April 29, 2015
“Shelby: “Hey, Dad. Richard and I just got home from Stateline ghost mine. It was awesome. Can’t believe I hadn’t been there before.”
Dad: “Stateline, huh? I actually have a spooky story from there…”
After Dad had told me about this encounter at Stateline, an old mining town like many that once thrived in the area, complete with abandoned homes, shops, mining equipment, and gaping mine shafts, I was legitimately wowed. It seemingly dwarfed my own adventure by a hundred times. But it only took a moment to realize that, while I am in this to relive the past, I am in it more to gain my own experiences with the past as a point of reference. The potential danger of Dad’s encounter was an adventure in itself, but it cut short what could’ve been a day full of discovery. But when you have a gut feeling, you simply can’t ignore it, particularly in such a remote spot. As curious as I am, I am glad he got out of there before finding out what he was dealing with. It is also likely one of the reasons why I wasn’t allowed on certain trips when I was a kid…
I took my own trip on a whim with my husband, Richard. (Never venture alone, particularly if nobody knows where you’re going.) I had a vague idea of what I was looking for and where to find it from a bit of research online and from checking out the old Desertislands content, but no clear directions. I knew I would head west on Hwy 56 toward Nevada, but turn off into Hamblin Valley near Modena. I knew I was looking for a dirt road nearing the border of Utah and Nevada, but I didn’t really know which one or how far… This resulted in a little frustration in Richard, who was driving.
We did find it, but not without the help of an old farmer or rancher who witnessed our struggle in our ’93 Honda Civic and pointed us in the right direction. We had warmth and sunshine on our side, and total isolation from any other living person, and spent hours exploring and photographing everything.
That’s not to say we had no danger or fear. The buildings were rickety, and Richard braved the second story of an ore-processing building despite the questionable stability. There were snakes galore (an old boarded up well containing tons of garter snakes–spooky sight, but ultimately harmless), only one rattlesnake though, which did force us to take a more treacherous route due to its location. Certain areas, one house in particular, also just had a particularly creepy vibe. Like, we walked up to it, and it was as if we had intruded on someone else’s space, though the only possible evidence of that was a large jug of urine and a more well-used appearance to the area. Overall though, an amazing place that I finally got to experience for myself after years of envy that Dad and his friends seemed to frequent these more risky spots.
Oh! And by the way, Dad’s story of that snowy day in April didn’t end at Stateline:
“After leaving Stateline we decided to go over Indian Peak Pass on the northwest end of Hamlin Valley. Mind you, it’s snowing, and it’s April. We got up near the top and we were turned back by a very deep snow drift. On the way back down, I caught a glance of a mound of rocks. We stopped. We went to observe the mound more closely. We were intrigued. So, we began removing rocks from the mound. We quickly found a piece of weathered paper between the rocks. On the paper was written, ” Here lies…” the rest of the message had been washed away by the inclement weather…”
Who’s to say what or who was beneath that mound of rocks. I’ve only just started investigating, and I don’t really expect to find any answers. But one thing’s for certain: It warrants an investigative outing to Indian Peak in the near future, and you can be sure I’ll post any findings or lack thereof here.