|Portion of the Goldfield 2° sheet, about centered on Mineral Ridge and what was then called "Silverpeak."|
I pulled out another map. No, make that two: The area was bifurcated by two 15' maps, Silver Peak and Lida Wash.
|The Silver Peak and Lida Wash 15' quads, both from 1963, courtesy USGS.|
On these combined maps, two routes to the Mary Mine became apparent to me: a southern and a northern route. The northern route took off from old Highway 47 (now S.R. 265), the paved road going north from Silver Peak, and headed westward along the northern side of Mineral Ridge. The southern route, Coyote Road, headed southwest out of Silver Peak and then turned westward along the southern side of Mineral Ridge toward and past Coyote Spring. Both routes are marked with double dashed lines. Another double dashed road heads nearly south for Oasis Divide, a pass over the Silver Peak Range into Fish Lake Valley.
Not knowing then what I know now—that my car would not have been able to make it up the mountain on either of these roads—I resolutely steered toward the southern route.
|The end of pavement near the southwest end of Silver Peak, as seen in 2010. Coyote Road is the track going off into the center distance.|
|Coyote Road continues on as the bright track on the right. An unknown two-track on the left, not shown on any maps, including the 1987 7.5' quads, heads off toward some colorful volcanic hills.|
|Sign on Coyote Road just past the end of pavement.|
|The Coyote Road is looking good as it descends back into Silver Peak from Coyote Springs, which is about 5 miles past the end of pavement.|
From pavement in Silver Peak, I drove and drove down a wide, bladed but strongly corrugated dirt road for what seemed like miles and miles, surely at a slow speed, heading in a direction that didn’t seem quite right to me. I made it as far as some scrabbly-looking, knobby outcrops.
I drove back to Silver Peak. Was I on the right road?
Let's back up a bit on the Coyote Road―back into town, where it's still mostly paved―to it's present-day junction with the Nivloc Road.
|Nivloc Road is on the left; Coyote Road is on the right.|
|The Nivloc Road goes to the defunct 16-to-1 mill, and the inactive 16-to-1 and Nivloc Mines (the junction on Google Street View).|
Which road did I take? That's a hard one to answer. My geographic memory (not always perfect but often fairly well oriented in north-south space) suggests to me that I was either on the often strongly washboarded Oasis Road or the often moderately washboarded Nivloc Road. Note: The washboard intensity of any given road means little as it will increase with time from its most recent grading (besides the other factors that affect intensity).
What about the outcrops I drove by? Had I been on the Oasis Road, it would have been more than 13 miles to the nearest outcrop, an unlikelihood given how long it would have taken in my Opel, and given that the maps said I didn't need to drive that far. On the Nivloc Road, it was about 4 miles to the first hills and a little farther, perhaps, to ones that might look "knobby." On the Coyote Road, it was about 3 miles to the first scrabbly hills, maybe a half mile or more to any exposures I might think of as knobby. Most likely I ended up on the middle road, the Nivloc. I'd have to guess that access to the top of Mineral Ridge was not much of a local or county priority in those days (as it would become by the mid-1980s), and that's why I didn’t find the possibly obscure turnoff I needed. But that is just a guess.
At this point on my journey, it was noon or later, so I gave up on finding the southern route and drove into the town of Silver Peak.
|Sign at the junction of the Silver Peak Road (road to Tonopah or Goldfield) and Main Street (S.R. 265).|
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
Finding a Thesis: Next Stop, Silver Peak!
Finding a Thesis: Coming into Clayton Valley