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The Pinto Basin is about 250 square miles of what most people would refer to as barren and desolate desert. The main park road skirts the edge of it, but rarely does a car stop for anything more than a quick glimpse around. At first glance, you would think it to be a very formidable wilderness. You wouldn't be wrong in the slightest bit. Especially so, during the summer months. This is the hottest and driest area in the park, and those conditions have cost people their lives. I believe three in the past year alone.
The basin is outlined in red. The three surrounding mountain ranges are also desolate. It's hard to believe now, but this area was once lush, swampy, and even had water flowing through it. Clearly, that was a long time ago.
In almost all cases in the desert, where there was water, there was also people. It was no different here. They didn't leave a lot of evidence, but they did leave some! We'll get to that in a minute. First, a few pics of the beautiful (in my eyes) scenery.
embiggen this one
Now to the petroglyphs. We were traveling down Porcupine Wash (still in Pinto Basin), keeping this rock jumble on our right. Our destination is that dark rock (that looks like Pac-Man) just to the left of center.
There! In additions to the barbells, please note the faint "sunburst" image near the brush on the right side of the photo.
There was also a nearby rock shelter. There was soot on the overhanging rock to the right. I don't know when this spot was last used, but I'm pretty sure it was a long long time ago.
My favorite find of the day was this fossilized shell. I believe it's a freshwater snail (fossil) I was amazed that it was still intact. I moved it into a safer spot and hope it survives for a lot longer.
In the middle of this photo, you can see my wife exploring.
I believe this material is called Hornblende.
It wasn't easy getting into the middle of this jumble of rocks, but there I am.
Mammal fossils relating back to the stone age have been found in the Pinto Basin. Also, traces of very early human presence.
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The Hunt for Seven Troughs Ghost Town, Nevada. A Trip That Ended At Tunnel Camp.
Standing in the dusty road in the center of town takes you back to another time entirely. Old buildings still standing from an era long gone by. If you dare, you can take it all in and imagine what life must have been like back when this was a small mining town. Not only is there a long history of this place, but it's also rumored to be haunted. One thing I know for sure is that it's a great place to take the family.
Kids will love this place, the quite solitude makes you fee like you have time traveled into another world. If you are not use to the quiet, you may feel an uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach. I have heard of many stories of people having strange experiences at this location. Some believe it's haunted.
We spent an entire day trying to find Seven Troughs ghost town, or what's left of it, but instead we found Tunnel Camp. This is our story.
We headed out on our third attempt to find the ghost town of Seven Troughs Nevada on a nice and sunny weekend in July. We hit Lovelock NV at noon and drove through the center of town on our quest to find Seven Troughs. We drove down the dirt roads outside of Lovelock, and followed the route you see below to Vernon.
Vernon is an old ghost town just outside of Seven Troughs, but there are a lot of roads here that can get you off track. Vernon consists of a cement building that I did not take any photos of last time, but if you continue on this road over the mountain range, you will miss the excellent ghost town of Tunnel Camp, but you will get to Porter Springs. Porter Springs is worth the trip, but not where you want to go if you want to visit Tunnel Camp. This was the route we took when we first missed Tunnel Camp.
Of course Porter Springs is worth a visit, and it's a great place to have a nice family picnic, but vandals are quickly destroying the place, unfortunately.
Anyway, after we made it two porter springs, we decided to head back over the mountain from Vernon and try to reassess our location. From this vantage point in Vernon, it's nearly impossible to figure out where Seven Troughs is located, but on a a hunch we took the following path to see if we could locate Seven Troughs:
When we took this route, we were greeted with the following view:
We had thought we made it to Seven Troughs, but it wasn't until later, after some research, that we realized that we had actually made it to Tunnel Camp, and not Seven Troughs. Needless to say, we still haven't made it to Seven Troughs, but we plan to make it all the way this year! Tunnel Camp is worth a visit, but you better hurry as vandals are quickly destroying this place. It's a shame losers destroy these places!
So take a quick detour off of highway 80 and visit this old ghost town. Tunnel camp started in 1926 with one goal, to build a tunnel to Seven Troughs. The tunnel would be used to drain the Seven Troughs mines and to transport ore to Tunnel. But errors in the tunnel caused the town problems which it never recovered. It was sporadically lived in up until the 1970's. I has remained completely abandoned ever since.