Cal-Neva Neva Land
A Trip Write Up
by Bob & Sue Jaussaud
The desert is beautiful and her wildflowers once again put on a spectacular show for us. There were lupine, chicory, mallow, phacelia, desert star, brittle bush, dandelions, yucca blossoms and countless belly flowers. At Camp Thurman in the Newberry Mountains the ground was so covered with white flowers that it looked like there had been a fresh snowfall.
On Friday evening before starting the trip, we watched a near full moon rise over the Colorado River and enjoyed a BBQ dinner with good friends Allan & Ding Wicker, Dick & Connie Taylor and Sassy, June Box, Joan McGovern-White, Mignon Slentz and Jim Proffitt.
Our convaluted route Saturday took us on several abandoned alignments of Old Route 66 and Old National Trails Highway. We stopped at historic Santa Fe sidings Java and Ibex. Along the way we saw petroglyphs, ancient hunting blinds, grinding rocks, remains of old rock dwellings, long abandoned corrals, wells and water tanks belonging to the OX Ranch and even a "T. More" inscription. WWII insignias and stars left on the desert by the "Greatest Generation" before they shipped out to the Ardennes were still evident at Camp Ibis. We found cave homes left by miners trying to scratch out a living at Homer Mountain many years ago. Two surprise guests on our trek were a friendly desert tortoise and an equally friendly horned toad.
Saturday evening threatened to be windy and cool, so the group consensus was to head for a lower elevation and camp in style on the Colorado River once again. Dinner was another wonderful feast complete with special margaritas, two versions of chicken, BBQ hot links, cheesy potatoes, a wonderful green salad and home made carrot cake. After dinner we indulged ourselves with Starbucks coffee and Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake. Once again, we watched as the moon rose over the river. Fortified with an abundance of wine, we managed to stay up around the campfire telling stories until the wee hour of 9 PM.
By Sunday morning we were down to just 5 hardy souls. This trip has to go down in the archives of MOE and the Desert Explorers as the trip with the greatest attrition rate. The DE humorously acknowledges that a 10% loss is acceptable, but we far exceeded that. At the peak we had 25 people signed up for the trip but 11 canceled and 5 were no shows. We lost 1 Saturday morning and 4 more left us before the start of the Sunday portion of the trip. That is a full 80% of our participants gone! We surely have set an infamous record for both MOE and the DE that may never be equaled again.
Anyway, Sunday was warm, beautiful and (best of all) there was no wind. The illustrious 5 remaining (Dick & Connie, Mignon, Sue & Bob) headed into the Newberry Mountains. Our first stop was at the Roman Mine where we met the caretaker, Roger. The Roman Mine is not currently active, but is ready to go back into production at any time. All their equipment is still in place. From the Roman Mine we headed up a side canyon to a nice intact cabin beautifully situated at the base of Spirit Mountain. Returning down canyon, we reached the site of Camp Thurman, a 1914 vintage town that was supplied by steam boats coming up the Colorado River. From Camp Thurman we followed another scenic canyon road to the Golden Rod Mine, an abandoned 20th century mine with a beautiful view of Lake Mohave. After lunch, we found the road to Nap Canyon and hiked amidst the prolific rock art there. Continuing north we reached the remains of the Mammoth Mine. Tip Top Well was our last stop before arriving at Searchlight and trip's end. Many thanks to all of you who came and contributed your enthusiasm, curiosity, and sense of humor (along with some fabulous food), and special thanks to Dick, Connie, and Sassy for being our very efficient "sweeps" both Saturday and Sunday.