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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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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.







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








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






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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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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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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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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This is the only image I took in Vernon. But then again, it's the only thing to be found in Vernon. I did spy a couple of foundations when leaving, but by then time was fading fast and we wanted to get to Seven Troughs ASAP.


I believe this was originally a jail building, which was blown up by some local youth some years back.

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From Vernon, we head due north up into the Seven Troughs Range, our goal to drop into Seven Troughs from the southwest and above the old camp in the upper part of Seven Troughs Canyon. Some of the scenes along the way.


Looking into the shaft of the Portland Mine. This mine is shown on the U.S.G.S. topo maps.


A collapsed structure at one of the many tailings piles found along the route.


Very near the Fairview Mine, also marked on the topo maps. The mine lived up to its name, as the view over the Sage Valley southward was only fair. But the view into the Seven Troughs Peak region was nice.



This group of antelope watched us for a while, perhaps plotting what to do with these certain two intruders in their rolling tin cans that made noise as they crept higher into the Seven Troughs Range.


Perhaps the Fairview Mine might have been called Great View Mine if it had been placed here. But there were other mines nearby near the top of the ridge that separated us from Seven Troughs Canyon, just a short distance away.

The scene from the top of the range was shown earlier in this thread, so no sense repeating it here.

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As per Stan Paher's original NEVADA GHOST TOWNS & MINING CAMPS, chapter on Pershing County, under heading TUNNEL or New Seven Troughs:

"Hopeful Canadians and Americans organized the Nevada State Mining Co. in 1927 to build a 100-ton cyanide mill and drive a tunnel into rock workings of the old Seven Troughs mines. The tunnel was to eliminate the drainage and haulage problems that overwhelmed its predecessor. the Seven Troughs Coalition Mining Co. in 1917-18. ... The 2 1/4 mile-long tunnel cut into several promising gold veins, but when wet ground was encountered costs soared and all work ceased in 1934. Some mining was performed later in the decade and again in the 1950s."

If you look at the top photo in my string of images of Tunnel Camp, you can see a portion of the sizeable tailings to the left; which I believe eminate from the tunnel. In the second from bottom photo, that image was taken standing at the leading edge of the tailings looking east at the camp. The U.S.G.S. topo map shows an adit at about the point that the tailings start. I didn't really investigate, but I did find a collapsed adit nearby. Around the adit on the adjacent hillsides were many visible rotted pieces of lumber, indicating some sort of complex and numerous structures.

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This map shows my path taken around Tunnel Camp site, as recorded by my GPS hand held (Garmin eTrex basic), which was clipped to my watch band. The tunnel and tailings are at the left side of my tracks, that little blip north is where I checked out and found the collapsed adit, which may or may not have been the primary tunnelling attempt to tap the old Seven Troughs mines.


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The next segment in my trip report will be from the summit above Vernon, down into Seven Troughs Canyon and the ghost town of Seven Troughs.


From our perch at the saddle threshold of Seven Troughs Canyon, we look down onto the western end of Seven Troughs; and also along the eastern side of the Seven Troughs Range as it progresses northward.


Following my buddy down into Seven Troughs Canyon.


Looking down onto Seven Troughs; also eastward to the Humboldt Range in the distance. The main townsite sat on the near side of the canyon bottom, in the right center of the photo. In a few minutes, we would be above the tailings piles in the center of the photo, across the canyon bottom, trying to duplicate a historic image for a then and now comparison.

I didn't take many photos in Seven Troughs, my energies and time directed at duplicating historical images of the community. Since they were already presented earlier in this thread, I'll highlight a couple of other shots.


This excavation in the earth is actually the center and rear half of the Seven Troughs Hotel, prominently featured in one of the historical photos. Since the terrain is steep, the length of the hotel required earthwork to allow the long and relatively narrow hotel to nestle into the earth. Several other cuts in the canyon slope are also evident and held the hotel's neighbors.


Stone foundations of the Kindergarten Mill, seen in historical photos of Seven Troughs. This mill was built in 1911.

That is all for the Seven Troughs portion of this thread.

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