Black Rock Desert Outing
June 2006

Photos by Steve Knight. Captions by Tom Fee and Don Buck.


Third time is the charm? We did it!

Members of the California-Nevada Chapter of OCTA, BLM Archaeologist Dave Valentine, and archaeology graduate students conducted an archaeological survey of the area around Black Rock Springs. Our task was to record trail features, prehistoric artifacts, and ranching remains at Black Rock Springs on the Applegate Trail.

We rendezvoused at Gerlach Friday afternoon, June 23, and due to a still wet playa, took the roundabout way to reach Black Rock Springs, by way of Mud Meadow Reservoir and Double Hot Springs. On Saturday, June 24, we systematically walked the area looking for artifacts and then flagged them. Late afternoon Saturday we had a happy hour featuring, courtesy of John Winner, El Dorado County’s fine wines. That was followed by a great potluck, featuring Dave Valentine’s Dutch-oven meatloaf.

On Sunday, June 25 we systematically recorded the artifacts and pulled the flags. The weather was beautiful, although very hot, reaching near record highs. Despite the heat, we had a wonderful time! With the playa drying out enough over the weekend, we were able to drive across the playa to Gerlach on Sunday afternoon.

A few members stopped off after crossing the playa to assist Dave Valentine in locating and mapping the old Humboldt Wagon Road leading out of the Granite Creek Station site.

Chapter members participating were: Jim Allison, Bob Black, Dick Brock, Don Buck, Linda Corwin, Chuck Dodd, Harold Drake, Joyce Everett, Tom Fee, Terry Hardwicke, Steve & Patty Knight, Rod Latimer, Dee "Mac" McKenzie, Bob McKenzie, Alison Portello, John Schwede, John Winner, and Herman Zittel.

Alison Portello, Terry Hardwicke and Tom Fee in front of Bruno's in Gerlach just before leaving for Black Rock Springs on Friday afternoon.

Traveling south to Black Rock Springs, the long way around, to avoid the wet Playa.

Herman Zittel, (????), John Schwede, Bob Black, Tom Fee, and Terry Hardwicke at Double Hot Springs on the way to Black Rock Springs.

Steve Knight and the Trails West Marker at Double Hot Springs.

Dee "Mac" McKenzie and son Bob McKenzie in camp at Black Rock Springs.

Jim Allison and Joyce Everett in camp.

Beautiful Black Rock Desert scene at dusk. It doesn't get any better than this!

Archaeologist Dave Valentine and Survey Crew viewing selected artifacts.

Mac McKenzie walks down sand dune while a flagger, examines an artifact.

Rod Latimer holding up an old iron pipe.

Iron pipe found by Rod Latimer.

Sand dunes and the Black Rock near Black Rock Springs.

Dave Valentine and Don Buck resting in camp at Black Rock Springs.

Archaeology graduate students lining up for the potluck.

Don Buck and Tom Fee cheerfully and enthusiastically anticipating another 110 degree work day.

John Winner saluting a great day with his select El Dorado County wines.

Trails West Marker on the Applegate Trail at Black Rock Springs.

Remains of sheepherder's wagon at Black Rock Springs.

Trails West Marker at Double Hot Springs.

Double Hot Springs.

Driving across the playa to Gerlach on Sunday.

Trails West Marker on the Nobles Trail at Granite Creek.

Don Buck pointing out possible trail routes south of Granite Creek on Nobles Trail.

Dave Valentine and Bob Black, with others in background, searching for trail remains south of Granite Creek.

Searching for remains of the Nobles Trail/Humboldt Wagon Road leading out of Granite Creek Station site: Jim Allison, Bob Black, Don Buck, Joyce Everett, and Dave Valentine.