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Seven Troughs, Vernon, Mazuma, Tunnel Camp, Nevada - Day Trip: April 27, 2013

 

As time goes on, I'll post more details and photos.  A synopsis of my travels today:

 

* Met a friend - who lives in the Reno area - at Lovelock.  We met at 9:30 AM.

 

* After chatting for a time, We drove north, our original destination the ghost town of Vernon.

 

* Aired down tires at the start of the dirt road branching off NV399 heading to the district.  Visited some more.

 

*The approaching lunch hour changed our plans to head to Tunnel Camp.

 

* Lunch on arrival at Tunnel Camp, on the tailgate of my truck.  My lunch consisted of a turkey and ham I picked up at Subway.

 

* After lunch, we walked the camp, photographing, video.  Walked entire camp, including the large tailings pile from the tunnel in the canyon.

 

* Visited the cemetery, marked on the U.S.G.S. topo below Tunnel Camp.

 

* Drove to Vernon.

 

* Took route due north out of Vernon, stopped at the Portland Mine (marked on topo), the Fairview Mine (also marked), then continued on up and over the saddle and down into Seven Troughs.

 

* A very nice drive through the Seven Troughs Range on this road.  Scattered juniper stands dot the landscape.  The grass was green.  Lupine was blooming above about 5,500 feet elevation.  We saw about a dozen antelope in the canyons between Vernon and Seven Troughs, some individually or in pairs, one group of five.

 

* Explored the camp of Seven Troughs.

 

* Having historic photos, I duplicated these for then and now comparisons.

 

* By the time we left Seven Troughs, it was passing 6:00 PM.  We stopped for only a few minutes in Mazuma, photographing the former mill site, the sped off.  Both of us were far past due in letting our respective wives know that we were still alive, thus we felt compelled to get heading for Lovelock and a cellular signal.

 

* Dinner at the restaraunt in the Sturgeon's Casino in Lovelock.  I had a very good New York steak and eggs, with hash browns and toast for $9.77.  My friend had the $9.77 New York steak dinner.

 

* Aired up tires after dinner, then drove north and east in the darkness along I-80 home for an hour.

 

 

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I was hoping to look into the cemetery mystery for Doug (desert4wd), but by the time we got to Mazuma we felt pressed to head back to Lovelock.

 

We did visit the cemetery at Tunnel Camp.  I'm not sure as to its timing, as Tunnel Camp came well after Seven Troughs, Vernon and Mazuma had failed and shut down.  The latter three were booming in the first decade of the 20th Century, Tunnel Camp came along in the 1930s (although there was an initial attempt to tap in to the Seven Troughs mines at this level during the second decade of the 20th Century, about the time that Seven Troughs was winding down - its post office closed in 1918, I believe)..

 

Vernon and Mazuma are pretty close.  Maybe the cemetery pre-dated Tunnel Camp and was central to Vernon, Mazuma and Seven Troughs and used as a central district cemetery..

 

I didn't look extensively, but I spotted about 14 graves in the small plot.  There were fairly new plastic flowers on most of the graves, indicating that decendants still live in Lovelock or the region.

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Sounds like a great trip Dave, looking forward to seeing the photos and hearing more about your trip.

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I've got tons of photos that I haven't yet gone through.  I downloaded the files from my digital video camera to my external hard drive and watched the raw footage through Media Player, taking several screen shots.  Here is a teaser.

 

 

above-vernon01.jpg

 

 

 

This was taken climbing up into the upper reaches of the Seven Troughs Range above the ghost town of Vernon.  We had just passed the Fairview Mine, which is shown on the U.S.G.S. topo maps.

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summit_above-7-troughs.jpg

 

A pause atop a saddle above Vernon, looking into the upper reaches of Seven Troughs Canyon.  The ghost town of Seven Troughs is less than a mile below (in a straight line) and the upper part of town in sight from our position.  My white Tacoma is in the foreground, a JK Wrangler belonging to a friend from Reno (who met me in Lovelock) behind.

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antelope_above-vernon.jpg

 

An antelope, one of a pair, seen in the upper reaches of the Seven Troughs Range above Vernon ghost town.  We saw quite a few antelope in the canyon, plus several elsewhere that day.

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Looks like an awesome trip David, as always great presentation and I'm excited to see more.

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Sounds like you had a great trip, we also see tons of antelope out there when we are exploring. I haven't made it all the way to Seven Troughs yet, hoping to this summer though. Good to see you are back out and exploring again Dave!

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This is what I like to do while exploring ghost towns.  This example is Seven Troughs, Nevada.

 

seven-troughs_historical_duplication.jpg

 

seven-troughs_historical-duplication1.jp

 

seven-troughs_historical-duplication2.jp

 

I know that the chance that I stand exactly in the same spot as this particular photographer - who snapped this photo 102 years ago - is pretty slim.  Toss in focal properties of lenses and their relationship to the photo surface (likely glass plates in this case) of that time period; and so I'm just taking my best guess here.  My battle worn copy of Stan Paher's original print NEVADA GHOST TOWNS & MINING CAMPS (1970) with its historic photos has been to many ghost towns so that I can determine as closely as possible where photographers captured living towns of yesteryear.  Stumbling through the sage with this heavy book (which is now falling completely apart), with video and digital camera and closely scrutinizing the relationships of landmarks and backgrounds help me closely duplicate these scenes for a look at then and now.

 

It's so much more satisfying than simply driving up to a historic site, snapping a few hasty photos and taking off for the next destination.

 

Yeah, if you look closely at the combined photo, I'm off in a few areas (comparing foreground with background on the historic image compared with my combined image).  The untouched photo is pretty much covering the same area as the original photo.  If I spent a bit more time with the combination photo (I took maybe two minutes with the image), I might be able to get closer.  It's all fun anyway.

 

The current road runs below the original main street of town (if standing across the canyon and looking back, it's more obvious).  In the photo taken Saturday, you can see the excavations in the hillside to accomodate the length of the Seven Troughs Hotel, The Coney Island Club, and the Pioneer (?) Saloon.  Across the main street, there are similar disturbances in the earth to accomodate the rear portions of those buildings overhanging the steep sides of the canyon.

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Fantastic presentation! You aren't off by very much. As a matter of fact, if you enlarge your photo by about another 2% and panned just slightly more to the left, it would have been exact!

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Here's another 1911 / 2013 comparison of the main townsite from the north.

 

seven-troughs_historical-duplication_191

 

seven-troughs_historical-duplication_201

 

The letters correspond to the same major structures and features in each image.

 

In my 2013 image, I didn't capture enough of the right of the historic image; I appear to be lower on the hillside; I was standing a bit far to the right as the original photographer.  I'll just blame it on trying to compose the same scene through a dinky LCD screen on the back of the camera in bright sunlight. B)

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Excellent photos Dave! It's a shame it's all gone now, not a single building left. It's hard to believe after seeing the before and after and how many buildings once stood at the site.

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My buddy and I didn't spend a lot of time at Seven Troughs.  I didn't pay attention to my watch, but figure about 45 minutes.  I spent much of that time in duplicating the two historic images.  I hope to return to Seven Troughs and visit the main townsite more, perhaps attempting to locate each structure seen in last historical image.  In the Paher book there is another image taken from another perspective that I wish to duplicate as well.  And also spend time exploring Mazuma.

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Anyone hear the story of the disappearance of Nan Cecil Dixon in 1978? It's recent, but she went missing in the Seven Troughs area and was never found. I thought it was interesting, but I can no longer find the actual source of this. Not sure if this has anything to do with this topic, so if anyone feels it's off topic, let me know and I will delete it. :)
 


Classification: Endangered Missing
Date of Birth: August 4, 1905
Age: 73 years old
Height and Weight: 4'10 - 5'0, 110 - 118 pounds
Distinguishing Characteristics: Caucasian female. Graying red hair.

Dixon was last seen on September 21, 1978. She left her Grass Valley, California home to visit her Seven Troughs, Nevada, three hours away. Her brother, Harry Leighton, his wife Lulu Leighton, and their son Arthur "Butch" Leighton, lived there. Dixon had invested $6,000 in the Leightons' gold mining operation in 1961 and wanted the money back; this was the purpose of her visit. She was driving a yellowish-green four-door 1976 Datsun B210. Dixon never arrived at her brother's and has never been heard from again. Months later, her husband got a credit card bill for $4.18 in gas purchased in Lovelock, Nevada, which is near Seven Troughs. This evidence prompted searches in the Lovelock area, but these efforts came up empty.

Nothing else came up in Dixon's case until 1982, when coyote hunters found her car in a ravine below the main road of the Seven Troughs dropoff. This area had been covered in previous air and ground searches, and the car hadn't been there then. Dixon's family stated it appeared as if someone had deliberately driven the car into the ravine; tire tracks were still visible. The Datsun had half a tank of gas. Four empty cartons of cigarettes were inside the car as well. Dixon was a light smoker and her loved ones don't believe she could have smoked four cartons of cigarettes by herself, and they were not her preferred brand. Portions of black electrical tape were located; one piece had a hair and possible human tissue attached. There appeared to be bloodstains on the trunk mat and on a tire and a rim. An unsigned note was found indicating suicide. There was no sign of Dixon or her body.

After Dixon's car was discovered, the police closed her case as a suicide and sold her car at a sheriff's auction. All the evidence they'd collected has been lost. Dixon's family never believed she took her own life, however; they think the note in her vehicle was planted by someone else. Her family spent over $40,000 on the search for her. One theory is that her disappearance is connected to alleged air drops of illegal drugs in the Seven Troughs area; perhaps she witnessed one and was killed as a result. Authorities reopened the investigation into Dixon's disappearance in 2007. Her case remains unsolved.


My buddy and I didn't spend a lot of time at Seven Troughs.  I didn't pay attention to my watch, but figure about 45 minutes.  I spent much of that time in duplicating the two historic images.  I hope to return to Seven Troughs and visit the main townsite more, perhaps attempting to locate each structure seen in last historical image.  In the Paher book there is another image taken from another perspective that I wish to duplicate as well.  And also spend time exploring Mazuma.

 

I made it to Tunnel Camp, but never to Seven Troughs. How many times have you visited Seven Troughs?

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This was my first time.

 

It seems there are many nice places to explore in the area. Do you plan on checking out Scossa?

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Yes.  The original plan was to include Farrel, Placeritas and Scossa.  After a rough work week, I was only interested in a nice, leisurely day trip.  Plus my friend and I hadn't seen each other in about three years, so we spent a lot of idle time simply visiting and so we didn't cover a lot of ground.

 

I've been as close to Scossa as Imlay Summit (4.4 miles nearly due east) while chukar hunting a couple years ago.

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Yes.  The original plan was to include Farrel, Placeritas and Scossa.  After a rough work week, I was only interested in a nice, leisurely day trip.  Plus my friend and I hadn't seen each other in about three years, so we spent a lot of idle time simply visiting and so we didn't cover a lot of ground.

 

I've been as close to Scossa as Imlay Summit (4.4 miles nearly due east) while chukar hunting a couple years ago.

 

I completely understand that, it's funny how fast time can fly when you start talking with an old friend.  :blah:  Scossa is easy to get too, roads were in great shape when we went out there. I probably missed a lot of placeritas, but the sun was starting to set when we reached it and we weren't sure how far away from the main road we were. The road is good if you take Seven Troughs road to it and don't go around the entire mountain to get there. After you get past rabbit hole, the road become questionable, but there was a cool mine if you get back on seven troughs and continue a little ways.

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OK.  Tunnel Camp was our first destination, so here are six images of Tunnel Camp.

tunnelcamp1.jpg

tunnelcamp2.jpg

tunnelcamp3.jpg

tunnelcamp4.jpg

tunnelcamp5.jpg

tunnelcamp6.jpg

The bottom image was taken of the camp from the cemetery, marked on the U.S.G.S. topo map and somewhat of a mystery as discussed on another thread.

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Excellent photos Dave! It's a shame it's all gone now, not a single building left. It's hard to believe after seeing the before and after and how many buildings once stood at the site.

In Stan Paher's original edition of NEVADA GHOST TOWNS & MINING CAMPS, there is a photo that he took of the main downtown portion. Since he published the book in 1970, I assume the photo was taken sometime during the late 1960s. There are several structures visible in the image, including two prominent cabins.

The scene contains a normal growth of fairly dense sagebrush and one juniper tree is visible. Standing in Seven Troughs last Saturday, the sagebrush is fairly small and growth sparce and open, and there is no juniper in the townsite (although the upper slopes have an open forest of juniper).

While standing in Seven Troughs locating the position that the historic photos were taken, my buddy and I were comparing Paher's photo with today, focusing on sagebrush growth. My hunch is that the townsite was visited by wildfire, probably in the 1980s or early 1990s, based upon my observation of the sagebrush; which would have eliminated any flammable materials.

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Really love the photos, David. Will be researching more into this area in the near future :)

Thank you, Cindy. The area is scenic, historic and there was a tragedy. What more can one ask for?

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