Elko Field Office
Print Page

Date: September 24, 2007
CONTACT: Mike Brown, (775) 753-0386
Email: mbrown@nv.blm.gov


Elko, Nev. — Construction of California Trail Center remains on schedule.

“The Trail Center contractors are doing an outstanding job,” said Dave Jamiel, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) California Trail Center Manager. “West Coast Contractors graded the kiosk area and excavated footings for the gateposts, line posts and entry sign. They fine graded and compacted areas of the parking lot and the pedestrian bridge in the northwest drainage.”

Jamiel added that Spires Concrete placed concrete for the sidewalk at the north side of the building and poured footings for the gateposts, line posts and entry sign at the kiosk area.

Frazier Masonry installed the stone veneer at the main entrance.

Parker Heating connected piping and valves to the equipment in the mechanical. Jackson Drywall installed framework support for the ceiling in the south exhibit area and finished sheetrock walls throughout the building. Team Green is about 65 percent complete installing concrete pavers in the plaza.

Crossing the Forty-Mile Desert – by Mike Brown
James Bennett was a printer who departed New Harmony, Indiana on April 1, 1850 – bound for California. After five months of travel and adventure, he arrived at the start of the Forty-Mile Desert in western Nevada on Wednesday, September 11th. His description of the crossing is oneof the best:

“We reached the link of Humboldt River six miles, at twelve and entered the long looked for and much dreaded desert. Our first impressions with regard to its passage were anything but agreeable, for in the first five miles, the distance traveled by day light we counted the dead carcasses of sixty-four oxen and fifty-five horses and mules. During the night we could not keep any account of the loss of stock, but we know the average was greatly increased as we neared the Carson River, the Desert on the south.”

“The destruction of property here is immense. For forty miles the road is strewn with abandoned wagons and sometimes the whole of their contents except provisions. Whole caralles, numbering five or six wagons, were found deserted and the place literally covered with dead cattle; many of them still tied to the wheels of the wagons. The whole air throughout the desert was tainted with the smell of carrion. The night was unusually cold and we passed several encampments where persons were burning wagons to warm themselves.”

“At four o’clock a.m. we came to a halt by two or three old wagons which we used as fuel for cooking. During our journey in the night he had left two cows and an ox on the desert, unable to travel any further. At nine o’clock one entire team gave out and we were compelled to leave a wagon within six miles of the river and drive the cattle on to water. Mr. Moore was left in charge of the wagon with a supply of provisions and water until we could recruit teams and return for it. It was brought in at eleven o’clock all right.”

Thursday, September 12th, “We reached Carson River at eleven o’clock a.m. and encamped…”

Bennett’s journal ends with the words “…We reached the gold mines without further adventure the first day of October, six months from the time of leaving home.”


Last updated: 03-26-2015