Bristlecone Pine (Pinus longaeva)

Blown by wind, and ravaged by time, the Bristlecone pine tree is a silent sentinel of the White Mountains in eastern central California.  Only growing high in subapline mountains, Bristlecone pine trees are among the oldest living organisms, reaching ages of 5000 years old, with on specimen being documented at 5,067 years old by Tom Harlan who aged the tree by ring count.  That calculation confirms this one individual tree to be the oldest living non-clonal organism on the planet.

A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA

A Bristlecone Pine (not the oldest) located in the White Mountains, CA

The Bristlecone pine groves are found between 5,600 and 11,200 ft of elevation on mountain slopes with dolomitic coils.  This harsh alkaline soil gives the Bristlecone a competitive advantage because over plants and tree are unable to grow.  The trees grow very slowly due cold temperatures, arid soil, wind and short growing seasons.

Continue Reading →

Bitter Springs

Bitter Springs is a 28 miles back country road which connects I-15 to the North shore Road highway 167 located inside Lake Mead National Recreation Area near Echo Bay.  The trail takes you by old mining roads and washes throughout the Muddy Mountains.

To reach the trail head, head North on the I-15 from Las Vegas. Exit the Valley of Fire offramp (exit 75), and turn right towards the state park, Valley of Fire. There is a lot of excellent camping in Valley of Fire.

Unless you have a need for fireworks or booze, proceed past the Moapa Indian Reservation store. After three miles the paved road bends left. The trail is the dirt road heading straight into the dessert towards the mountains.

Continue Reading →

Burro Wash

This scenic backcountry adventure takes you down Burro Wash into the depths of Black Canyon below Hoover Dam by the only route possible on the Nevada side of the Colorado River.

This is a legitimate and open 4×4 trail that will take you down some rocky descents, sandy washes and over a few minor but fun rock obstacles right before reaching the river. This trail should not be taken lightly but for the most part is stock friendly for 4 wheel drive vehicles equipped with low range gears and all-terrain tires. This is an out-and-back trail meaning you will head back the same way you came in. Down by the river would be an excellent spot to stop and have lunch so bring your lawn chairs and a camera and have some fun!

Continue Reading →

Devil’s Canyon

Devil’s Canyon in a 4×4 trail out of Jean, Nevada towards a mining district in the hills on the west side of the valley.

Devil’s Canyon Mines

  • Anchor Mine
  • Bullion Mine
  • Christmas Mine
  • Houghton Mine
  • Ireland Mine
  • Little Gem Mine
  • Monto Cristo Mine
  • New Years Mine

 

Devil’s Canyon Trail Map

 

 

Potosi – Nevada

Potosi is the oldest load mine in Nevada and the town site is located just off highway 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump, Nevada.  The site was started in 1856 by some Mormon prospectors who were lead to the location with the help of a Piute guide.  The Mormons found the site in April 1856 and a month latter it was named Potosi after the boyhood home of Nathaniel Jones.  They did not begin mining until August after a return trip to Utah for supplies.  By September, the first wagon of ore sent back to Utah for trading and three months later three wagons returned with supplies including bellows, furnace, and hearths among other things.  On Christmas day 1856, an crude adobe furnace was used to smelt ore.

In the spring of 1861, a larger smelter was setup by the Colorado Mining Company at the Potosi Spring.  News of new silver mine spread all over the west in no time.  The town of Potosi was setup 700 feet below of the Potosi Mine or the Las Vegas Silver Mines as they were called and was soon home to 100 miners.

The site continued to slowly grow and develop until 1906.  In 1913 the Empire Zinc Company purchased the rights and was soon Potosi was Nevada’s largest producer of Zinc.  After nearly 100 years of production Potosi produced about 4.5 million in lead, silver and zinc.

 

Potosi Mine and Townsite Trailmap