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

Third time is the charm? We did it!

Black Rock Desert 2006

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

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.

Black Rock Desert 2006

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

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.

Black Rock Desert 2006

At Double Hot Springs on the way to Black Rock Springs.

Black Rock Desert 2006

Jim Alison and Joyce Everett in camp

Black Rock Desert 2006

Dee “Mac” McKenzie and son Bob McKenzie in camp at Black Rock Springs

Black Rock Desert 2006

Steve Knight next to the Trails West Marker at Double Hot Springs

Black Rock Desert 2006

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

Black Rock Desert 2006

Archaeologist Dave Valentine and survey crew viewing selected artifacts.

Black Rock Desert 2006

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

Black Rock Desert 2006

Rod Latimer holding up an old iron pipe.

Black Rock Desert 2006

Iron pipe found by Rod Latimer

Black Rock Desert 2006

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

Black Rock Desert 2006

Trails West marker on the Applegate Trail at Black Rock Springs

Black Rock Desert 2006

Double Hot Springs

Black Rock Desert 2006

Remains of sheepherder’s wagon at Black Rock Springs

Black Rock Desert 2006

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

Black Rock Desert 2006

Sand Dunes and the Black Rock near Black Rock Springs

Black Rock Desert 2006

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