Paranormal > The Paranormal & Ghost Society

Our Adventure At The Golden Gate Mine Camp & Antelope Valley On - 11/23/19


Our Adventure At The Golden Gate Mine Camp & Antelope Valley On - 11/23/19

One reason I have grown to love the month of November is that its the perfect time of year to get up to some ghost towns. Its also a time where I bust out my bad Santa beard and kick off the holiday season its all good fun! As a paranormal investigator I am equally an explorer and yes I explore anything and everything. However, my goal while living here in Nevada is to experience the wild west which means mining camps, mines, mills, ghost towns, cabins, caves and everything else in between. November for me signifies every year a huge month for us because we always put a cool project together in this case the Golden Gate Mining Camp and Antelope Valley Cemetery.

Antelope Valley was named that for its herd of antelope which btw have been wiped out in this region. More then likely early ranchers and miners hunted them till there was no herd and they probably went further up into central Nevada. The valley is quite intriguing as to the west are forested mountains while to the east are high desert mountains. So the forest does meet the high desert here so you get to enjoy the best of both worlds.

The valley does include the towns of Coleville and Walker both historic. While at one time they played a part in being mining towns along the Walker River are now today ranching towns. Their are many ranches within the valley which stretches 14 miles this includes Lake Topaz which half of the lake is in Nevada the other half California. It is truly a wonder and fairly close to where I live so its nothing to get up here in fairly a short time.

You can go up above the valley in the Monitor Pass if you do not mind heights, cliffs with no guard rails and curves. Once you get to the top of the pass the views put the entire valley into perspective. The Pass is an eighteen mile span reaching over 8,500 a few thousand feet above the lake. The pass is named after the ghost town of Monitor which I did about five to six years ago however the Washington fire has burnt down anything substantial.

This is an old area the first explorer that came through the area was in 1827 it also was a home to the Paiutes who hunted the antelope here. But once mining camps were built many of the natives were chased off the land so that ranchers could graze their livestock like cattle for example. Some of the natives in fact worked at some of the mining camps and probably the Golden Gate because they had nowhere to go. While some mining was done in the mid 1800's real intense mining begin above the valley in a forested location called Mill Canyon.

Its said that when the ten stamp mill which was powered by water pulverized the ore it could be heard in the valley below. I am glad this mining camp is preserved I really am but so little remains of it that is because the canyon has had two devastating avalanches in 1911 which destroyed the bunk house, stable and water plant equipment. Another one finished off the boarding house, various buildings and even the mill. Some of the sites had to be rebuilt only to be hit again by avalanches. The storm of 1911 may not have killed miners up at the Golden Gate but nine died in it elsewhere up in another ghost town we are familiar with and explored called Masonic.

My goal on this exploration was to explore the Golden Gate Mining Camp which has had some restoration work to try to preserve it. Its a ghost town you can visit in a Subaru even a car really compared to some of the longer more rugged dirt roads we take this one is rather mild. Honestly, in my opinion I think its a bit touristy lots of plaques which are very educational that talk about the camp, mine and structures. I think its a great opportunity for newer folks who are new to ghost towning and want something they can start off with that is not to difficult. I had this place on my radar for many years trust me but I just have not had the time to make a trek up here because I been working on more advanced ghost town projects.

I also took on this exploration because it was a few days till Thanksgiving and I wanted to get some fresh air do some adventuring. Every holiday I try to put out a special project with us hitting some 65 degree days how can we not be out hiking in this beautiful area? Also we were on a mission to find the perfect Christmas Tree so my plan was to explore the mining camp, visit the cemetery at the bottom of the canyon and then head up on the Monitor Pass to explore the Toiyabe and ElDorado National Forest for a tree so that by Thanksgiving we would have it lit majestically for our family coming to visit for the holidays. Believe it or not it can take a few hours to find the perfect tree which may require hiking, climbing, offroading and further exploring. With the days being shorter this was no easy task we would have to head out into the night so that by sunup we were there and it worked out nicely for us. Our November journey would begin one that would take us through the high desert into the forest.

Golden Gate Mine Camp

When you first turn off you are entering an area that is a large expanse but it narrows as you go into the canyon up into the higher sierras. You will climb over 1500' above this valley but its only a few miles unlike some ghost towns which can be thirty miles from the nearest services. As you climb you are leaving the town of Walker to your back and the views up here are just amazing especially when the sun rises in the east over the desert. Many of the peaks afar were snowcapped one of them is an extinct volcano with a sharp peak while the canyon was foggy and snowy ahead. There were dark clouds looming over the area not so much though over Antelope Valley so in a sense we were heading into the storm.

In the open expanse you can see an abandoned house its just a shell I did not check it out one road I took ended with brush. I walked up the road found a cattle loader and corral which appeared to be recently used. Their was actually some cow pies around this area but again the other road was overgrown and I was not going to bushwhack my way out to it so I photographed it afar then proceeded to head up into the canyon. Eventually it does ascend and it gets very narrow this is why living here was so dangerous because the canyon is full of rocky cliffs and in the winter said cliffs collect quite a bit of snow which in turn leads to avalanches funneling there way down the canyon with no escape from them. This time we were lucky the snow on some of the cliffs and peaks was minimal so we went up into the canyon without any issues.

To your right you will come up on a few remnants of the town or camp one structure being the boarding or bunk house. This is where the miners slept at night during their time off. Other miners probably had cabins also but just about everything is gone. The bunk house does stand as a matter in fact its two stories high but a portion of the bottom floor is filled in with earth and debris. The avalanche hit this structure while miners were inside luckily they were not killed but snow and dirt came right through the windows and it had to be one hell of a frightening experience for them. If you are careful and don't mind climbing wood beams since the stairs are in bad shape you can go into the second story which is wide open on the back side. From the upstairs you can get a nice view of Antelope Valley below.

If you head east just down a short hill about twenty feet away is another wood structure only this one is collapsed. All that stands is the upper part or the roof sitting on a pile of wood boards. The site is very scattered all you have to do is look on the ground and you can tell this was an area of plenty of activity. You will see piles of bean cans, rusty pieces of metal and wood just about anywhere you walk. The road from here only gets steeper as you go on and in this case it was covered in a sheet of ice with fresh snow flurries coating it so my truck struggled to get into the canyon and it became a little risky which ill get into later in this report.

So we spent our time examining the remnants of the Maintenance Shed which a few years ago was standing. People continue to remove things from these ghost towns such as burning wood beams they take from the structures for firewood when camping up here and really it pisses me off to see that. I see burnt beams and vandalism nearly in every ghost town I go to that is why we document these locations because one day they may  not exist ya know? So I made sure to take plenty of video, photos and EVP. Above all I am a ghostbuster so I enjoy gathering ghostly evidence in these locations thus my EMF detector at times did go off and eventually ill review the EVP to see if we captured anything its all touch and go.

If you hike across the road from the bunk house there are smaller paths through the woods which can take up to the creek where I found some waterfalls. Actually this was a cascade set of falls with multiple levels. Across from the creek nearby were cliffs of the canyon this part of the canyon is very narrow. But the rushing water and seeing this creek flow was a treat. Also in the woods was remnants of what appears to be an old water tank and an iron bar protruding from the rocks. I believe the big open areas cleared of trees and brush in the woods may have been miner cabin sites. I found piles of rocks and such back in the woods even some wood boards but its sparse.

Further up the road to your right is what is left of the ten stamp mill which crushed the ore. High above in the canyon is the mine or rather five adit tunnels some range 1800 in depth. They ore then would be transported down to a 2,300 foot tramway to the mill I was standing in front of. This mill was water powered they may have even utilized the creek within the canyon as a power source. The stamps came down crushed the ore then they would use mercury to extract it. The mill is really gone minus the stamps and this portion of the mill which had been destroyed previously in avalanches. Between 1912 and 1912 six thousand eight hundred and forty eight tons of ore were crushed at this site. Despite the hardships the mines here brought in millions over 12 million in gold and silver at this location.

I did explore the mill site there was some iron piece of equipment on the ground in front of it, pieces of sheet metal or rather aluminum off used in early mining camps, wood beams and a few stone walls. There is a wood chute on top of the stamps and since its built in a hill side the ore makes its way down to the stamps for brushing. You can go behind the stamps at the bottom if you wish to explore the inner workings or go up the hill to the second story and go above the stamps. I did not do so because the wood boards were weak and just laying across the beams. I learned my lesson because at the bunk house I nearly fell through the second floor my foot went through the floor total accident was staying on beams and near one of the windows it was weak. So when it came to the mill I just peered into the second level leading above the stamps

To the left of the chutes and stamps is a giant cog, gears and a wheel. You can see more machinery if you can get underneath it all at the very bottom of it. Across from the mill is a stone pillar with a plaque on it. The brush has grown around it so you may miss it if you do not pay attention. I like to hike around on foot so I did explore whatever I could find or see. There really is no remnants from the tram I think I seen a cable or two that was rusted but most of what is here is gone lost in storms or taken by vandals.

If you go up the road you start to gain elevation but its a beautiful forested canyon. Problem was is we begin to hit snow and with my heavy truck as steep as it is really makes it hard for me to get to said locations. My goal was to visit the mine or adit if you look to your left high up on cliffs is the mine or rather wooden ore bin chutes. We went up the road it was so icy and uphill along these cliffs. I crossed a creek it was deep water was raging right over the road and right when I got us to multiple dump piles of ore to our right my truck slid backwards. I was braking, steering and doing everything not to go off the road which would have rolled the truck down a hill into a ravine. I did manage to stop it and it slide sideways then I turned it facing down hill put my parking brake on and got out to hike around. Winston had fun playing in the snow he really has not experienced it so this was fairly new to him so we wrestled he is only eight months old but he had a fun time so did my other dog Rocky. They were wandering the woods, rolling in the snow and they explored the mining camp with me.

I had an accident on a dump pile it was icy, rocky and slippery I fell got all cut up. I thought about climbing the cliff to the mine it was over 130' and I could have grabbed rocks. But after assessing the situation it was not worthwhile because the rocks on the cliffs are loose and near the top of the cliff loads of snow/ice just hanging there. I fell a few times on climbing a steep dump pile and thought man below the mine is the same type of terrain. If you go up the cliffs you come up on this 35' rock face its a straight overhang or cliff that you have to go around. You slip on the snow above the rock face you will go off that cliff hit the rocks below and tumble over a hundred feet into the rocks below. The ratio for success would be about 25 percent, 25 percent chance of injury and 50 percent death so I did not risk it.

Besides even getting to the cliffs you have to go up into this forest full of thick brush then climb into a ravine where the creek flows then past it and back up till you reach the bottom it was just chaos. I did hike a couple hundred feet in the woods since the trees and brush are younger I assume there was probably structures here at one time or other remnants of this mining operation. I could not find much but Winston my dog and I played in the snow did some hiking and found very little besides the mines above in this area. When I got home I studied some topographical maps and it showed there is a rugged road that branches to the left once you go a bit higher up into the canyon. That road you can take right to the mine entrance and ore bin chutes. But ill have to return and go back without the ice or snow my truck would not go any further up into the canyon to get to the road and while I could have walked it I had no idea that there was another way to get to the top of those cliffs to the mines now I know.

I was a bit frustrated you see if I could have made it into the canyon there is other structures and things to see. There is a pack station where people horseback ride, camp near and hike from here into the sierras. I wanted to go to the station there are signs up here labeling everything on this gravel road so it is being maintained its not like some of the other places I go that are lost, forgotten or nearly impossible to find or get to. I do want to go back I always pass this canyon when I drive along the sierras to the south that is how you get to Bodie, Yosemite and Mono Lake.

From below the mines Antelope Valley is gorgeous and you have a nice view if you were a miner. Id like to see better views but it will have to wait and god knows how long the snow will take to clear out. This area can get buried and it will this winter then we have to wait for the thaw. Below this mining camp was the town of Walker and Coleville separated by only a few miles. This mill canyon is up above both of them so you can make out some of the town. You cant see the town of Topaz to the north because their are mountains which obstruct your view within the canyon so we will have to climb higher one of these days to get a better view.

Somewhere up here Fremont an early explorer abandoned his brass howitzer cannon which fired 12 pound cannonballs. He abandoned it because dragging it through the deep snowdrifts was to difficult plus the livestock and starving men were to week. So the mountains to the west hold that history not far from here at Lost Cannon Peak which we never had gotten to see. The towns that were living in this valley relied on the Walker River they could dig irrigation ditches to divert the water. This led to rich pastures so that dairy and beef cows could graze along with sheep and horses. They also had orchards of apples, peaches and plums. They grew various melons, berries and beans sometimes corn or even tomatoes. Beehives on ranches were not uncommon either so while farming went on below the mines mining went on above the farms.

Miners had to eat and this valley supplied towns like Aurora and Bodie but also the miners up at the Golden Gate with a food source. Keep in mind when I talk about these locations its because I been there some of them I have gotten ghostly evidence at. Only the ghost of the past roam these locations I go there is just energy to just about every place and even if the wood structures are gone there is still life to the locations we go to including the Golden Gate. The folks in town could hear the stamps crushing the ore so both had ties in a sense since the mines were not to far from the valley.

In 1867 Fred Cole built a stage station, blacksmith ship and store they  named it after him which brought folks to the area. Eventually the post office came and school. Honestly there are some original buildings but they are on private property which when we left the Golden Gate I would stop at. The old general store was boarded or closed up and many of the wooden buildings were run down sitting next to and behind it. This area was considered to be part of old Coleville although Walker when you drive thorough has a few old structures. Most of these old town sites are long gone many new homes up here therefore some history is lost and because of the ranching and towns that came to be it led to mining above the town which was the Golden Gate Mines.

Walker was just a stage stop in its day they had a hotel you could get a room then maybe register as a miner and live up in the bunk house at the Golden Gate. As a matter in fact Joseph Walker was a rugged mountain man who explored this valley and its canyons. But he traveled with Fremont one of the first explorers to brave the sierras. Both men had good relationships with the natives because it was the natives at the time that inhabited this valley because it was fertile and full of antelope. The town and pass was named after him as he lead many explorers through this region which in turn settled this valley. Those people became your miners, business owners and ranchers which played a vital role to the growth of the region and are buried in the cemetery today!

So when you take all of this into consideration the history here is amazing I wish I made it here in the early fall this is a pretty canyon that the leaves change plus there is no snow. I really needed snow chains to ascend which is fine we had no clue we would encounter any. When I left this canyon it was snow flurrying the skies were dark as night here so we just made sure we got down to valley level where we could visit the Antelope Valley Cemetery. The cemetery is a historic staple in the area because its a symbol of its hardships that the pioneers faced including miners. Epidemics did break out families battled very hard back to survive this area. Mining was dangerous to Mercury processing often made the miners sick and some did die also. We would move onto the Antelope Valley Cemetery which is below Mill Canyon in the town of Coleville a few miles to the north.

Before I went to the cemetery I stopped in Coleville to photograph a few old buildings including an old wagon which was in fairly decent shape. I did see the old general store the owner of the property was out walking around so I did not want to startle him so I took photos of what I could to add to our site to go with the cemetery or even the mine. This town was providing food and supplies for the miners above town so one hand washes the other and on this journey you could kind of see how its all connected. Its ashamed the last antelope was seen here in 1872. I see herds in other regions of Nevada but not here. The woods do bring in black bear, raccoons and other furry creatures but not antelope. Today a lonely highway cuts through this valley with a few small stops where you blink and pass through these small towns. I do promise to make a return to the beautiful canyon above when it warms up to do the Golden Gate mine so this will all be continued but first lets talk about Antelope Valley Cemetery!

Antelope Valley Cemetery

Many of the folks buried here were early miners and ranchers along with their families. As far as I know there is only two burial grounds in the valley this being one of them while the other is not so easy to find as its across the river or even get to due to it being on ranch land which is private.

Many of the children even a few adults buried here in Antelope Valley Cemetery died in a diphtheria epidemic which swept through many households. Everyone was effected including half the children in the valley were victims which can all be found here so it was important that we visited them.

The fence around the cemetery is chain link so is the gate to the left a huge white metal sign. In the back of the cemetery there is an old windmill and behind it a working ranch. Some of the wood outbuildings are old but they are being used or rather it is a working ranch. There was a little kid driving a truck with his dad, horses being walked around and allot of activity. I did not feel like I had privacy here but it is a fairly large cemetery with many old beautifully engraved graves.

There is only a few enclosures I found here with wrought iron one of them had three graves a mom, dad and a child. Another one just had a single grave in it and another one had a couple graves. The cemetery does have some burial mounds I think because the ground here is very hard so you cant dig the graves to deep. It is all desert here and a very rocky earthy type of terrain. Their is no grass here and there are a few evergreen trees growing at the entrance other then that this place is super bare.

I notice many little angels statues there is a larger one towards the back area. There is also some amount of vandalism for example I found a stone broke in four pieces one piece after piece just stacked on one another. I also noticed a few based with rebar and no stone attached to it. I would say a dozen graves are missing people stole them they did not blow away there is very few wood crosses or grave markers. Many of the stone graves are large, engraved and date back to the 1860's and up. I even found one of the oldest graves here.

;The views in this cemetery I have to say are breathtaking I smoked a bowl walking around taking my time enjoying the 10k tall peaks which surround this cemetery. Its a very quaint place it does not appear to get to many visitors only thirty percent of the graves are newer interments but the other seventy percent are a century or older. It appears that the older section is in the back and center of the cemetery while newer burials are taking place towards the front and on the south side. I did see a newer grave with a mother and child buried next to one another. I think the dates were the same probably a car accident!

Many of the graves also have flat concrete slabs I use to see this mainly in Florida but its common to in desert cemeteries. If you go to the north end of the cemetery you can see the graves of the Rickey family. Thomas B. Rickey in the 1880's was known as the Cattle King of the West. He purchased most of the land in Topaz and around the lake. He owned about 47k in acreage in Antelope Valley but also thousands more along the lower slopes of the eastern Sierras. His Topaz Ranch grew into a community it had a post office, company stores, hotel, ranch outbuildings, residences and farming operations.

Unfortunately disease hit his cattle much like the children in the valley and he went into debt. Eventually his land would be divided and now there are smaller ranches in the area like the one found behind the cemetery. Just to make a side note the fishing is really great up at Topaz Lake they caught a 14 pound rainbow trout there this month so not only did the pioneers back in the day hunt they also fished!

I did pay my respects to the Rickey family many of the old large cottonwoods found on the ranches and along highway 395 near the cemetery were planted by him. Many of these families have been here for generations and are buried in this cemetery. Some of the miners that worked those mines in the canyon above this cemetery are buried here. There is a connection and its so important that I always connect the dots in regards to my research. While I did not see ghost running around or anything strange I took EVP and my EMF detector did go off like crazy in the center of the cemetery where a few of the oldest graves can be found!

I found a newer enclosure that has a couple older stones mixed in with newer stones eleven or so graves to be precise. There is an older enclosure that appears to have five or six graves but there are empty spots to which makes me think more stones are missing. They also have at least a half of dozen tree stones the ones that look like a tree trunk. I found a grave with engraved ivy all over it can you imagine how costly and much work went into that back in the 1800's? This is a cemetery you have to walk around and explore. I also seen a gravemarker that was this giant rock and some of the angels had wings that were broken. They have this one eerie sort of angel its dark in color near a bench. Its obvious the weather has played a toll on some of the graves found here afterall its so close to the eastern sierra.

Also where the entrance is there is a boulder with a plaque that says oldest gravesite Joseph P. Carney 1865. I am not sure if he is buried here outside the cemetery or if its just a memorial because he is buried within. I found some old graves I read many of the engravings. The scenery was amazing but it was time for us to go head up on Monitor Pass into the forest above the valley to get ourselves a tree. Our adventure was far from over believe me!

We decided to go thousands of feet above the valley taking Monitor Pass which is a wild ride and an eighteen mile one. If you go up above the valley there are pull off areas where you can check out the valley from above. Topaz Lake was so small so were the towns below and we were a couple thousand feet above it all parked adoring snowcapped peaks and valley views. This is the reward for living out west you visit a cemetery your going to have views or any ghost town really which is why I love doing this so much. I can take in the views and do good research quietly without drama caused by other people who really do not take this field very serious or exploring!

Once you go further into the pass there is a dirt road to Markleeville Peak which is something id love to check out because there is lookout up there so yes I will go up there sometime when the snow is gone. I was not sure where to look for a tree really its touch and go you take a dirt road hike back in the forest and you cut its that simple. I thought about going up to Heenan Lake which is a lake that resides near the end of this pass before it splits. The split to the left takes you up to Ebbetts Pass and the split to the right takes you to a historic Semi ghost town and just pass that is the mighty Carson Pass. These passes split off to smaller canyons, meadows etc where you can look for a decent tree.

When I arrived at Heenan Lake it was gated as it always is not sure why you cant drive around it its only 130 acres but it is a wildlife area that contains 1,700 acres. Behind the lake is a woodsy canyon there is a road that goes around both sides of the lake to get to it but both roads were gated. I took this snowy and muddy road to the other gate had to turn around. There was other vehicles parked here I mean its fine you want a tree back in here you have to go miles back because cutting is not allowed near the highway or any lakes. But if you can hike a couple miles back or offroad there are plenty of trees to cut problem is it was gated.

I went higher up and left the lake at our backs you actually drive past remnants of the old Ghost town of Monitor aka Loope. You have to know what to look for but along the pass are a few old stone walls and foundations. If you climb the hills nearby there is a miners cabin, mine, ore bin chutes etc. Back years ago my sons and I parked not far from the town site hiked a couple miles up to where the mine and main town site was. Its a cool area but there are not trees to cut down the Washington fire was so bad in fact it burnt thousands of acres or miles of forest in this region. Most trees I found were half burnt for example we found a nice tree to cut about 12' tall but the first bottom half of it was burnt and that is just not safe to cut and put in your home because the wood is dry perhaps compromised.

I went up this really rugged narrow road in the forest which opened up to a big canyon and nearly to the top of a place called Silver Hill which is an old mine site up in the woods. Most of the trees were burnt here I mean I even drove up to a place we use to hike at do bigfoot research called Wolf Creek. The fire burnt many of the trees along the creek I was shocked. I had no idea the Washington fire burnt so much but there was miles of bare forest with not trees or just piles of dead trees everywhere because people cut them or loggers so that they can sell the wood or allow the forest to grow back and I heard they may plant some trees to which will help. There was 18 thousand acres of forest that burned up here along Wolf Creek and the Carson River once a lush area now looks like a asteroid hit this area. I remember this fire back in 2015 we were under smoke for a few weeks hell we did not see the sun for nearly over two weeks and people were wearing mask because the air quality was so bad.

I decided to go deeper into the sierras and drove another twenty miles into the Carson Pass to a place called Hope Valley which is full of patches of lush forest untouched by fires. The valley is home to Nipple Peak which my son and I climbed two years ago in the snow it was crazy but back then I remembered seeing some really nice trees up in the forest along some of the dirt roads so it was worth a try. I only had a couple hours till nightfall but it was a nice ride beautiful mountains, good food, nice smooth bud and some time to relax before the real work began.

I hiked back in the woods my first time in some snow found a few potential trees but decided id come back later and look elsewhere. We went up to Blue Lakes which btw is near the ghost town of Summit City and if you turn off you can go up to Mount Raymond where we climbed to the peak. I camped up by Mount Raymond but it was covered in snow clouds and fog for awhile then it peeked through a little before I went back into the forest to find us a tree. If you go to Blue Lakes there are some older out buildings near the lake as well. There is some old history around the lake a couple years ago I seen an old cabin in the woods from the 1800's.

I took another dirt road which led me to a campsite they are all over but this one had something that the other did not have which was a fire burning and nobody around. I wish people put out there fires the trees around the campsite were brown and dry. It was breezy at times and I could see ambers blowing towards the trees. Man if Hope Valley starts on fire it would be a great loss there is lodges, homes, historic sites and many lakes in the area. I put ice on the fire then smothered it with sand and rocks using my shovel. It began to cool off and the flame dissipated so all was well. I found it strange that about 30 feet from this smoldering rocky fire pit there was a childrens bike laying on the ground. I wonder if some teenager was hiding back here and started the fire but I put it out no fire needs to be left unintended that counts for half of the fires up here which end up killing firefighters, folks who own homes in the national forest and wildlife!

 I have hiked and done quite a bit of research in this area I love it! Its a great place to find a tree to there is this one dirt road on the back side of Nipple Peak full of thick blue spruces not sure how to get there and with the storm the night or two before we were limited to where we could go so we found a dirt road covered in snow took it back a half mile in the forest and then set off on our hike to find the perfect tree. Its not very easy to do lots of trees but I always have to find a tall 13', full, lush and no dead branches. Believe me its not easy sometimes the sun does not hit the trees right so many of them are just not that great.

So far every year I have had a different species of trees this time I wanted to find some sort of spruce. There are rules to cutting a Christmas tree to they have to be near other trees that way you minimize the fire risk and max six inches diameter then you have to buy the permit. They give away permits to help thin out the forest because of the global warming, drought etc lightening strikes are burning down the forest. Its better to cut some trees to minimize that risk rather then lose the entire forest and we were on the edge of the Toiyabe and ElDorado Forest which are gorgeous So I am glad to do my part. Leave the larger trees cut the smaller ones that grow in bundles and save the forest!

I found the creek here my son and I followed below Nipple Peak hell there is a grove not far from here where I seen over 50 deer all just grazing. This place brings back memories its where I lost my GPS and where I climbed this steep cliff to get below the peak. It was a primitive hike and we were hiking a half mile in the same area in hopes of find a tree. After an hour we had found about four or five trees that had the potential to meet my chain saw. The area is primitive the mountain was blocking the sun due to Nipple Mountain called this because the top looks like a nipple its so strange but its a hall of a mountain to climb but the views oh man!  But the forest was dark and I was climbing snowy hills in search of the perfect tree no trails or anything. Our feet were getting very cold good thing for me I bring changes of socks, towels, extra clothes etc were prepped for anything real.

I had to shake snow off some of the trees found a few very far back to far to carry or move to get it to my truck. Actually the terrain and rocky hills are harsh back here below the peak. So we hiked out near a meadow which the forest back drop it which meant patches of decent trees and we broke it down to picking out two trees. We were not sure both were tall but one seemed fuller. Man that was the hardest tree to cut in my life my chain is starting to wear down I have done so much cutting with it the past few years such as firewood for my fireplace, a giant cottonwood that fell a few years ago out back and other stuff. This tree was very hard to cut through most of the alpine trees are not but this one had very hard park and a trunk so it took me about twenty minutes to get through it funny thing is when I cut another foot off it cut in seconds but the bottoms of the trunks are sometimes more difficult to cut and the wood is not as soft.

The tree was bleeding it was spooky this red stuff was oozing out and it was almost nightfall. My chainsaw ran out of gas had to hike back to the truck get more gas finish cutting after I had a half inch to go I just pushed over the tree Santa Mask and all lol. I was trying to rush because the chainsaw kept stalling, it was having issues cutting and there was two to three feet of dead branches that were brown and dry. So I had to finish cutting the stump which is not on film because its boring watching me sit there sawing the stump lol. But We do make a movie every year of our great Xmas tree hunt and its usually very adventurous and this was an adventure trust me. I have it on film the fire burning and the bike nearby, us hiking in the snow then cutting the tree and getting it loaded on the truck.

Not only did I have to cut the tree but had to carry my fifty pound chainsaw to the truck then the tree etc so by the time I finished it was dark out real dark out. No moon but there was stars and we were parked deep on some narrow road so narrow that the trees nearly touched the sides of my truck. I had to pull in the mirrors just to get back here and still we had to worry about making our way out of the snow as it was in the freezing temps so everything was crisp and iced over. This is a creepy place at night you just bite your tongue hoping you wont get stuck or worst. I been to many areas at night in the sierras where I hear vocalizations, stomping, something moving around, big eyes etc but I did not experience much but cold silence perhaps because this area can be bustling in the warmer months so these bigfoot like creatures tend to move up to the more desolate higher altitudes and inaccessible peaks which surround this valley! I am not done doing research here by any means there is a peak where thieves once hid out rather a rock formation in the woods I want to summit named after a confederate general so that is something will definitely do in the future!

Anyhow back to my story......Hell it took me awhile in the dark to tie down the tree with cargo straps and rope the tree was hanging a few feet in the back off my truck and a couple feet in the front lol it was huge. I figured id cut another foot off when I arrived at my home because we usually keep the tree around 12' which is the height of my ceiling give or take. My truck is a Suburban its huge but man was it hard to lift that tree on top of it. I have a bad back and medical issues it took me getting pissed off to get it up there because Tammy is to short to help me and you have to life the tree then try to get it on top which is above my head it takes plenty of upper body strength. I find out its not just as easy as to cut a tree you have to somehow get it to the truck and then get it up on that truck secure its a process!

I did get it eventually unfortunately the first time I tried sliding it from the back side it fell onto me knocked my glasses off and two branches broke so when you guys see the photo of the Christmas tree in my living room yeah it looks full but the back side I faced towards the corner because it was missing a couple branches that broke when it fell on top of me. I am lucky I did not get hurt yeah that was fun falling to the ground on ice with a 150lb tree laying on me poor Tammy got hit in the eye she had a black eye from the tree we both were smacked by the tree we just could not get it up from the back. That is why I got it up there from the side all this in the spooky dark in an area I know Bigfoot exist.

This was a heavy tree and it took plenty of work I was beat and hurting. But the tree was on and we had to somehow turn around in the forest with a big truck on a road so narrow the trees were touching the sides nearly with a tree hanging off the back. I did it but it took plenty of time, patience and it was dark so imagine how hard it was for me to see. It was a full day though we hiked around a mine camp, slide fifty feet in my truck backwards near a cliff, did research at a cemetery, traversed a steep pass which led us to various rugged dirt roads in search of trees and then hiked a couple miles in Hope Valley in the ice cold snow. It snows in this area sometimes in the beginning of September so when I say it gets cold here it gets cold and we had been out in the elements for a few hours trying to find, cut and secure our new tree to bring home.

After we got the tree home we had Chili's delivered to our house I had a half rack of Chipotle Ribs, garlic bread and these breaded onions that you can dip so good. It was a long day but everything is on film or photographed which I put into my holiday virtual movie. That includes the journey to find the tree, cutting it, securing it and then it standing alone bare in our den all the way to it being fully decorated. We have many antique ornaments it took nearly 300 ornaments, five strings of garlic and seven strings of lights to decorated. Topped off with an angel whose wings move up and down all lit up its so gorgeous especially with it snowing outside the next day and a fire burning. The dead stuff I can let cure and use in my fireplace next year so nothing goes to waste my friends and in the process ill stay warm after doing something like this. I hope most of you watch every year my holiday journey into the mountains to get a tree its real wholesome and fun something our viewers really enjoy.

My son helped me get the tree down then we trimmed it for the angel topper, got it inside and decorated it a day before Thanksgiving because my other son, his wife and step kid were coming over. I wanted a nice Christmas tree while we were enjoying our Thanksgiving and my raspberry balsamic turkey which btw was so tender and flavorful. We had a nice feast black olives garlic rolls, stuffing, homemade mashed potatoes, homemade gravy, green bean casserole, godiva pudding, homemade mac n cheese, cinnamon apple sauce, expensive wine, holiday coffee, apple, pumpkin and blueberry pie. The pumpkin pie was homemade with a pumpkin we picked at a patch in October during another adventure we went on. It was a traditional thanksgiving watching the Bills vs Dallas football game and my Bills did win them. Then we had Christmas music playing, snowing outside, laughing, enjoying the Christmas tree, watching Family guy after and spending time with loved ones with a roaring fire. All while sitting around our beautiful tree!

So in a sense we busted ass giving our viewers a chance to see these places and enjoy some tradition to. I like showing our viewers how we do things out west letting them in on my life a little to see who I am and how I do things. You wont meet many men like me who climb mountains, explore ghost towns, paranormal investigate, offroad for many miles, hike into the night to cut a tree, then cook all of Thanksgiving, make my house look like the north pole and on top of it share this with the world. It just gives our viewers an inside peek into things showing others how different we are from other groups out there! My hope is to inspire our viewers a little so that they can get out more, perhaps get involved in our adventure group or be if anything entertained. While I could sit here and say all we brought to you is a cemetery well that is not entirely true it was a cemetery then an adventure before and after from 3am till 10pm at night! I know this is late the report was supposed to go out before Thanksgiving break so instead let me just say cheers and hope everyone had a fruitful Thanksgiving. The last traditional thing I did after we feasted is took down the thanksgiving decor off our front door and hung our beautiful white wreath!

If you want to see my Holiday Extraordinaire Movie we have footage that starts off in Antelope Valley then we climb the sierras offroading, hiking and journeying to find our tree of trees. Actually the movie has us cutting two trees a couple weeks apart both in the snowy sierras. One tree was for us the other one was volunteer work for the blind and disabled. I hope our movie inspires all of you or touches you in someway. You wont see footage from the Golden Gate Mine Camp and Antelope Valley Cemetery for a couple years yes I am heavily behind in my work but it will be worth the wait I promise. Until then here is a little something for all of you:
Lord Rick

PS All reports are subject to change this is only a rough draft before it hits our website


[0] Message Index

Go to full version