Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Death Valley Trip, Getting There: Black Rock to Lida Junction to Beatty

On this leg, we will finally make it into Beatty! Yay!!

In our last episode we were at Black Rock (it should be Black Rock Point, or something, but isn't) checking out Lone Mountain and the Boss Mine. Before leaving, I managed—with my handy-dandy, relatively new Nikon DSLR with 18-300 mm zoom—to get this shot of the far-away Crescent Dunes solar thermal power plant, which reportedly went online in February.
The power tower and mirrors of Crescent Dune in front of the San Antonio Mountains. Part of the defunct Hall moly mine can be seen on the far left. The tower is about 18.5 miles distant in this photo.
And then we got back in the Jeep and proceeded down the road toward Tonopah, where we had some coffee and a snack, and went on our way—again.

As we drifted south from Tonopah, side roads tried to distract us from our goal of reaching Beatty that night. So much to see! So many possibilities! We resisted being drawn astray (resistance is sometimes but not always futile), but upon spotting the first batch of Joshua trees just north of Goldfied, we gave in and pulled over to take a look.

It turns out that we pulled over only to take photos of a tree I had photographed in 2010 and posted about here.

Several views of my favorite Joshua tree:
Relatively close view of the large-ish Joshua tree we stopped for.
 This particular tree is not far from Highway 95 and is just a skip and a jump down the Silver Peak Road. It might, therefore, be one of the more photographed Joshua trees in Nevada. Here it is on Google Street View.
A closer view.
We were unclear about a few non-branching types of yucca (next two photos), but I think this is probably a young Joshua tree.
Unbranched yucca with Lone Mountain on the horizon.
A closer view of the leaves of the non-branched tree.
The entirety of the Joshua tree from the first two photos. Lone Mountain is on the left (NW); the hill going into Tonopah is over there on the right (N).
I just noticed the snow-capped range beyond Hasbrouk Peak and the other hills near Tonopah. This is the high part of the Toiyabe Range, including Toiyabe Dome (11,361 ft, 3463 m) and possibly Arc Dome (11,773 ft, 3588 m), which is the highest point in the Toiyabes.

There was a weak to moderate desert pavement across the area, and we hunted around for ventifacts. Not sure if these two rocks qualify, but they do show typical varnish:
The varnished rocks are probably probably volcanic.
More Joshua trees against the backdrop of the volcanic mesas to the west.
We got back on U.S. 95 and headed south, passing through Goldfield, and pulling off the highway just one more time just north of Lida Junction. I looked down a dirt road I'll probably never travel, a road leading mostly into the unexplored Nellis area.
Stonewall Mountain is partly in and partly outside Nellis, so it's possible I'll get up to the west side someday, to look at those brightly colored volcanic rocks.
Sunlit alluvial fan rills, shadows on the colorful mountains, and Joshua trees.
We were ensconced in our Beatty motel room by 4:45 pm. We didn't waste any time before going out to find some food.

Location map

Related Posts (in order of posting):
Death Valley, "Super" Blooms, Turtlebacks, and Detachments
Death Valley Trip, Part 2: More of the Badwater Turtleback Fault
Death Valley Trip, Part 3: Northward, and over Daylight Pass
Death Valley Trip, Getting There: Wave Clouds beyond the Sierra
Death Valley Trip, Getting There: A Hike to Pleistocene Shorelines

Death Valley Trip, Getting There: Walker Lake, Road Stories, A Bit about Copper, and Some Folds near Luning

Death Valley Trip, Getting There: A Jeep Trail, Folds and Cartoons of Folds, Even More Folds, and Boundary Peak

Death Valley Trip, Getting There: Highway 95, Redlich, Columbus Salt Marsh, and Another View of Boundary Peak

Death Valley Trip, Getting There: Coaldale, Black Rock, Lone Mountain, and the Boss Mine

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