Saturday, June 9, 2012

Lonely Ely

The only things left from the Ward Mining District are the cemetery and the nearby charcoal ovens that produced the charcoal from the pinyon pines (also the source of pine nuts) to smelt the ore from the mine. The rest of the town was literally moved across the mountain to the other side when the ore quality ran poor. Before the entire town could be moved, the rest burned to the ground leaving not so much of as a trace. But explore the town site we did and it was a wonderful day, a lonely day outside Ely, because with the exception of a lone cowboy moving his cattle, we did not meet up with another single sole. If you appreciate solitude, and a sense of being alone, this is a magnificent place. This was our first full day in the area and it was fine. Before we even left the coach (I showed you the unencumbered view out the "windshield" last post) there was, much to our surprise, a few shepherds driving an enormous flock of sheep across the open range prairie that constitutes our temporary homestead. At first we thought it was a wind event, a dust devil, but as the binoculars and the telephoto lens brought our environment into focus- there were dogs, there were shepherds, there was a flock. We got a bit of a late start on the day because we had to sit and watch the process play out. Never seen anything like it. They weren't cattle. They weren't cowboys. But it surely was a glimpse of the old West.....and it was special to say the least.

 After the mine district and the charcoal ovens (which is a state park venue) we hit the trading post, an antique (and nice junk) extravaganza in the middle of (pardon the language) "frigging nowhere". This place is so lonely, I mean sooooooo lonely that not even the junk yard was open because the owner "had to run into town for a minute." Ha!!!!

But we walked around, took a few pics, and can only wish we could have gotten into the closed buildings to see what they housed.

A flock of sheep is driven past:

On the way back to base camp, we stopped by a wildlife preserve area at Lake Comings. As always, water where it is not expected is especially beautiful and oddly colorful. Miss Joan, please write in with the name of this duck, cause I never saw it before anywhere! Blue bill. It was a great day. A lonely day. A day to feel the country we call our own in its rawest and oldest form.

Charcoal ovens that fed Ward Mine District, Willow Creek Trading Post, Comings Lake Wildlife Preserve:

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