Saturday, July 2, 2011

“Ghost of a Sawmill” next to the trail from Hobart Road to Hobart Reservoir

What looks like a failed construction of an early submarine placed in a pine and fir forest, is called “Ghost of a Sawmill.”  This over-hundred-years-old, ghosty and rusted metal multitube is a leftover of the mining and sawmilling past between Virginia City and Lake Tahoe, when the Carson Range was an “industrial zone” with operating lumber and water businesses, supplying the booming mining industry.

This is the “ghost” of a steam boiler. Between the late 1870s and 1880s this site was operated by a Sierra Nevada Wood and Lumber Company, as an interpreted panel explains. Some industrial tools and other artifacts can still be found around the steam boiler. But their is more speculation than knowledge (documented facts) circulating around on what then was happening at this place. The panel offers this:

Before the turn of the 20th century, these hills and valleys were dotted with sawmills, all frantically turning the great Sierran forests into timbers for Virginia City Mines, lumber for buildings throughout the valleys below, and cord-wood for fueling extensive steam engine operations. This lumber business was paralleled by an equally booming water-supply business; in fact, because the water companies needed lumber for their flumes—and sawmills needed water to run boilers (similar to this boiler in front of you) and transport logs—these companies often had an overlapping board of directors.

At least that sounds familiar.

Getting to the “Ghost of a Sawmill” site
Exit HWY 395 between Carson City and Reno at East Lake Boulevard at the southwest corner of Washoe Lake. Continue south on 428, parallel to the highway and turn right into Lakeview Road. Immediately, leave this road and take Hobart Road (right turn, but not much of a turn) in westward direction. After passing the intersection with Numaga Pass Road, park near the Lakeview Gate Trailhead at the end of Hobart Road.
The trail is a dirt road used by hikers and bikers. Various parts are steep. The trail over the south-side slopes of Mc Ewen Creek Canyon offer vistas of Washoe Valley and Lake. The vegetation changes from riparian to manzanitian. Higher up you'll reach open forest. When arriving at a solar-panel equipped water tank facility, the final stretch will be climb-free, again with valley and lake views and Slide Mountain to the north. After about 3.5 miles from the trailhead gate, you' ll reach another gate with a sign indicating that you are entering Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park and you are 1.5 miles away from the Hobart Reservoir (Fishing Lake and Campground) and 2.5 miles away from the Red House historical site. Never mind the sign, you have arrived at your destination: you'll see the steam boiler to your left as soon as you pass the trail that branches to the right.

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