JUNK Aug 28 – 30, 6025 (2020 CE)

The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus

The Humbug at the Von Schmidt Marker, Three Corners, Nevada

Julia’s Unequivocal Nevada Klampout 6025
Open to all Redshirts of Good Standing.
$15 to join gets you the JUNK badge and sheepskin – certificate of membership, $10 for a hanger that says “Three Corners, NV”
Applegate Trail * Fremont’s 2nd Expedition * Pacific DC Intertie


Friday, August 28:

Arrive at the Campsite around 6 pm. Here is a link to a proposed route from the Reno direction, and a link to the campsite location itself.

Saturday, August 29:

8 am: Barrel Springs Road. We will hike out to some petroglyphs as mentioned in this brochure. We will admire the Pacific DC Intertie and talk about its significance.
11 am: Three Corners Monument. Here is a link that shows travel from camp to Three Corners. The approach from Oregon is the least amount of walking, but it goes up a large hill without a trail. There is another way in from the California side, but the sign says “No Trespassing” albeit with no gate. That looks like a flatter hike but quite a bit longer. We will talk about the history of the boundary.
1 pm: You might decide to have lunch in Ft. Bidwell. See the menu for NFB BBQ below.
3 pm: Return to Camp and relax a while.
5 pm – 7 pm: Cooking Competition.
The Noble Grand Humbug et alia will officiate this event by tasting a little bit of each dish submitted for consideration. Bribes are accepted. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place “JUNK Kuisine” trophies.
8 pm: Auction. Brett “Short Round” Stockwell presides as the Bonafide Barker. Bring cash and items to donate to the auction, or Short Round will donate your stuff for you.

Sunday, August 30:

* Massacre Ranch. This link shows travel to Massacre Ranch, NV. The history of this interesting site is below. If you have time and are interested, you can go check out this spot along the Applegate – Lassen Emigrant Trail.
Noon – 3:30 pm:
* Rte 34 to Gerlach. This link shows the way along Nevada State Route 34. Along this route you can talk about the Stolpa snowbound story and stop by the George W Lund Petrified Forest for a spell.
* Rte 447 to Gerlach. Or, you can take the paved road back through Ft. Bidwell
4 pm: Empire Plaque Dedication. We will dedicate the new E Clampus Vitus monument at the site of the former US Gypsum company town.
5 pm: Drinks in Gerlach. The Humbug will buy the first round at the Miner’s Club.

Here are some photos from the camp:

Surprise Valley Barrel Springs Back Country Byway – BLM brochure 1992

The NFB, 55015 Main St, Fort Bidwell, CA 96112 (530) 708-1070 Bar and Restaurant. Closes at 8 pm.

Three Corners Information
Elevation: 5,285ft / 1,611m
Lat/Lon (WGS84): 41°59’41.65″ N, 119°59’58.18″ W
41.994902, -119.999494 11T 251557 4653563
Lat/Lon (NAD27): 41°59’42.15″ N, 119°59’54.40″ W
41.995043, -119.998445 11T 251638 4653363

The 1872 Von Schmidt marker at the then calculated Longitude 120deg, Latitude 42deg. The white between the rocks is mortar holding the cairn together. A cow’s skull is hanging on the post set in the cairn. ACCESS ROUTE: From Adel, OR, go S 17 miles to the CA border. Continue about l/2 mile S to a faint 4WD road heading E. With a high clearance vehicle you can drive in the first mile. Otherwise, leave car at the main road and hike to the end of the 4WD road, then continue down into Cow Head Slough and up the other side of the ravine.

Then, heading slightly N of E, cross flat, open terrain, passing a small dry lake bed on your right. At about 1 1/4 miles from the end of the 4WD road, you will reach the CA – NV fence line. Note, there is no fence on the OR – CA line. After reaching the CA – NV fence line, follow it N to the VonSchmidt marker, which is a large stone cairn dated 1872. This is on the Nevada side of the fence, with witness marker signs on several trees around the cairn. A survey to determine the NE comer of CA was made by D. G. Major in 1868. In 1872-73 W. A. VonSchmidt surveyed the CA- NV boundary and found Major’s corner about 3 1/4 miles too far. W. VonSchmidt set the comer at the point he determined to be N 42°, W 120°. On the CA side of the fence, 117 ft. SW of the VonSchmidt post is a Geodetic Survey marker at N 41° 59.689′, W 119° 59.927′.

Mark your route on the way in, or take a compass heading, or GPS bearing. Otherwise, it is difficult to find the 4WD road on your return. If approaching from the South, from Cedarville, CA, go North 43 miles to the above mentioned 4WD path.

Newsletter – #99-12q4-p20 – Greg Weiler, Jean Newcomer
Greg Weiler and Jean Newcomer at the CA-NV-OR tripoint.The road from Adel, OR is called 20-Mile Road and goes to Ft Bidwell. The pavement ends after 8.0 mi. The faint 4WD track that Jack Parsell mentions (at 17.6 mi on our odometer) is still there but is locked by a chained gate flanked by stone cairns. Our handheld Garmin GPS read 1.96 mi to the tripiont. There were no “No Trespassing” signs visible so we climbed through the gate and followed the jeep track 0.1 mi to a fence.

It’s possible to avoid the gate by following the fence line just to the right of the gate 0.1 mi then turning left along the fence for 50 feet or so to reach the 4WD track but this route is through heavy sage.

Once over the fence we followed the 4WD track 0.9 mi to the slough Jack mentions. The track is very faint in spots. The slough, or ravine, is no small affair; it’s about 100′ deep and a couple hundred feet across with steep rock walls on the east side. At the end of the 4WD track we were lucky enough to find a trail down the west side of the slough. Once at the bottom we turned left (N) for about 200′ until we could see a break in the rock wall above then climbed out (no trail).

Once out of the slough we headed cross country through sage and rocks to a point just south of the tripoint so we’d intersect the CA-NV fence line then followed the fence left (N) for a few hundred feet to the tripoint. The skull Jack mentions is no longer there. There is a logbook in a red can; the last visitor was the day before.

Back at the trailhead there is a pull-off about 0.1 mi south of the gate big enough for 2-3 cars. We saw no sign of the dry lakebed Jack mentions but this could have been because we were slightly too far N to see it. For GPS junkies the trailhead/gate coordinates are N41 deg 59 min 24.0 sec W 120 deg 02 min 14.8 sec.

Massacre? What Massacre? An Inquiry into the Massacre of 1850
by Thomas N. Layton
Nevada Historical Society, Winter 1977

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… In this essay it will be argued that the Massacre place-names and their accompanying story are the product of attempts during the 1870s to explain rationally certain archaeological features of the area that date to the 1849-1852 period.

At the present time, there exist a number of published accounts which describe in lurid detail the massacre of forty emigrants by Indians near Massacre Lake in 1850; oddly enough, however, there are no contemporary accounts of the event. A major purpose of this article is to trace the development of the acceptance of the massacre story. Helen Carlson, one of Nevada’s foremost students of place-names, credits a publication of the W.P.A. Federal Writers Project as her source for the massacre. In turn, the W.P.A. account can be traced to a version published by Nevada historian Effie Mona Mack in 1936. She credits a 1931 travel article featured in the Sacramento Bee, and written by William S. Brown. But there the trail ends abruptly, for Brown does not identify the source of his story. He simply informs the reader that little record of the tragedy has been preserved. He relates that a large wagon train with poor leadership had been followed and constantly menaced by Indians throughout its passage through the High Rock Canyon country, and several members of the party had been killed:

Finally after days of a slow running fight, an organized drive was made on the Indians and they were driven far back behind the train. The white forces returned to their main encampment not knowing that the Indians were almost at their heels again. The savage attack fell on the camp at a moment when it was ill prepared to withstand assault, and before the emigrants finally gained the victory, over forty white men had been killed fighting desperately to save their womenfolks and children from the Indians.

Although Brown’s is the oldest known written version of the massacre, the tale obviously has a much longer history. The Massacre Lake designation appears as early as 1906 on United States Geological Survey maps. But, to date, the earliest record of the Massacre place-name is in the History of Nevada edited by Myron Angel in 188l. In that work the name appears in a section describing the principal features of Roop (now Washoe) County:

Still farther south is Massacre Valley, a fine tract of land six by twelve miles in extent. Two thousand head of cattle are kept here, and there is a small tract of meadow land. South of Massacre Valley is High Rock Canyon running diagonally across three townships.

Because this historical work was conceived, researched, and published in a period of sixteen months, the Massacre Valley designation must have been in current usage as early as 1879. But at this point the record ends without leads, for written records of the High Rock Country are sparse for the three decades between the date of the alleged massacre in 1850 and the first official use of the place name in 1879-80. It will be necessary to examine the history of the High Rock Country in greater detail to learn how the massacre story developed during this period.

The earliest written record of passage through the High Rock Country is John Fremont’s 1843 journal of exploration. Fremont was followed by Jesse Applegate in 1846. Applegate’s intent was to blaze a wagon road escape route for Americans in Oregon should war break out with the British over possession of the Oregon Territory. On his arrival in Idaho, Applegate advertised the new road and encouraged some of the Oregon bound emigrants of 1846 to leave the Oregon Trail and follow the Humboldt River route across Nevada toward California. Applegate directed these adventurers to leave the Humboldt River at its great bend near present-day Imlay and to proceed northwest along the new Applegate Cutoff.

The Applegate Cutoff became far more traveled after Peter Lassen extended it southward into central California via the Pitt River to the Sacramento Valley. Lassen established a trading post along this route and actively encouraged the emigrants of 1849 to take what became known as the Lassen Cutoff. The Applegate-Lassen road proceeded from the great bend of the Humboldt River across the Black Rock Desert to Soldier Meadows, thence through High Rock Canyon to Forty-nine Pass and into Surprise Valley, California. Emigrants often broke the twenty-five-mile trek between High Rock Canyon and Forty-nine Pass with a stopover at Emigrant Spring near the present-day Massacre Ranch. The emigration of 1849 following the Applegate Cutoff included both California-bound gold seekers and Oregon-bound settlers. It is estimated that 7000-9000 people traveled this route in 1849. Of 132 known diaries recording crossings of Nevada in 1849, forty describe the Applegate – Lassen road. These emigrants found it to be rugged and indirect. Word spread rapidly and the 1850 emigration was probably less than 500 persons. Apparently few, if any, passed over the Applegate-Lassen road in 1851. 

After 1850 there was little traffic through the High Rock Country until 1862 when silver was discovered in southwestern Idaho. By 1865 a well-traveled mail and freight route from Chico, California to Silver City, Idaho (near present-day Boise) passed northward through the High Rock Country via Granite Creek, Soldier Meadows and Summit Lake. It was during the mid-1860s that some Nevada Indians, having acquired horses, organized into mobile, mounted predator bands. These bands threatened commerce along much of the length of the Idaho Road. As a result, U.S. Army Camp McGarry was temporarily established at Summit Lake in 1865 and manned until it was abandoned in 1868.

By the late 1860s these groups of raiding Indians had been destroyed and the Chico-Idaho road had fallen into disuse, superseded by other routes. Thus, following the brief flurry of the mid-1860s, written records concerning the High Rock Country again became sparse. Following pacification, cattlemen started to move into the High Rock Country with the growth of that industry during the early 1870s. The cattle industry was well established there by 1879-80, and at this time the massacre placename is mentioned in the History of Nevada edited by Myron Angel.

When it is subjected to critical review, several aspects of the 1850 massacre story appear extremely suspicious. First, from what is known of the Indians of the High Rock Country, an organized, large-scale attack on a wagon train is entirely out of character. A careful reading of seventeen emigrant diaries which record passage through the High Rock Country between 1846 and 1849 has revealed nine Indian-perpetrated incidents along the Applegate Road between the Black Rock Desert and Forty-nine Pass. All of these incidents involved the shooting or stealing of emigrants’ cows or horses; and all occurred at night. Throughout this literature there is but one recorded instance of an Indian shooting a Caucasian anywhere in the High Rock Country, and this incident was precipitated by the Caucasian himself. It occurred in late August of 1849 in the hills between Soldier Meadows and the Black Rock Desert. It is described as follows in the diary of Burrell Whalen Evans:

… her we met some U.S. Troops from Oregon who was on their rout to Fort Hall they were encamped two miles of us their guide thought he could pilot them a nearer way to the head of Maryes River got permission from the Commander and started on this rout with three other men they traveled some fifteen miles that day and the next day early in the morning they saw some indians in the hills They made signs for the Indians to come to them Two of the Indians approached the Guide and a man by name of Garrison the other men being over a hill from them The indians was afraid of the Whites and Garrison seeing it though he would have some fun snatched his gun from off his shoulder and in the act of presenting at the Indians the Indian drew his bow Garrison fired at him but missed him the Indian shot him throu the body with an arrow and killed him amediateley the Guid killed one of the Indians and they came back to camp bringing Garrison with them where I saw him,

The 1846-49 pattern of Indian activity along the Applegate Road through the High Rock Country was clearly one of persistent but small-scale nocturnal action against emigrants’ draft animals by small, dispersed groups of Indians. There seems to have been no organized effort directed against the emigrants themselves. Indians often only attempted to shoot and injure an ox or horse so that it could be recovered and eaten after the emigrants had been forced to abandon it. This pattern of scattered, small-scale Indian predation against draft animals, as recorded in emigrants’ diaries, fits well with ethnographic descriptions of small foraging pedestrian bands of the northern Great Basin.

In contrast, specialized, mounted predatory Indians did exist further north in the Warner Valley of south central Oregon as early as 1827, and they were active as late as September 26,1849, when Captain William H. Warner of the U.S. Army Topographical Engineers was ambushed and killed by a party of twenty-five Indians. These Indians made at least one raid south into the Massacre-Long Valley area during the summer of 1849, but this raid was nocturnal and directed only against livestock. The group was again recorded in August, 1850 by U.S. Army Captain N. Lyon, who had been sent to Warner Valley to search for Captain Warner’s remains. Lyon remained in the valley until approximately August 26; however, on September 26, after returning to California, he told Goldsborough Bruff that on August 24, in Warner Valley:

While camped in the valley at the foot of a Pass, a band of about 50 Indians came down from the opposite range of high hills and formed a line flanked by 2 horsemen. One of them fired a rifle several times, with some precision and in good time.

This predator band from Warner Valley is perhaps the only remotely reasonable group to have carried out an emigrant massacre in 1850, but Captain Lyon’s report on his Warner Valley trip records no massacres of emigrants anywhere in the area. This would indicate that the 1850 massacre had to have taken place during September or later, but before the end of the year’s emigration.

Westward-bound emigrants always scheduled their movements to allow crossing the Sierra well before the onset of winter at higher elevations. Of the thirty-three known diarists of 1849 who took the Applegate route, the slowest and last of the group had departed the Humboldt River and embarked on the cutoff by September 21. Allowing for adequate rest time, this last wagon train should have completed its transit of the High Rock Country by the end of the first week of October and passed into Surprise Valley, California. Assuming a similar scheduling for the reduced number of wagon trains in 1850, it can be safely predicted that the emigration of 1850 along the Applegate road through the High Rock Country was likewise near its completion by the end of the first week of October. For all practical purposes, then, the Massacre of 1850 can only have occurred after Captain Lyon’s departure from Warner Valley on August 26, and before the end of the 1850 emigration through Massacre Valley about October 7.

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Captain Lyon’s Warner Valley report was handwritten in Benicia, California, and dated November 1, 1850, approximately three weeks after the end of the 1850 emigration through the Massacre Valley. Since he makes no mention of an emigrant massacre, it can be argued that word of a massacre might not have reached him in three weeks, but no other known military document records a massacre in 1850, either. It is highly unlikely that both the V.S. Army and the people in the area could totally overlook a massacre offorty persons. The killing of Phinney Garrison in 1849, discussed above, is recorded independently by seven different contemporary diarists. Rumor of massacre and murder has a life of its own. It spreads rapidly, is long remembered, and gains momentum with retelling. Its hideous aspect is its greatest appeal. That the Massacre of 1850 was not recorded in the 1850s when it would have been sensational news poses a serious question concerning its historical authenticity.

Systematic compilation of all known records of murders of Caucasians by Indians in Oregon and northern California was begun in 1854, only four years after the alleged massacre, by order of the Secretary of the Oregon Territory. The purpose of this compilation was to document the Indian menace that necessitated establishing a force of volunteer soldiers from the Oregon and Washington Territories to protect the overland emigration, particularly along the Southern or Applegate Road. In 1858, in an effort to secure an appropriation from the V.S. Congress to repay the Oregon Volunteers, the Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oregon sent a collection of sworn and notarized documents to President James Buchanan describing in detail both the original need for the Volunteers and their subsequent field activities. The authors of these documents attempted to list all known murders of Caucasians by Indians and succeeded in recording a total of 242 for the period between 1834 and 1857. Their summary chart listed six murders for 1850. It borders on the impossible that they could have overlooked the murder of forty emigrants on the Applegate Road. The killing of forty persons would have been, by far, the largest massacre reported. These economically motivated authors were grabbing at straws to dramatize the need for the Oregon Volunteers. Had there even been a rumor of a massacre in 1850, they would have recorded it in lurid detail. That they did not list a massacre in 1850 is strong evidence that there was no massacre in 1850.

Negative evidence is extremely difficult to work with. It is generally easier to prove that something did happen than to prove that something did not. To debunk convincingly the Massacre of 1850, it is not enough to build a logical argument by accumulating circumstantial evidence. It is essential, in addition, to provide an alternative model to explain the existence of the massacre place-names and the tenacity of the massacre story.

This review of the literature has shown that the massacre place-names did not appear until the late 1870s concurrent with the opening of the High Rock Country to its first heavy use by the rapidly-developing cattle industry. The 1870s thus mark the beginning of the first steady and consistent occupation of the High Rock Country by Caucasians, ending what was effectively a twenty-five-year hiatus of records since the westward emigration of 1849-50. It was during the 1870s that many of the geographic features of the High Rock Country were named. Cowboys became intimately acquainted with topographic features in the process of keeping track of cattle, and information transfer among cowboys required names for canyons, valleys, mountains and water sources. In the course of their work, cowboys came upon a variety of artifacts surviving from the Gold Rush thirty years earlier. These artifacts included abandoned wagons and baggage, autographs carved on canyon walls, and graves marked with rock cairns. In the Massacre Valley near the present-day Massacre Ranch there are two rock structures which have been interpreted as graves. One of them (Fig. 2) measuring 8 by 13 feet has been interpreted as a mass grave because of its size. In reality, this structure may be associated and contemporary with the Massacre Ranch, or it may date from the 1849-52 period. At present, this is not known. However, this structure has been listed by several scholars as a possible grave site of the emigrants killed in the Massacre of 1850.

Recognition and interpretation of graves dating from 1849 to 1852 in the High Rock Country requires an understanding that during the period there were commonly two kinds of graves. The first kind of grave was for dead people, the sort into which Phinney Garrison was placed. 28 Such graves were generally dug in the middle of the road and left unmarked so that subsequent traffic would erase any trace and thereby prevent exhumation by Indians. The second kind of grave was somewhat more common, particularly in the vicinity of the Applegate Road through the High Rock Country. This type was usually large and clearly marked, generally with a cairn of rocks, and it formed a cache for personal belongings and equipment which the excavator hoped to recover at a later date. Caches were frequent along the Applegate Road through the High Rock Country because emaciated draft animals, already reduced to exhaustion in crossing the Black Rock Desert, were incapable of pulling heavily loaded wagons through the rough and broken lava terrain. Moreover, many disheartened emigrants, on learning that they were still hundreds of miles from the California gold fields, cached their belongings in anticipation of the long haul ahead.

A contemporary description of the cache-making process was written by Dr. Joseph Middleton on October 5, 1849, while he was camped on the Applegate Trail near the site of the present Massacre Ranch and” mass grave.” Middleton recorded in his diary that near the campsite a grave was found marked “Daniel Wheeler, a colored man Died September 23, 1849.” Middleton relates that in actuality the grave was

what in this wilderness is called a cache. It contains hidden articles of an entire wagon, taken to pieces and carefully packed away, besides many other things the owners could not take along with them … about a quarter mile ahead the same operation was going on … by another wagon party…. Many of the larger graves we have passed are doubtless caches.

It is highly likely that the “mass grave” near Massacre Ranch is in fact a cache, as were most other such structures. The cache was likely looted by subsequent travelers soon after it was constructed, leaving a conspicuous pile of rocks to be found by cowboys thirty years later. 30 Cowboys, unaware of the cache-making process, interpreted this or some other prominent cairn as a mass grave and logically explained it as the result of a massacre. This bit of folk interpretation of an archaeological feature is probably the complete basis of the so-called “Massacre of 1850.”

The deception of the cache-making Forty-niner may not have fooled his contemporaries; but the deception was not without some small success. It has fooled generations of cowboys and historians, and has provided Nevada with a series of colorful place-names which dramatize the history of the High Rock Country, even if they do not contribute to its accuracy.

From “A Guide to the Applegate Trail, Fourth Edition”
by Donald E. Buck, Trails West, Inc.


Massacre Ranch was part of the Miller and Lux Pacific Land & Livestock Company holdings until liquidated in the mid-1920’s. Martin Lartirigoyen bought the ranch and ran it as a sheep operation in the 1930′ s and then leased it to John Laxague from Surprise Valley. Later, Lartirigoyen’s son-in-law, Bob Bunyard, took over management of the ranch until a complex multi-party arrangement involving the Bureau of Land Management, the American Land Conservancy, and the Bunyard family allowed the BLM to acquire Massacre Ranch in 1995. Part of the arrangement included retiring the ranch’s domestic sheep grazing permit, which paved the way for the reintroduction of bighorn sheep into High Rock Canyon during the winter of 1995/96.


The origin of the name for the creek, ranch, valley and a shallow alkali lake—”Massacre” – has some interesting twists and turns. The earliest reference to this name (as Massacre Valley) come in Thompson and West’s History of Nevada published in 1881. But there was no explanation for the name, which suggests that by then “massacre” was in current usage as a place-name. In the 1930’s several accounts appeared in print which matter-of-factly stated that in 1850 Indians attacked a large emigrant wagon train. In the running fight that saved the wagon train, 40 emigrant men were killed and buried in a common unmarked grave. The published stories describing this “massacre” had no substantiating evidence, just the legend passed on from one writer to the next. In 1977 Thomas Layton, an anthropology professor, published an article in the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly that convincingly disproved any emigrant “massacre” of such a magnitude occurred in 1850 or any other year in this part of northwestern Nevada. None of the emigrant diary accounts for 1850, or later, on the Applegate Trail in Nevada mention either an Indian attack on such a large scale or any emigrant deaths of this number. Surely, had a massacre of this magnitude occurred, it would have been sensational enough to be reported and recorded. But there is no mention in any contemporary records. Also, as Layton pointed out, organized, large-scale attacks on emigrant trains were not characteristic of Indian warfare in this region. Marauding Indian bands did attack isolated prospectors, ranchers, and stage stations in the 1860′ s, but nothing like the “massacre” attributed to 1850. Rumors of massacres and murders have a life of their own, and once repeated they spread rapidly and are long remembered.


Mike Bilbo added the following:

The mass burial site in the massacre legend has led some writers to speculate that the two large groups of rocks northeast of the Massacre Ranch buildings might have been the common grove where the 40 emigrant bodies were buried. On close inspection, especially of the larger rock group that measures 8 ft by l 3 ft, you can see that the lower rocks appear to be well placed foundations for some kind of structure. (See photo below.) They are not typical-looking emigrant groves, although they could have been excavated by later “grave robbers.” Also, in some of the published accounts of the so-called “massacre,” the dead were buried in a common and unmarked grave where every precaution was taken to conceal the location so Indians would not disinter and desecrate the bodies. Clearly, these two rock groups are very visible, even to the casual observer. Also, nearby are other large flat rocks that are not natural in appearance and add to the puzzle. Upon seeing the two main rock structures for the first time, Mike Bilbo, a BLM specialist and student of western military history, said they were foundations for military tents, the larger one for officers. This site at later Massacre Ranch may have been the location of a temporary U.S. military supply encampment, known as Camp Black, that moved about in l 865 supporting troops on Indian campaigns. Such a temporary camp could account for these two unique rock structures. To reach these two rock structures, go two-tenths mile beyond Marker A-22 and turn right on a ranch road. The first rock foundation is 350 yards up this road, off to the left [at 41°33.923N, 119° 35.090W & 11 T 0284550E, 4604450N]. Just beyond is the other rock foundation. Because it is difficult for a vehicle to turn around in the sagebrush near the rock structures, it is easier to walk to them.

“Those foundations [Massacre] are part of a “company street” that may have been more like a platoon. The rock walls indicate “stockaded” tents, where the tents were placed on top of the walls, likely A-frames which the mid-19th Century Cavalry still used, while the Infantry had gone to dog tents (which later became pup tents). Stockaded tents gave more room and weather protection. You’ll have to look carefully for foundation indications of other tent stockades, where the rock were mined out for other things, either by ranchers or recreationists (fire rings, etc). I never measured those and you might do that.

If they are 7-9 feet long and 5-6 feet wide, A-frames. If they are 5 feet long by 4 feet wide, Dog Tents. Because Camp (actually Fort) McGarry and Soldier Meadows Ranch (outlying picket post of Fort McGarry) were 1st Regiment, U.S. Cavalry during the Civil War, I suspect Massacre Ranch was another 1st Cav Regt picket post. I suspect that because of CW-period artifacts a looter told me he had collected in 1999 (he didn’t know I was a BLMer – I wasn’t able to get him busted because I didn’t catch him in the act, so just kept quiet hoping for that opportunity, but it never happened). He found 1st Regiment Cavalry insignia and a 1st Cav-marked rosette from bridle. While I don’t like metal detectors, you might take one along to see if you can find more evidence, like eagle buttons, 2-piece spoons, dippers (tin cups). It’s also possible later troops including turn-of-the-century used that place.


The Pacific Northwest-Pacific Southwest Direct Current Intertie (also called Path 65) is a high-voltage electric superhighway between the Northwest and Southwest that helps balance power needs in the West and allows the two regions to share surplus electricity. It was the largest single transmission program ever undertaken in the United States. Construction began in the 1960s through a cooperative effort between public and private utilities in the Pacific Northwest and California. The 3,100-megawatt combined AC and DC transmission system was completed in 1970. It delivers enough to serve two to three million Los Angeles households and represents almost half of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) electrical system’s peak capacity.

The intertie originates near the Columbia River at the Celilo Converter Station of Bonneville Power Administration’s grid outside The Dalles, Oregon, and is connected to the Sylmar Converter Station north of Los Angeles, which is owned by five utility companies and managed by LADWP. The Intertie can transmit power in either direction, but power flows mostly from north to south. The section of the line in Oregon is owned and operated by Bonneville Power Administration, while the line in Nevada and California is owned and operated by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. In 2016, BPA upgraded the BPA-owned portion of the transmission line, which runs 265 miles from The Dalles to the Nevada/Oregon border. The transition is at the Oregon-Nevada border, at 41°59′47″N 119°57′44″W.

One advantage of direct current over AC is that DC current penetrates the entire conductor as opposed to AC current which only penetrates to the skin depth. For the same conductor size the effective resistance is greater with AC than DC, hence more power is lost as heat. In general the total costs for HVDC are less than an AC line if the line length is over 500–600 miles, and with advances in conversion technology this distance has been reduced considerably. A DC line is also ideal for connecting two AC systems that are not synchronized with each another. HVDC lines can help stabilize a power grid against cascading blackouts, since power flow through the line is controllable.

The Pacific Intertie takes advantage of differing power demand patterns between the northwestern and southwestern US. During winter, the northern region operates electrical heating devices while the southern portion uses relatively little electricity. In summer, the north uses little electricity while the south reaches peak demand due to air conditioning usage. Any time the Intertie demand lessens, the excess is distributed elsewhere on the western power grid (states west of the Great Plains, including Colorado and New Mexico).



The Pacific DC Intertie

From the Diaries of John C. Fremont’s Second Expedition, end of 1843

December 25, 1843. — We were roused, on Christmas morning, by a discharge from the small arms and howitzer, with which our people saluted the day; and the name of which we bestowed on the lake. [The lake which JCF named Christmas Lake was one of those in the Warner Lakes group, perhaps either Hart Lake (as McArthur believes) or Crump Lake. From personal observation we are inclined to choose the latter one, south of Hart, as the lake which JCF visited. In this view we are supported by staff members in the supervisor’s office, Fremont National Forest.] It was the first time, perhaps, in this remote and desolate region, in which it had been so commemorated. Always, on days of religious or national commemoration, our voyageurs expect some unusual allowance; and, having nothing else, I gave them each a little brandy, (which was carefully guarded, as one of the most useful articles a traveller can carry,) with some coffee and sugar, which here, where every eatable was a luxury, was sufficient to make them a feast. The day was sunny and warm; and, resuming our journey, we crossed some slight dividing grounds into a similar basin, walled in on the right by a lofty mountain ridge. The plainly beaten trail still continued, and occasionally we passed camping grounds of the Indians, which indicated to me that we were on one of the great thoroughfares of the country. In the afternoon I attempted to travel in a more eastern direction; but, after a few laborious miles, was beaten back into the basin by an impassable country. There were fresh Indian tracks about the valley, and last night a horse was stolen. We encamped on the valley bottom, where there was some cream-like water in ponds, colored by a clay soil and frozen over. Chenopodiaceous shrubs [Nevada goosefoot] constituted the growth, and made again our firewood. The animals were driven to the hill, where there was tolerably good grass.

December 26. — Our general course was again south. The country consists of larger or smaller basins, into which the mountain waters run down, forming small lakes; they present a perfect level, from which the mountains rise immediately and abruptly. Between the successive basins, the dividing grounds are usually very slight; and it is probable that, in the seasons of high water, many of these basins are in communication. At such times there is evidently an abundance of water, though now we find scarcely more than the dry beds. On either side, the mountains, though not very high, appear to be rocky and sterile. The basin in which we were travelling declined towards the southwest corner, where the mountains indicated a narrow outlet; and, turning round a rocky point or cape, we continued up a lateral branch valley, in which we encamped at night on a rapid, pretty near the ridge, on the right side of the valley. It was bordered with grassy bottoms and clumps of willows, the water partially frozen. This stream belongs to the basin we had left. By a partial observation tonight, our camp was found to be directly on the 42d parallel [Oregon-Nevada line, ten miles east of the California line]. Tonight a horse belonging to [Kit] Carson, one of the best we had in the camp, was stolen by the Indians.

December 27. — We continued up the valley of the stream, the principal branch of which here issues from a bed of high mountains. We turned up a branch to the left, and fell into an Indian trail, which conducted us by a good road over open bottoms along the creek, where the snow was five or six inches deep. Gradually ascending, the trail led through a good broad pass in the mountain, where we found the snow about one foot deep. There were some remarkably large cedars in the pass, which were covered with an unusual quantity of frost, which we supposed might possibly indicate the neighborhood of water; and as, in the arbitrary position of Mary’s lake, we were already beginning to look for it, this circumstance contributed to our hope of finding it near. Descending from the mountain, we reached another basin, on the flat lake bed [perhaps Calcutta Lake] of which we found no water, and encamped among the sage on the bordering plain, where the snow was still about one foot deep. Among this the grass was remarkably green, and tonight the animals fared tolerably well. [JCF had crossed into what was then Mexican territory, now northern Washoe County, Nev., and had entered the basin of the Mud Lakes. For the next several days he would be making his way toward Pyramid Lake. The bracketed place-names supplied in the text are based mainly on the work of Effie Mona Mack.]

December 28. — The snow being deep, I had determined, if any more horses were stolen, to follow the tracks of the Indians into the mountains, and put a temporary check to their sly operations; but it did not occur again.

Our road this morning lay down a level valley, bordered by steep mountainous ridges, rising very abruptly from the plain. Artemisia was the principal plant, mingled with Fremontia and the chenopodiaceous shrubs. The artemisia was here extremely large, being sometimes a foot in diameter and eight feet high. Riding quietly along over the snow, we came suddenly upon smokes rising among these bushes; and, galloping up, we found two huts, open at the top, and loosely built of sage, which appeared to have been deserted at the instant; and, looking hastily around, we saw several Indians on the crest of the ridge near by, and several others scrambling up the side. We had come upon them so suddenly, that they had been well nigh surprised in their lodges. A sage fire was burning in the middle; a few baskets made of straw were lying about, with one or two rabbit skins; and there was a little grass scattered about, on which they had been lying. “Wypipo — po!” they shouted from the hills — a word which, in the Snake language, signifies white — and remained looking at us from behind the rocks. Carson and Godey rode towards the hill, but the men ran off like deer. They had been so much pressed, that a woman with two children had dropped behind a sage bush near the lodge, and when Carson accidentally stumbled upon her, she immediately began screaming in the extremity of fear, and shut her eyes fast, to avoid seeing him. She was brought back to the lodge, and we endeavored in vain to open a communication with the men. By dint of presents, and friendly demonstrations, she was brought to calmness; and we found that they belonged to the Snake nation, speaking the language of that people. Eight or ten appeared to live together, under the same little shelter; and they seemed to have no other subsistence than the roots or seeds they might have stored up, and the hares which live in the sage, and which they are enabled to track through the snow, and are very skillful in killing. Their skins afford them a little scanty covering. Herding together among bushes, and crouching almost naked over a little sage fire, using their instinct only to procure food, these may be considered, among human beings, the nearest approach to the mere animal creation. We have reason to believe that these had never before seen the face of a white man. The day had been pleasant, but about two o’clock it began to blow; and crossing a slight dividing ground we encamped on the sheltered side of a hill, where there was good bunch grass, having made a day’s journey of 24 miles. The night closed in, threatening snow; but the large sage bushes made bright fires.

December 29. — The morning mild, and at 4 o’clock it commenced snowing. We took our way across a plain, thickly covered with snow, towards a range of hills in the southeast. The sky soon became so dark with snow that little could be seen of the surrounding country; and we reached the summit of the hills in a heavy snow storm. On the side we had approached, this had appeared to be only a ridge of low hills; and we were surprised to find ourselves on the summit of a bed of broken mountains, which, as far as the weather would permit us to see, declined rapidly to some low country ahead, presenting a dreary and savage character; and for a moment I looked around in doubt on the wild and inhospitable prospect, scarcely knowing what road to take which might conduct us to some place of shelter for the night. Noticing among the hills the head of a grassy hollow, I determined to follow it, in the hope that it would conduct us to a stream. We followed a winding descent for several miles, the hollow gradually broadening into little meadows, and becoming the bed of a stream as we advanced ; and towards night we were agreeably surprised by the appearance of a willow grove, where we found a sheltered camp, with water and excellent and abundant grass. The grass, which was covered by the snow on the bottom, was long and green, and the face of the mountain had a more favorable character in its vegetation, being smoother, and covered with good bunch grass. The snow was deep, and the night very cold. A broad trail had entered the valley from the right, and a short distance below the camp [at High Rock Creek] were the tracks where a considerable party of Indians had passed on horseback, who had turned out to the left, apparently with the view of crossing the mountains to the eastward.