Sunday, June 27, 2010

One & Two Years Ago Today: Trips to the Ovens

sign1sign2
Signs: Nevada Historic Marker #184 and Mining Charcoal
(Click to enlarge)

One year ago today, while some family types were visiting, we all packed up and drove to the Ward Charcoal Ovens, which are inside the Ward Charcoal Ovens State Historic Park, and aren't far off Highway 50 on a good, sometimes washboarded, graded dirt road.
The ovens, built in 1876 out of blocks of nearby quartz latite ash-flow tuff, are partially fenced, and it's difficult to get good pictures sans fencing. You can see some of the ash-flow tuff behind and between the two ovens. There are six ovens, here I'm only showing two. (More will be shown later.)
Looking closely at the first or easternmost oven, I spot something growing part way up the right side. What is it?
Maybe it's a weed?
Closer... It's a wildflower!
This is the kind of flower growing in between the blocks of the charcoal oven, a Penstemon, possibly this one.
The rest of our short visit became an excuse to take pictures of the penstemons, at least for me.
And more...
...and even more.

I've visited these ovens several times over the last three years, and have taken many pictures. In fact, one such visit was exactly two years ago today, when other family types were visiting. There must be something about June!
4 The lighting is usually a factor in the kinds of pictures one can take, and I'd say that morning and afternoon are probably best, rather than high noon. Fall before the snow flies might also be better than mid-summer, especially because the heat can seem hotter at the ovens than elsewhere in Steptoe Valley. Note another hill of ash-flow tuff behind the ovens; these hills are fun to hike.
inside1 It's difficult to get photos inside the ovens without using a tripod, but here are two of my best shots.
inside2 Charcoal darkens the walls, and there's been a little oxidation over the years.

4 comments:

Brian Romans said...

awesome photos as always

Silver Fox said...

Thanks, Brian!

Gaelyn said...

These ovens are in better shape than the ones in Death Valley. Love the penstemon.

Silver Fox said...

Gaelyn, these are supposed to be the best preserved in Nevada, although I remember seeing some to the southwest that I thought (at the time) were pretty spectacular. I haven't been back to those others, and don't really know what their condition is like today.