Thursday, December 10, 2015

Finding a Thesis: Next Stop, Silver Peak!

And so we say goodbye to the Palmetto Mountains.
In actuality, the picture above—taken as I was leaving the Lida-Palmetto area for Fish Lake Valley during my 2010 property-exam trip—has us looking in the rearview mirror at a mine dump located on the west side of the Palmetto Mountains, whereas in our continuing thesis-finding stories, I left the Palmetto Mountains to the east, via the same route I came in on. And so the intertwined 1976–2010 stories continue:

I wasn't too keen about spending another night in the Palmetto Mountains, and so, after duly looking around at a few prospects in the Palmetto mining district, I took my leave by descending the alluvial fan on the south side of the Palmetto Mountains. (In Google Earth, the southwest-facing slope actually looks like a complex of thinly veneered to dissected pediments with localized alluvial fans of more than one age.)  I might have stopped to look at the the ghost town of Palmetto, and I might not have.

After shooting past Lida, I eventually turned north on Highway 95, then turned west onto the Silver Peak Road a few miles north of Goldfield. I then made the relatively easy drive to Silver Peak, partly on pavement loaded with potholes and partly on dirt.

I would have barreled past Alkali and Alkali Hot Springs. Having never bathed there and having stopped only once or twice to look around, I don’t have any good digital pictures of the easily accessible but privately-owned spot.
The Silver Peak Road approaches Alkali from the east. We're looking at the Weepah Hills in the distance beyond the playa known as "Alkali Lake" (original, eh?), and beyond a low part of Paymaster Ridge. The Weepah Hills high point, on the right, is at 7753 feet.
About a half mile past Alkali Hot Springs, a major road junction is marked by a large rock (Google Maps location).
Large rock marking the junction of the paved road to Goldfield (the Silver Peak Road, which we've been on) and the graded gravel road to Tonopah.
Looking NE along the dirt road, back toward Tonopah and the Klondyke Hills.
The rock says, Tonopah: 24 miles.
Looking SE along the paved road back toward Alkali Hot Springs and Goldfield, the latter of which is not visible beyond the horizon. The hazy hills behind the rock are volcanic-capped bluffs in the Goldfield Hills north of Goldfield.
The rock says, Goldfield: 7 miles.

The rock looks volcanic to me; it could possibly warrant further scrutiny, but I've always looked at it as an interesting road artifact. (I've never taken my hammer to it: Heaven forbid!)
Looking WSW from the site of the rock-sign, toward Silver Peak. The south end of Paymaster Ridge blocks the view of all but the highest peaks of the Silver Peak Range miles beyond.
From Alkali, I pushed on to the next stop on my list, the Mary Mine, which is perched near the top of Mineral Ridge, an elongate, nearly oval mountain with the small town of Silver Peak at its eastern extremity. Mineral Ridge proper lies between Silver Peak and Rhyolite Ridge, all technically part of the Silver Peak Range.
Topo map courtesy USGS (TNM link).
Silver Peak is called Silverpeak on this map, as it is on some and not on others. The Board of Geographic Names is now favoring Silver Peak, after naming decisions in 1965 and 1987, so Silver Peak was most correctly known as "Silverpeak" from 1965 to 1987—including when I was there in 1976—and that's probably why some road signs still say "Silverpeak." I also should also have been using the one-word version of the name when I was there in the mid-1980s, but I wasn't. By then, almost no one was (citation: my memory of my own undocumented experience).

Related Posts:
Thesis: Finding an Area
Finding a Thesis: Battle Mountain to Austin to Gabbs
Finding a Thesis: Pole Line Road
Finding a Thesis: Pole Line to Belmont
Finding a Thesis: Klondyke District
Finding a Thesis: A Joshua Tree Aside
Finding a Thesis: Into the Palmetto Mountains
Finding a Thesis: Farther into the Palmetto Mountains
Finding a Thesis: A Bit O' Geology in the Palmetto Mountains
Finding a Thesis: Future Stories from the Palmetto Mountains
Lida Summit Roadcut [essentiall another aside]

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