Wednesday, December 30, 2015

A Short History of the Rock Point Mill Site

Nevada has history, all over the place! Gold was discovered in Gold Canyon, just outside of Dayton, NV. A quartz-crushing mill site was built to process ore coming from Virginia City, also nearby, the site of the Comstock Lode, and where the "Rush to Washoe" started.

After the California Gold Rush had ended, gold was discovered in Nevada, near Virginia City. While mining gold, a huge silver deposit was found, called the Comstock Lode.

The Rock Point Mill was used to process ore coming from these mines, to extract the gold from the quartz. The original mill was built in 1861. It was powered by water from the Carson River, which ran 2,000 feet through a wooden flume, from the Rock Point Dam.

The mill burned down in 1882, and was replaced. Between 1909 and 1920, floods and more fires caused more damage. In 1920 the mill was finally dismantled and moved to Silver City.

Between 1920 and 1954, the old mill site was used as a local dump! In 1977, it was transferred to the State of Nevada, and developed as part of Dayton State Park starting in 1979. Now it sits along Highway 50, directly adjacent to the Gold Ranch Casino.

The mill had eight batteries of five stamps each, meaning it could process 40 tons of ore per day.

A volunteer giving a history talk, with a working model of a stamp battery.
The old reservoir that powered the mill is now a picnic area in a grove of cottonwood trees.
For a better description from a real historian, check out Backyard Traveler!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Northern Nevada and California are in the 4th year of a drought, so our lake is dry! Normally it is a shallow natural lake, 4 miles long and two miles wide, but right now there is hardly any water in Washoe Valley at all right now.

View of Washoe Lake from a distance...

Dry lakebed up close. We even have pictures of people flying kites out there!
Hopefully if we get a couple good winters, our lake will fill back up! There are 11 streams flowing into the lake, all dependent on snow melt. We need a couple years with a good snow pack in the mountains to maintain the lake.
 We got a couple rainstorms over the summer and fall, and people would always ask if that helped the lake out...not at all! All that will do is make it muddy...

Sunday, August 31, 2014

3 Months at Washoe Lake State Park

So far I've survived my first 3 months at Washoe Lake! I've done 2 full moon hikes so far, helped with the Dutch Oven cooking class, staffed a booth at the fair, and staffed a booth at a youth event in Carson City. I didn't get a picture...yet...but we have a family of bobcats in the park running around!

View of Washoe Lake from the Mount Rose Highway outside of Reno. We need some water this winter so the lake doesn't dry up! (it has in the past).

The Wetlands Loop is one of our nicest walking trails (in my opinion).
We had a crazy hailstorm earlier in August that turned our sand dunes white!
We hosted a Rattlesnake Avoidance Training for dogs (and their owners) in June. If you look closely, you can see that snake's mouth is muzzled! No snakes or dogs were injured in this program....
It's been a great park to work at so far! It is a lot different from Fort Churchill, so there is still a LOT to learn! Virginia City, is just over the hill from us so I need to explore this area more. Virginia City was built when gold, and later, silver, were discovered in Nevada. Washoe Valley was settled to supply Virginia City with lumber from the Sierra Nevada, crops, and water.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sometimes You Have to Leave the Desert...(part 1)

...for the coast!

One of my absolute favorite places to visit, even for a night or two, is Monterey, CA. I've only been there twice, but Dave's been there a lot, and he's glad I like it! Last time we even drove the 17-mile scenic loop around Carmel...and I was brave enough to venture down to the beach alone (Dave didn't want to go) to look in tide pools before the tide came in and I got to see sea anemones for the first time, outside of an aquarium. Last time we were there, we did visit the aquarium, but this time (March 2014) we didn't.  I would have gone, but Dave gets bored fast in those kind of settings, so I kind of thought it would have been a waste of money!

I'm going to have to split this into 2 posts, because there are way too many pictures!

The reason I love it :) I've been reading books by John Steinbeck just because he mentions the place. (and he was a great author!)

Beautiful...There's part of a chapter in Cannery Row that spends a lot of time describing life in a tide pool. Sea anemones, hermit crabs,'s awesome.

Another view

Anemone not covered with water, protected with pieces of sand, rock and shell. I had to look hard to figure out what these were!

Cannery Row in Monterey was full of Sardine canneries.

2nd over from the right, 3rd down, Dave's waving.

Egret looking for fish.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Nature Trail

A few sights along the Nature Trail...

Bullock's Oriole nest...built from twine, horse hair, grass, or any other fibrous material they can find.

Lizard sunning itself. Spring is here!

Woodpecker hole...we have Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, and Northern Flickers.

The little gnats flying around that are making me CRAZY right now hatch out of these things. They are called "pinecone galls." The midge (gnat) lays an egg on the willow and when the egg hatches, it secrets a chemical that causes the willow to grow a "gall." The larvae spends the winter in these galls and emerges in the spring as a gnat. Head nets will save your sanity out here!!

Red-winged Blackbird.