Utah's West Desertby Steven J. Clark on 05/30/13
Last weekend (Memorial Day) I had the chance to take my dad (90 yrs old) back to one one of his childhood haunts, the now virtually abandoned mining town of Gold Hill, situated nearly atop the Utah/Nevada border about 60 miles south of Wendover.
We took an interestingly circuitous route through Delta where we visited the WWII Japanese Inturnment Camp and did a little exploring on Topaz Mountain. Then we traveled north through wonderfully interesting mountains filled with old turn-of-the-century mines and remarkable geography. We linked up with the old Pony Express Trail at the extreme southern end of the Bonneville Salt Flats and went west the tiny village of Calleo and it's thirteen familys who call the far-flung area home. Then it was on to Gold Hill where dad worked on his Uncle Garn's gold mine claim in his early teens. On the way home we traveled through Skull Valley to the town of Terra, UT, then it was up and over Johnson's pass and down to Rush Valley. We conluded our explorations with a visit to the restored mining town of Opher, UT, where dad's parents once lived.
While all the explorations were interesting, the real treasure was being able to take a long road trip with just me and my Dad. At his age there probably won't be many more of them, so each trip is precious. As I passed through each of these places so rich in history, I wanted to write about all of them.This trip made me remember the many books I read as a kid about an earlier time, like Riders Of The Purple Sage, The Little Shepherd Of Kingdom Come and The Bears Of Blue Mountain. The trip really put me in touch with my internal Zane Grey. Thanks dad. It was a great 500+ miles.