|CFHS blog's new name...September 8th|
(quote by Seth Stroud, an excerpt from Wind in the Wires, Book 1, A Trails of Reba Cahill Novel, by Janet Chester Bly)
The very first novel research trip I took alone was to the remote, high desert location of Silver Peak, one of the oldest mining communities in Nevada. Several of the characters in the novel I'm working on, Wind in the Wires, take a fateful journey there. A climax of discovery in the story happens in that area.
Out of Goldfield off Highway 95 on Road 265, I traveled on a road across marsh flats. The route littered with miles of bottles, whole and broken, and beer cans. And water mirages. And open range cattle. I spotted a small herd of camels next to burros. Tiny sage grew barely high enough for a desert rat.
Just outside of town, Alcatraz Island, a marshy area with huge tailings mounded against the base of the mountains. A city sign announced, "Welcome to Silver Peak...A Virtual Paradise.” At least one resident had a sense of humor in the population of 107.
Another on the road warned, “Caution: Minimum Maintenance Only.” Very few side roads exist because a) terrain too rough, and b) no place to go.
A man on a horse with bedroll in back, tarp in front, entered the village ahead of me. Out in the dirt, young men raced pickups like hot rods. Wild horses roam all over. Hearing tales of a "Wild Horse Johnson” in the 1940s and 50s gave me an idea for a character.
From a hill north of town I could see all of the town and the marshy surroundings.
|Silver Peak, Nevada|
A local told me, “When this place was humming the whole mountain range vibrated.”Silver Peak has been a mining town off and on since 1863. Remains of at least five mills still are visible among the more recent structures. Olympic Games organizer Avery Brundage once operated one of the mills.
Silver Peak has a resident deputy and volunteer EMTs. The nearest hospital is in Bishop, California, more than a hundred miles away.
The oldest structure was a store and stage stop in 1864. The original one-room post office still stands next to a modern replacement, a single-wide mobile home. When I was there, I saw four mules lounged in front, tied, tethered, and loaded with bundles. When I first visited in 1991, the postmaster had served since 1939. A wealth of local history.
Out on the marsh they mine for lithium, a soft silver white metal, by extracting it from the brine evaporating in
There used to be mineral hot springs and bathtub sized ponds. Springs even ran into houses. But drilling dried it all up. Wood litter at old houses exposes former wooden tubs.
A dark brown-black cinder cone grows sagebrush along the sides. It looks like a huge decaying beast and
Ten miles south a large sand dune area visible. Can hike over it but driving on the soft blow sand not advised. I declined the hike after the cinder cone adventure.
Flash floods can be an extreme problem for the alkali ground. Water stands even a week after rain, leaving a sticky, slimy gumbo. So, of course, a flash flood occurs in Wind in the Wires.
|Janet Chester Bly|
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Silver Peak sounds like an interesting place to visit, but not a town I'd care to live in. Reading this made me realize how much I take for granted living in a large city. We have five large hospitals within a twenty minute drive. I'm curious to know how many children attend school there if the town only boasts 107 residents.ReplyDelete
Vickie: I don't know about the number of children in the school. Probably draws from families who live in outlying areas too, like most small towns. Even so, a small school, to be sure.ReplyDelete
There are no "outlying" areas. When we moved there we had 3boys. When the youngest graduated 8th. grade he was the only one.Delete
Thanks for taking us along, virtually speaking, on your research trip. I'm sure you were wise to decline the soft blow sand adventure. I enjoyed the wonderful excerpt from Wind in the Wires.ReplyDelete