Lost Camp Rediscovered!
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Little did I know that one fall day, that would all change for me! It was October 1999 in Northern Nevada, and I was taking a leisurely ATV ride behind my house in the Pine Nut Mountains when I discovered and old logging camp.
It All Started as a Typical ATV Ride
This ride was to be just another typical outing over familiar roads, trails and dry washes leading to higher elevations in the pine nuts. There are so many different trails to choose from, I would sometimes randomly pick my routes as I rode. Today was such a day. Somehow, I ended up on a narrow jeep trail located about 18 miles east of Lake Tahoe, which offered some wonderful views of the Sierras.
The trail dropped down into a sandy, narrow canyon surrounded by pinion pines. Further up, the trail narrowed to the point that it was only suitable for dirt bikes and my 4×4 ATV. I had traveled this trail many times in the past and noticed nothing out of the ordinary. So, after stopping for a rest break and some lunch, I decided to stretch my legs and walk around a bit.
I Spotted an Overgrown Trail…
About 30 yards from my bike, I noticed what seemed to be an overgrown road or trail. This caught my attention and I began exploring this area more thoroughly. I thought to myself, this trail has to be really old to be covered by all this mature overgrowth. I began walking in a circular pattern from where I first discovered the old trail, hoping to find more clues as to what this trail was all about. All the while, hoping it led to a lost camp or the like.
Not 60 yards from my ATV, I came across the remnants of an old cabin, completely flattened by many harsh winters. Other than a few broken bottles, rusted tin cans and a few other odds and ends, I found nothing special. It appeared the cabin had been built on the banks of a seasonal stream, now, just a dry wash. Somehow, I felt there was more to this place, so I kept searching for the lost camp.
From the cabin, the trail seemed to follow the old stream up into a very steep sided canyon. By now, I was several hundred yards from my ATV, so I decided to return to my bike to continue my search while riding. The going got rough and required 4-wheel drive and some fancy maneuvering to retrace the washed-out, overgrown trail up the canyon.
The Lost Camp
Finally, a quarter mile from the flattened cabin, I came upon the convergence of three small canyons and could travel no further. It was time to dismount and do some more exploring on foot. Right off the bat, I spotted an old wood stove under a pine tree, surrounded by old remnants of days gone by. Could this be my lost camp?
I found old cookware, different sized cans, assorted colored bottles, shovels and axes with the handles eaten off by porcupines. There were parts of old leather boots, mule harnesses and mule shoes. I found wire cable, barrels, personal items and a lot of things that I couldn’t identify. This place was a bonanza of undisturbed artifacts and history, less than ten miles from my house.
History From the 1800s
Judging from what I’d found, this site had probably been abandoned for well over a 100 years. This was later confirmed by a local historian, who dated some of the items back to the 1870s. Other then the few samples presented to the historian, I left everything intact to preserve a bit of history. I frequently ride to the lost camp and, sometimes, bring friends to view it with me, but with the strict rule not to disturb it.
Apparently, the trail into the camp was an old logging road, created by mules skidding fallen timber down the canyon. Every time I return to the camp, I find something new, as the winter runoff and summer thunderstorms seem to hide some things, while uncovering others.
It’s now 2011 and I finally saw evidence of someone else discovering this site! They apparently were hikers who just stumbled upon my secret spot. They removed some of the artifacts and disturbed the area, no respect.
No return trip is ever the same and provides some new and exciting adventures, almost like discovering a new lost camp.
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