamar, some 15 miles away.  As we are about to drive away, we are treated to not one, but two Golden Eagles flying over our heads.  Brad has just frightened a jack rabbit away from the truck and we think the eagles spotted it, but they don't catch it and actually end up being chased off by a Raven!  This sighting is, for us, a first and a rare treat.  We have seen more wildlife on this trip than all of our others combined.  Unfortunately, many of them are fleeting and we don't get photos.  Here's the tally so far:
  • one Midget-Faded Rattlesnake near Cottonwood Canyon in Utah (the one Brad would have stepped on if it didn't warn us of its presence!)
  • three Gopher Snakes (non-venomous): one at Navajo Lake State Park in New Mexico, one near the Paria Contact Station in Utah, one on Cottonwood Canyon road (literally - it was crossing the road as we were leaving) in Utah
  • two Tarantulas: one at Navajo Lake State Park in New Mexico, and a really big one at Lake Mead National Recreation Area outside of Las Vegas, Nevada with Brandon
  • two Bighorn Sheep at Lake Mead NRA (they crossed the road in front of our truck)
  • one coyote at Lake Mead NRA while driving at night with Brandon
  • numerous Mule Deer between Kanab, Utah and Page, Arizona during the largest deer and antelope migration in North America (it's also hunting season - ugh!)
  • a herd of Elk in Caliente, Nevada (again - it's Elk hunting season now)
  • two Golden Eagles at our campsite in the Delamar Valley
  • one Kit Fox (this is a type of small fox, not a "kit" or baby fox) driving back to our campsite in the Delamar Valley after dark
So, after our lucky eagle encounter, we find Delamar and spend the afternoon wandering around the old mine and town sites.  Delamar was mined for gold in the late 1800s, but also as recently as the 1990s.  Most of the early miners died of silicosis from the silicon dust that results from crushing the quartz to get the gold, or maybe the cyanide used in the processing.  No safetly standards in those days.  Some 3,000 people lived in Delamar during its heyday, and we can see evidence of many stone structures which would have been homes, shops, the bank, etc.  Brad finds the mines themselves more fascinating, but I prefer to wander through the town ruins.

Our campsite in Delamar Valley, Nevada at a BLM Silver State OHV trailhead. Just us and the Joshua Tree forest.
One of the Golden Eagles perched on a Joshua Tree.
Ruins of the main mining operation in Delamar, probably the crushing and processing plant.

Delamar mines above the town ruins.

Delamar's "Main Street" ruins.
Joshua Trees in various stages of development. They were named by Mormons who believed they looked like the prophet, Joshua, with his arms raised up to the heavens. They look like bottle brushes to me.
A cholla (CHOY-ah) near our campsite. You don't want to mess with this cactus - each spike is barbed.
Grady with a boo-boo. See the dark line beside his left eye? This is the result from running into a door! He is sitting on the steps that go up to our bedroom, and Brad has closed the door at the top of the stairs to retain the heat in the living room where we are watching TV. I move suddenly and spook Grady (he's a VERY nervous nelly!) and he turns to run away only to crash his face into the door. I see the whole thing and can't help laughing, which seems to upset the cat even more as he hides under the dining table and won't sit with me for over half an hour. He seems to be fine now, but left with physical and perhaps emotional scars.

No comments:

Post a Comment