The story of the westward expansion is the story of the railroads. Beginning in 1862, the Union Pacific Railroad sought expansion opportunities along the western coast of the United States. To secure a foothold into California the railroads must cross the Mojave Desert and the depot in Kelso was crucial to accomplish this goal. Located at the junction of Kelbaker Road and the Kelso Cima Road, the Kelso Depot stands in testimony of the technological progress of the nations trains.
The Success Mine is an gold mine site located just off Masonic Road, the between McMillan Springs and the Chemung Mine in Mono County, CA.
As a boy growing up, I was fortunate enough to spend a great deal of time in the High Sierra mountains. When I was about five years old, I learned to fish in Lone Pine Creek under the watchful eye of my grandfather. We left camp one afternoon and walked about 50 feet to a small pool next to our campsite. My memory of this event has faded, but my recollection of the event is that I quickly caught my limit of Rainbow trout within about 30 minutes and returned to camp with a full stringer of fish. I recall my grandfather recalling later that it was the “damnedest thing”, and surely proof of beginners luck. Time embellishes all tales, and true with fish stories the facts of the actual event may no longer support the tale being told. It is true non the less that I had beginners luck!
For the next fifteen years or so, my parents, brother and I would spend a great deal of time in the High Sierra, or other camping locations. My brother and I perfected our fishing technique in the high mountain lakes and streams. We did not always catch our limit, nor did we have a desire to harvest more than we could eat that day, but we often had fresh trout for dinner. Eventually, our camping trips became further and far between and my interest in fishing waned as the cost for a licensed increased.
There was never a point in time that I was not aware of Joshua Tree’s. Growing up in Southern California, they are a common site in the high desert and after all there is a National Park named after them. Many nights I have spent camping in the national park and asking my dad about the Joshua Trees. They are just so weird. Their limbs twisted in the wind. They thrive in the harsh desert environment, yet don’t offer much shade. The are a symbol of the desert southwest, and perhaps would be THE symbol of the desert south west if not for the saguaro cactus.
Located off the Masonic Road between Bridgeport, CA and the Masonic town site, are the remains of the Chemung gold mine. The Chemung gold mine operated from from 1909 to 1938 and produced over one million dollars in gold. In the 1920s, the Chemung mine was producing low grade and high grade ore. The ore was processed onsite, and then shipped to near by Bodie for smelting.