Friday, June 28, 2019

Humbug Trail: hiking to a granite-slot waterfall

Humbug Falls: water coming down a granite slot, falling and shooting through carved out channels

The Humbug Trail in California's Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park connects “The Diggins” with the South Yuba Trail. Also named Humbug Creek Trail, this 2.7-mile-long single-track trail between the North Bloomfield Road and the South Yuba River roughly follows a series of shafts. These are vertical openings once used to construct a bedrock tunnel—the North Bloomfield Tunnel—to drain water and mining debris. The trailhead is near the West Point Overlook south of Diggins Lake. It is accessible by driving 1.5 miles south-southwest Trailhead from the Visitor Center and Museum in North Bloomfield, once named Humbug.

Humbug Creek
The one-way distance from the North Bloomfield Road trailhead to the waterfall is 1.25 miles—less than the half-way distance to the Yuba River. The fairly level trail, which follows the steep ravine cut out by Humbug Creek, is shaded and variously lined by poison oak. Humbug Falls are a chain of waterfalls. The most interesting sections, in my opinion, are those where the water is not falling, but shooting through channels carved out off the granite bed. 

Hikers on Humbug Trail

Also interesting to see at Malakoff Diggins:

A trail map of Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is available with the park brochure:

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Ghost town walk: Candelaria, Mineral County, Nevada

Walls, foundations, beams and sherds: Candelaria today
Window of a once commercial building
The Candeleria Hills stretch for about 20 miles from southwest to northeast—just northwest of the Mineral-Esmeralda County line 50 miles west of Tonopah. What has remained from the 19th-century activities in the Candelaria Mining District is found in this area of now-deserted desert hills [1].

Driving from Tonopah to Hawthorne on Highway 95, turn left at the sign for the State Historic Marker No. 92—four miles north of Redlich Summit between the Coaldale Junction (Hwy 95/6 junction) and the Tonopah Junction (Hwy 95/360). Find the marker with the title “Candelaria and Metallic City” to your right. It sketches the Candelaria mining history:
Seven miles to the west lie the ghost towns of Candelaria and Metallic City.

State Historic Marker No. 92
Candelaria was presumably named after a mine of that name located in 1885, and also after the catholic Candelmas Day. Metallic City, the “Sin City” of Candelaria, and also known as Pickhandle Gulch, lies 3.4 mile to the south Candelaria. The name, Pickhandle, was derived from the most popular weapon used for settling disputes.

In 1880, Candelaria was the largest town in the immediate area and boasted of having 3 doctors, 3 lawyers, 2 hotels, 6 stores and 10 saloons. Water piped from Trail Canyon in 1882 caused the price of water to drop from $1.00 to $0.05 per gallon.

The leading mine, the Northern Belle, was first located in 1864 (relocated in 1870). It is reported to have produced an estimated $7 million. Mainly in Silver.

Front side impression of a Candelaria building
The short-lived settlement developed from camp to boomtown in the 1870s and 1880s, when mainly German and Slovakian prospectors arrived at the silver deposits, which had been discovered by Mexican prospectors some years earlier [2]. To walk around the last standing walls (or have they been re-erected?) and the mill foundation, drive to the end of the paved road (six miles to the west of the historic marker), park your car and browse the area on both sides of the grave road, which once was—I guess—Main Street.
Foundations of Candelaria's ore-processing structures
Foundations of Candelaria's ore-processing structures
You will be on your own. No dedicated loop trail. No warning signs. No interpretive panels. According to Erik's post, Candelaria was the Saint City [2].  Erik believes that the above mentioned  Sin City (Metallic City) in the vicinity of the active Kinross Gold Candelaria Mine on Mt. Diablo has long bee removed [3]. 

Kinross Gold Candelaria Mine on Mt. Diablo


[1] Candelaria District, Mineral Co, Nevada USA. Link:
[2] Western Mining History: Candelaria, Nevada.  Link:
[3] Erik Engh: Candelaria and Metallic City - A Tale of Two Cities. Erik's Nevada Blog. Link:

West of the Candelaria ruins: Is this a more recent adit?

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Hickison Petroglyphs Interpretive Trail

Stairs to petroglyphs and vista points
The Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area is a Great Basin prehistoric site located next to Highway 50 about 20 miles east of Austin, Nevada. When I arrived at the trailhead of the Hickison Petroglyphs Interpretive Trail on an early spring day in 2019, I made the same experience Valerie Norton described on a 2017 visit [1]: the brochure-box was empty and the panel with the trail gave no site details. Also, I couldn't find a website with a detailed map for the self-guided tour. Alongside the unpaved trail loop, sites were clearly marked by numbers. So, I keep my pictures marked accordingly with the hope of coming eventually across an interpretive map.

Hickison Petroglyphs Interpretive Trail between its trailhead and the first marked site
Lucky Gretchen: when she was visiting with her family, she found a brochure for pick-up and they all were in front of petroglyphs in just a couple of minutes [2]. She writes that the brochure describes the Hickison petroglyphys as typical of the Great Basin curvilinear style. Curvers and carvers are unknown.

Curvilinear carvings
The loop trail and the dead-end vista side trails make for a pleasant walk, traversing mostly open pine forest and providing easy access to the numbered petroglyph faces carved onto the rock slabs. There are distinctly different carvings: deeply carved, lightly carved, geometrically abstract and figure-representing. How much did erosion change the original carvings? How often were they modified or overscrawled? I think, I spotted some very recent “scribbles,” i.e. vandalizing scratchings.

The petroglyph site is named after ranch owner John Hickerson [3]. How did the name mutate to Hickison? The petroglyphs are said to give evidence of prehistoric hunting and dwelling sites dating back to 10,000 B.C., when the Great Basin was a “Great Lakes” area, including Lake Toyiabe and Lake Tonopah [3]. I wonder if the shorelines of those lakes were near the rock croppings in the period during which the Great Basin petroglyphs were created.

Rockscape view from vista point

Keywords: Nevada; Great Basin; National Forest; US Route 50; roadside attraction; prehistoric site.

Getting there

On your way from Austin to Eureka on Hwy 50, drive over Hickison Summit (6546 ft., 1995 m). Soon, on the left side of the road, you will see a large sign in the shape of an isosceles trapezoid with the longer of the parallel sides at the top. It reads “HICKISON PETROGLYPHS Recreation Area & Interpretive Site.” Turn left and follow the northwest-bound gravel road for a quarter-mile to the Interpretive Trail site and camping area [4,5].

Vista point canyon view south with Monitor Valley farther back



[1] Valerie Norton: Hickison Petroglyphs Interpretive Trail. “Moments in Dirt and Ink” Blog,  May 15, 2017. Link:
[2] Gretchen:  Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area, Nevada. “Desert Survivor” Blog, October 17, 2017. Link:
[3] Hickison Petroglyph Reacreation Area. Travel Nevada.
[4] Hickison Petroglyph Reacreation Area. Bureau of Land Management. Link:
[5] Map of Hickison Summit area including Hickison Petroglyph Recreation Area

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Bowers Family Cemetery Trail

The Bowers Family Cemetery Trail is a well-maintained walk under trees—a short climb from the backside of Washoe County's Bowers Mansion to the Bowers Family grave site. The tombstone of Comstock millionaires Sandy and Eilley Bowers and their children is located at the end of the trail.

Pentagonal Bowers Family tombstone
On your way up, you will get a chance to view—through the pine trees —the mansion with its octagonal rooftop structure.

Bowers Mansion rooftop
From the grave-site platform, grand vistas of Washoe Lake and the Virginia Range can be enjoyed.

View of Washoe Lake and parts of the Virginia Range from grave site
Engraved in the pentagonal tombstone are the names of Lemuel Sanford Bowers (1833-1868), called Sandy Bowers, Alison Oram Bowers (1826-1903), called Eilley Bowers, and the names of their children, who died young: John, Theresia and Margaret Persia. Sandy died of miner's lung disease: silicosis.  Eilley outlived her husband (Sandy was her third one) and her children. In 1876, according to the onsite information kiosks, the mansion was put into foreclosure. The story goes that Mrs. Eilley Bowers—one of the richest women of America for some years—died penniless in Oakland, California.  

The Bowers Family Cemetery Trail starts with stairs.


 Address of the Bowers Mansion

4005 Old U.S. Highway 395
Washoe Valley, Nevada 89704

Getting there

Driving south on Old U.S. Highway 395, pass the Davis Creek Regional Park entrance and exit the “highway” at the Bowers Mansion Regional Park sign (shown to the left). Continue southward on the park road past the mansion grounds and find parking in the paved area at the end of the road. A short walk across the play ground and picnic greens takes you to the backside of the mansion. The marked trail to the hillside graveyard starts next to the Bowers Root Cellar building.

Bowers Mansion phone number: (775) 849-0201.

More to explore

Bowers Mansion Tombstones, Washoe County, Nevada. Photos by Holly Hart of Oxnard, California. Link:
Allison “Eilley” Oram Bowers. Find A Grave. Link:  
Lemuel Sanford “Sandy” Bowers. Find A Grave. Link:
Bowers Mansion. National Park Service. Link:

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Deadman's Creek Trail southeast of Washoe Lake: the gazebo loop

Gazebo southest of Washoe Lake
The gazebo above Deadman's Creek's riparian zone with snowstorm-swept Slide Mountain in the background (March 8, 2019)
Deadman's Creek Trail consists of a short path through riparian habitat—the interpretive nature trail section—and a loop meandering through an opening canyon uphill to a gazebo vista point. Hikers can enjoy spectacular views of Washoe Lake and the Carson Range throughout the year. A small board posted near the trailhead describes the trail as follows:
This trail takes hikers through a riparian zone along the spring-fed Deadman's Creek. At the trail intersection, the right branch takes hikers to a gazebo overlooking Washoe Valley and Washoe Lake. The left branch follows the canyon up to a dirt road where hikers can further explore the area.
Riparian zone with dead-tree-gate

This is a moderate trail with a short, steep climb to the gazebo (an elevation gain of approximately 380 feet).

The trail name refers to the mysterious death of two ranch partners at Dead Man's Ranch, mentioned in a book with the title “Pioneers of the Ponderosa: How Washoe Valley Rescued the Comstock,” written by Myra Sauer Ratay (1912-199), born in Franktown in the southwest corner of Washoe Lake.
Small rock shelter with lichen and icicles
The lower trail section features various informative panels posted next to native plants. If you follow the trail on the left side of the creek, you will soon get to an Y-junction. The left branch takes you out of the canyon to the mentioned dirt road. The right branch crosses the creek and bends southwest, passing various boulders and rock outcrops—one with a rock shelter—before leading further uphill to the gazebo. 

View of Washoe Lake (left) and the sand dune landscape with flooded areas (lower right)


Getting to the Deadman's Creek Trailhead

Driving south on I-580/U.S.395, exit the freeway southwest of Washoe Lake to get to Washoe Lake State Park. Go east on Eastlake Bouevard. Watch out for a few crosses on the right side of the road with a small parking area in front—less than a mile east from the Wetlands Loop trailhead and about half a mile before you would arrive at the visitor center. To get a local overview, find Deadman's Creek Trail (colored in blue) in the lower right section of the Washoe Lake State Park map.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Goodbye Google+

Gone after April 2, 2019: my Google+ Account (like all other consumer accounts)

My Explore Reno-Tahoe collection including my favorite black bear snapshot and a picture of Reno's historic post office

My Recreating Outdoors collection including links to my posts about the Point Reyes' Kule Loklo Trail and Kehoe Beachside Geology

I have a personal Google+ account, which is going away on April 2, 2019 [1]. This is not an April Fools Day prank. Google+ for “consumers” will be shut down [2].  The reason for the G+ suspension are low user engagement and Google's internal investigation (Project Strobe) resulting in privacy concerns related to the access that third-party developer have on Google and Android products [3-5].

The Google+ Team send me an email with a link to download my Google+ content in archived format, including +1 websites (liked websites) as well as circle and stream data.

To share and keep in memory my Google+ Profile and my collections, I above show selected screenshots.

In addition to posting to Trailing Ahead, I continue publishing on Explore Reno-Tahoe and beyondLatintos and Axeleratio—and share pictures via Twitter (@travelingahead), Pinterest (TrailingAhead) and Tumblr (Axeleratio). More about me at

Here, I like to take the opportunity to thank all my readers; those, in particular, who contacted me forwarding comments and supplementary information or inquiring about re-publishing a liked post in a local newsletter. 

Keywords: social networking, Google PlusGoogle+ shutdown, G+.


[1] My Google+ Home Page “always between borders, bonds and bytes” still available through February and March of 2019:
[2] Google+ profile and page suspension. Google+ Help. Link:
[3] Ryan Whitwam: Google+ Will Shut Down in 2019 After Exposing User Data. ExtremeTech, Oct. 8, 2018. Link:
[4] Swapna Krishna: Google is shutting down Google+ following massive data exposure. engadget, Oct 8, 2018. Link:
[5] Mike Allton: Goodbye Google+. Google Shuts Down Google+. Link:

Friday, December 28, 2018

Around the Nevada “N”-—the Thorton Point Loop

Thorton Point: view of downton Reno, Huffaker Hills and Virginia Range
The Thorton Point Loop is a round trail within the section of Rancho San Rafael Park stretching into the Peavine Mountain foothills north of N McCarran Blvd. This is a popular hiking and mountain biking area just a few miles away from the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). UNR students maintain and paint the rocks that form the hillside letter_“N” with its slab serifs.
 Nevada “N” —slab-serif-typefaced
“N” trail signRecently, I noticed the trail-map entryThorton Point Loop 4.0 mi” in the Evans Canyon Trailhead map displayed at the kiosk in the Reno Softball Complex/Disc Golf Course parking area. Older maps just show(ed) Thorton Point (if at all). Anyway, walk from the trailhead to the Basque Sheepherder Monument and you will see the “N” slope with the Thorton Point rock outcrops crowning the Nevada “N” site. From the monument, hike downhill to Evans Canyon grove where a Nature Trail circles through the tiny forest alongside creek banks. Cross Evans Creek and go upward on Miners Canyon Trail/ “N” Trail leading to the “N” site. Before getting to the letter baseline, turn right at the intersection you can see in the upper section of the picture below.
“N” Trail
Upward to the Nevada “N” and Thorton Point

Mizpah mine tailings
Pass the tailings of the Reno Mizpah Mining Co. site (in the small canyon to your right).
Continue ascending to the fenced-in NV Energy high-voltage facility. At the trail intersection next to the hazardous voltage site, turn left onto Reno Vista Trail. This trail traverses the area between the “N” and Thornton Point.

Thorton Point red rock with lichen and snow
Eventually, the vista trail bends left and descends to its junction with the Rancho Connector Trail (RCT). Continue downhill on the RCT into Coyote Canyon, ending at the Evans Canyon grove. From there, it only is a short distance to the Basque Monument and your starting point.

Trail Maps

Map showing four-mile-long Thorton Point Loop trail (displayed at Evans Canyon Trailhead kiosk):
Nevada “N” and Thorton Point

“Peavine Trails” map:
Find Thorton Point and the“N” in the lower right quadrant of this map. The Thorton Point Loop can be identified by following, clockwise, a section of  the Rancho Connector Trail, Reno Vista Trail, “N” Trail and Miners Cyn Trail.