Saturday, Nov 4th was grocery day in Pahrump, NV. Jeff had found the Pahrump Valley Museum so we stopped for a tour. A very nice museum with a very good overview of the Yucca Mountain Nuclear Depository. Also, a train room which was in progress with more work before the display could be opened. We got a preview as train buffs.
After lunch and grocery shopping we returned to Furnace Creek.
Our next big hike was to “Big Bird Canyon”. It is about a 1.5 mile hike up a wash into a canyon with large fossil footprints of a big 3 toed bird. I was last in this canyon in 2010. We spent more time looking for other footprints and believe we found more than previous visits. We walked further up the canyon looking for some rock alignments we had found years ago. Unfortunately, time did not improve my memory as to their where abouts. We decided that a further 1 or 2 mile hike would be required to find them but next year, not today. As it was we had about a 0.8 mile hike back to the vehicles after we reached the highway.
3 toed fossil bird footprints.
We again were looking for grave sites but this time it was up Echo Canyon to the town site of Schwab. I thought I had been to Schwab but had only been to the Inyo mine. We could only drive to with 1.3 miles of Schwab as the park service has blocked the road. So hike we did. We found the grave sites because of a photo our friend Tom had on his iPad. There could be more grave sites based on depressions in the ground which may be collapsed graves. Hard to know for sure.
Grave site at Schwab.
The National Park Service opened up the Keene Wonder mine site which had been closed for 9.5 years die to suspected arsenic in the ground and mine tailings. They also re-enforced some of the mine structures. There was a grand opening which we did not attend due to limited parking, instead we waited a day to explore the site.
Keen Wonder mine with towers in the background.
Having this site open means there are several canyons and mines which can now be explored. We decided to check out the Johnny Cyty mine which is about a mile from the Keen Wonder. Along the way we crossed several small streams which are the output of springs. These springs provided water for the mines but all are highly sulfated in fact so much so that we could not stay near the source for long because of the smell.
Johnny Cyty's cabin.
Johnny Cyty's mine.
The remainder of the trip had us participating in lectures and programs put on by the Death Valley 49ers. All were really interesting.
I need to talk about the Desert Ballon Recovery Crew or DBRC. We started collecting mylar ballons last year and contined doing it this year. We found a total of 31 this year, 9 in one day. Mylar ballons are hazardous to electrical wires and animals. Jeff has created a Facebook page to show our colections. Check it out.
Mylar ballons on our camp cloths line.