Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bowman Creek: The Camp


Photo of the creek crossing.

We camped at Bowman Creek during September and October, although the camp had been there through much of the last part of the summer before I actually arrived. I had been part of a second camp group before that, and when several students left both camp groups to go back to school at the end of summer, those of us who remained joined forces at Bowman Creek.

Instead of bringing the trailer up the road I described earlier, the first crew had driven the trailer in on the other road and had then driven it down the alluvial fan until they finally found a creek crossing

Photo of the place I had my tent.

Camp was a large affair, at least by summer's end, with a camp trailer, several 8x10-foot canvas tents, a large mess tent, and then, when the claim stakers came, a large Quonset-hut-like building, which replaced the smaller mess tent. We had hot showers at Bowman Creek camp, with creek water piped into camp through black plastic piping. It came down the alluvial fan from a higher elevation, so the water had good hydraulic head. At camp, it was then piped into 55-gallon drums on top of one or two wood-frame shower stalls. It was usual for the water to be heated during the day by solar heat, but with September turning chilly and clouds moving in for days at a time, the water was finally heated with propane. It's one thing to take a creek-cold shower at the end of a hot day (icy, brrrr!); it's not any good at all to do that at the end of a chilly day, a chilly day that is rapidly getting colder because the sun has already gone behind the shadow of the Toiyabe Range.view

A view across Big Smoky Valley of the Toquima Range.

We had great views across the valley from all places in camp. The photo above shows what the view from my tent door would have looked like. We had similar, though more expansive views from our outhouse located somewhere higher on the alluvial fan. It was a wooden structure, and it was open to the east for the view, built without a door. We had a system of leaving a red flag visible, so you could tell from a distance whether the outhouse was already in use.view

A view across the valley looking toward the center of the Northumberland caldera, with dust from a vehicle marking the Northumberland dirt road.

The view from the Quonset-hut area was nice, too; we could see the entire Northumberland caldera, and could also see down the valley toward Mt. Jefferson and Round Mountain. Round Mountain was mostly just an old town, then, but the current operation at the Round Mountain gold mine had already begun, though it was initially much smaller.


Harold Asmis said...

This is so neat - Camping Stories! I can't stand camping in the wilderness, but I still do it for the kiddies. Hopefully, one day I'll just camp in a cruise ship!

Silver Fox said...

More camp stories coming up! I camp in the back of my truck, now, or in a motel.

Garry Hayes said...

I proved I could sleep on the ground a long time ago. I use an army cot under the stars now, and if it rains or the bugs are bad, I sleep in one of the school vans. I'm tall, but I learned how to twist just right...

Silver Fox said...

Our tents - maybe they were 8x10' - were for two people, with a 4x8' sheet of plywood on each side, and a cot on each sheet (with thin matresses?), so we weren't sleeping on the ground all summer, thankfully!