Driving through the desert lands of Nevada, I am simply amazed by the rock formations all along the way from Las Vegas to Tonopah, Nevada. The sands are littered by sage brush, and Joshua trees; the hardy vegetation that can withstand the limited amount of water. The rocks are multicolor, packed with valuable minerals and gems that draw rock hounds out to the desert. A rare rainfall the day before allowed me to watch streams in the desert on what are usually parched riverbeds.
I contemplate the forces of the nature that have caused mountains to be pushed out of the ground in diagonal, horizontal and the occasional curved configuration as evidenced by the rock strata. There are delicate rock formations, weathered by the wind and the rain, that are perched high defying gravity and at times littered beneath by the rocks that succumbed to the laws of gravity.
I wonder what lies ahead in a place that I have never been to. I am going to meet a man that I have never met, but desires to impart his wisdom and knowledge that he has collected over his 86 years. He is an accomplished and respected archeologist, with even a reward named in his honor. I love to learn, and I am anticipating an exhilarating download of information.
As we enter Tonopah, it is a welcome sight of life in an otherwise barren desert. It is obviously a mining town with the Tonopah Mining Museum the pinnacle of the town. There are very modest homes littering the roadside with a small main street consisting of a Western Store, two Antique Shops and the Mizpah Hotel.
We find the address and pull up to blond colored double wide with a kindly elderly man posed to greet us. He is small in stature, with twinkling blue eyes, a welcoming smile and slightly unruly gray curls. His skin is brown and weathered as to be expected from a man who has spent the greater part of his life in the hot desert sun. He invites us into his home, happy to have some company.
This sweet man opens up his years of research and starts to download his information. He has scoured the Seirra Nevada’s for the greater part of his life and has seen pictoglyphs and fossils that intrigue me. He has also served as a firefighter in the western wildfires that he sadly relates that most are fires were the result of an arsonist.
I listen for quite a while before I give in to fatigue and the heat and I excuse myself to retire to a small historic hotel called The Mizpah! This hotel dominates a corner of main street with decorated leaded glass and wrought iron banisters. The hotel has done a great job of restoring this glorious hotel including a café and mini casino. Legend has it that the hotel is haunted by a “Lady in Red” that was murdered in the hallway when the hotel was a brothel in its hey-day.
I checked into my room, the Jack Dempsey Room, which had a wrought iron bed with two Victorian Sitting Chairs at the foot of the bed, a small writing desk and an antique picture in the corner. There is a bit of an unsettling feeling immediately upon entering. I am settling in to the room and choose to sit in one of the Victorian chairs. I suddenly feel something brushing against my left arm as if to say get up. I immediately complied and got up. I did not see anything, but I continued to feel an “energy” every time I walked past the end of the bed. Unsettled, I gave up trying to settle in and spent the rest of the evening in the café talking with friends.
Ten o’clock came and I reluctantly went up to bed. I no longer felt the “energy” but I continued to feel very unsettled and I avoided the Victorian chairs and tried to go to sleep. Sleep did not come but I tossed and turned the bed, becoming very frustrated. Upon one of those turns I looked to see a cloud of mist at the foot of the bed. I kept watching until the mist dissipated. Now, I decided I was not going to sleep! Now I was on vigilant watch for the mist to reappear.
The midst did not reappear and I finally got past the 3am hour so somewhere I finally fell asleep.
Up in the morning, again I avoided the Victorian chairs, got ready and down to breakfast I went. Our elderly friend met my husband and me for a delicious breakfast and we settled in for another long ride out of the desert.