JUNK Aug 28 – 30, 6025 (2020 CE)

The Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus

JUNK Aug 28 – 30, 6025 (2020 CE)

The Humbug at the Von Schmidt Marker, Three Corners, Nevada

Julia’s Unequivocal Nevada Klampout 6025
Open to all Redshirts of Good Standing.
$15 to join gets you the JUNK badge and sheepskin – certificate of membership, $10 for a hanger that says “Three Corners, NV”
Applegate Trail * Fremont’s 2nd Expedition * Pacific DC Intertie



Friday, August 28:

Arrive at the Campsite around 6 pm. Here is a link to a proposed route from the Reno direction, and a link to the campsite location itself.


  1. Take 395N past Alturas, CA to 299 E. Turn right.
  2. Take 299 E to Cedarville, CA. Main Street/Surprise Valley Road. Turn left.
  3. Take Surprise Valley Road past Ft. Bidwell, CA 0.5 miles. Continue straight onto Co. Rd 6/Reservoir Road.
  4. Continue 4.4 miles to Barrel Springs Road. Turn left.
  5. Continue 16 miles to campsite on the right.

Saturday, August 29:

8 am: Barrel Springs Road. We will hike out to some petroglyphs as mentioned in this brochure. We will admire the Pacific DC Intertie and talk about its significance.
11 am: Three Corners Monument. Here is a link that shows travel from camp to Three Corners. The approach from Oregon is the least amount of walking, but it goes up a large hill without a trail. There is another way in from the California side, but the sign says “No Trespassing” albeit with no gate. That looks like a flatter hike but quite a bit longer. We will talk about the history of the boundary.
1 pm: You might decide to have lunch in Ft. Bidwell. See the menu for NFB BBQ below.
3 pm: Return to Camp and relax a while.
5 pm – 7 pm: Cooking Competition.
The Noble Grand Humbug et alia will officiate this event by tasting a little bit of each dish submitted for consideration. Bribes are accepted. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place “JUNK Kuisine” trophies.
8 pm: Auction. Brett “Short Round” Stockwell presides as the Bonafide Barker. Bring cash and items to donate to the auction, or Short Round will donate your stuff for you.

Sunday, August 30:

* Massacre Ranch. This link shows travel to Massacre Ranch, NV. The history of this interesting site is below. If you have time and are interested, you can go check out this spot along the Applegate – Lassen Emigrant Trail.
Noon – 3:30 pm:
* Rte 34 to Gerlach. This link shows the way along Nevada State Route 34. Along this route you can talk about the Stolpa snowbound story and stop by the George W Lund Petrified Forest for a spell.
* Rte 447 to Gerlach. Or, you can take the paved road back through Ft. Bidwell
2 pm: Empire Plaque Dedication. We will dedicate the new E Clampus Vitus monument at the site of the former US Gypsum company town.

Here are some photos from the camp:

Surprise Valley Barrel Springs Back Country Byway – BLM brochure 1992

The NFB, 55015 Main St, Fort Bidwell, CA 96112 (530) 708-1070 Bar and Restaurant. Closes at 8 pm.

Three Corners Information
Elevation: 5,285ft / 1,611m
Lat/Lon (WGS84): 41°59’41.65″ N, 119°59’58.18″ W
41.994902, -119.999494 11T 251557 4653563
Lat/Lon (NAD27): 41°59’42.15″ N, 119°59’54.40″ W
41.995043, -119.998445 11T 251638 4653363

The 1872 Von Schmidt marker at the then calculated Longitude 120deg, Latitude 42deg. The white between the rocks is mortar holding the cairn together. A cow’s skull is hanging on the post set in the cairn. ACCESS ROUTE: From Adel, OR, go S 17 miles to the CA border. Continue about l/2 mile S to a faint 4WD road heading E. With a high clearance vehicle you can drive in the first mile. Otherwise, leave car at the main road and hike to the end of the 4WD road, then continue down into Cow Head Slough and up the other side of the ravine.

Then, heading slightly N of E, cross flat, open terrain, passing a small dry lake bed on your right. At about 1 1/4 miles from the end of the 4WD road, you will reach the CA – NV fence line. Note, there is no fence on the OR – CA line. After reaching the CA – NV fence line, follow it N to the VonSchmidt marker, which is a large stone cairn dated 1872. This is on the Nevada side of the fence, with witness marker signs on several trees around the cairn. A survey to determine the NE comer of CA was made by D. G. Major in 1868. In 1872-73 W. A. VonSchmidt surveyed the CA- NV boundary and found Major’s corner about 3 1/4 miles too far. W. VonSchmidt set the comer at the point he determined to be N 42°, W 120°. On the CA side of the fence, 117 ft. SW of the VonSchmidt post is a Geodetic Survey marker at N 41° 59.689′, W 119° 59.927′.

Mark your route on the way in, or take a compass heading, or GPS bearing. Otherwise, it is difficult to find the 4WD road on your return. If approaching from the South, from Cedarville, CA, go North 43 miles to the above mentioned 4WD path.

Newsletter – #99-12q4-p20 – Greg Weiler, Jean Newcomer
Greg Weiler and Jean Newcomer at the CA-NV-OR tripoint.The road from Adel, OR is called 20-Mile Road and goes to Ft Bidwell. The pavement ends after 8.0 mi. The faint 4WD track that Jack Parsell mentions (at 17.6 mi on our odometer) is still there but is locked by a chained gate flanked by stone cairns. Our handheld Garmin GPS read 1.96 mi to the tripiont. There were no “No Trespassing” signs visible so we climbed through the gate and followed the jeep track 0.1 mi to a fence.

It’s possible to avoid the gate by following the fence line just to the right of the gate 0.1 mi then turning left along the fence for 50 feet or so to reach the 4WD track but this route is through heavy sage.

Once over the fence we followed the 4WD track 0.9 mi to the slough Jack mentions. The track is very faint in spots. The slough, or ravine, is no small affair; it’s about 100′ deep and a couple hundred feet across with steep rock walls on the east side. At the end of the 4WD track we were lucky enough to find a trail down the west side of the slough. Once at the bottom we turned left (N) for about 200′ until we could see a break in the rock wall above then climbed out (no trail).

Once out of the slough we headed cross country through sage and rocks to a point just south of the tripoint so we’d intersect the CA-NV fence line then followed the fence left (N) for a few hundred feet to the tripoint. The skull Jack mentions is no longer there. There is a logbook in a red can; the last visitor was the day before.

Back at the trailhead there is a pull-off about 0.1 mi south of the gate big enough for 2-3 cars. We saw no sign of the dry lakebed Jack mentions but this could have been because we were slightly too far N to see it. For GPS junkies the trailhead/gate coordinates are N41 deg 59 min 24.0 sec W 120 deg 02 min 14.8 sec.

From “A Guide to the Applegate Trail, Fourth Edition”
by Donald E. Buck, Trails West, Inc.


Massacre Ranch was part of the Miller and Lux Pacific Land & Livestock Company holdings until liquidated in the mid-1920’s. Martin Lartirigoyen bought the ranch and ran it as a sheep operation in the 1930′ s and then leased it to John Laxague from Surprise Valley. Later, Lartirigoyen’s son-in-law, Bob Bunyard, took over management of the ranch until a complex multi-party arrangement involving the Bureau of Land Management, the American Land Conservancy, and the Bunyard family allowed the BLM to acquire Massacre Ranch in 1995. Part of the arrangement included retiring the ranch’s domestic sheep grazing permit, which paved the way for the reintroduction of bighorn sheep into High Rock Canyon during the winter of 1995/96.


The origin of the name for the creek, ranch, valley and a shallow alkali lake—”Massacre” – has some interesting twists and turns. The earliest reference to this name (as Massacre Valley) come in Thompson and West’s History of Nevada published in 1881. But there was no explanation for the name, which suggests that by then “massacre” was in current usage as a place-name. In the 1930’s several accounts appeared in print which matter-of-factly stated that in 1850 Indians attacked a large emigrant wagon train. In the running fight that saved the wagon train, 40 emigrant men were killed and buried in a common unmarked grave. The published stories describing this “massacre” had no substantiating evidence, just the legend passed on from one writer to the next. In 1977 Thomas Layton, an anthropology professor, published an article in the Nevada Historical Society Quarterly that convincingly disproved any emigrant “massacre” of such a magnitude occurred in 1850 or any other year in this part of northwestern Nevada. None of the emigrant diary accounts for 1850, or later, on the Applegate Trail in Nevada mention either an Indian attack on such a large scale or any emigrant deaths of this number. Surely, had a massacre of this magnitude occurred, it would have been sensational enough to be reported and recorded. But there is no mention in any contemporary records. Also, as Layton pointed out, organized, large-scale attacks on emigrant trains were not characteristic of Indian warfare in this region. Marauding Indian bands did attack isolated prospectors, ranchers, and stage stations in the 1860′ s, but nothing like the “massacre” attributed to 1850. Rumors of massacres and murders have a life of their own, and once repeated they spread rapidly and are long remembered.


Mike Bilbo added the following:

The mass burial site in the massacre legend has led some writers to speculate that the two large groups of rocks northeast of the Massacre Ranch buildings might have been the common grove where the 40 emigrant bodies were buried. On close inspection, especially of the larger rock group that measures 8 ft by l 3 ft, you can see that the lower rocks appear to be well placed foundations for some kind of structure. (See photo below.) They are not typical-looking emigrant groves, although they could have been excavated by later “grave robbers.” Also, in some of the published accounts of the so-called “massacre,” the dead were buried in a common and unmarked grave where every precaution was taken to conceal the location so Indians would not disinter and desecrate the bodies. Clearly, these two rock groups are very visible, even to the casual observer. Also, nearby are other large flat rocks that are not natural in appearance and add to the puzzle. Upon seeing the two main rock structures for the first time, Mike Bilbo, a BLM specialist and student of western military history, said they were foundations for military tents, the larger one for officers. This site at later Massacre Ranch may have been the location of a temporary U.S. military supply encampment, known as Camp Black, that moved about in l 865 supporting troops on Indian campaigns. Such a temporary camp could account for these two unique rock structures. To reach these two rock structures, go two-tenths mile beyond Marker A-22 and turn right on a ranch road. The first rock foundation is 350 yards up this road, off to the left [at 41°33.923N, 119° 35.090W & 11 T 0284550E, 4604450N]. Just beyond is the other rock foundation. Because it is difficult for a vehicle to turn around in the sagebrush near the rock structures, it is easier to walk to them.

“Those foundations [Massacre] are part of a “company street” that may have been more like a platoon. The rock walls indicate “stockaded” tents, where the tents were placed on top of the walls, likely A-frames which the mid-19th Century Cavalry still used, while the Infantry had gone to dog tents (which later became pup tents). Stockaded tents gave more room and weather protection. You’ll have to look carefully for foundation indications of other tent stockades, where the rock were mined out for other things, either by ranchers or recreationists (fire rings, etc). I never measured those and you might do that.

If they are 7-9 feet long and 5-6 feet wide, A-frames. If they are 5 feet long by 4 feet wide, Dog Tents. Because Camp (actually Fort) McGarry and Soldier Meadows Ranch (outlying picket post of Fort McGarry) were 1st Regiment, U.S. Cavalry during the Civil War, I suspect Massacre Ranch was another 1st Cav Regt picket post. I suspect that because of CW-period artifacts a looter told me he had collected in 1999 (he didn’t know I was a BLMer – I wasn’t able to get him busted because I didn’t catch him in the act, so just kept quiet hoping for that opportunity, but it never happened). He found 1st Regiment Cavalry insignia and a 1st Cav-marked rosette from bridle. While I don’t like metal detectors, you might take one along to see if you can find more evidence, like eagle buttons, 2-piece spoons, dippers (tin cups). It’s also possible later troops including turn-of-the-century used that place.


The Pacific Northwest-Pacific Southwest Direct Current Intertie (also called Path 65) is a high-voltage electric superhighway between the Northwest and Southwest that helps balance power needs in the West and allows the two regions to share surplus electricity. It was the largest single transmission program ever undertaken in the United States. Construction began in the 1960s through a cooperative effort between public and private utilities in the Pacific Northwest and California. The 3,100-megawatt combined AC and DC transmission system was completed in 1970. It delivers enough to serve two to three million Los Angeles households and represents almost half of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) electrical system’s peak capacity.

The intertie originates near the Columbia River at the Celilo Converter Station of Bonneville Power Administration’s grid outside The Dalles, Oregon, and is connected to the Sylmar Converter Station north of Los Angeles, which is owned by five utility companies and managed by LADWP. The Intertie can transmit power in either direction, but power flows mostly from north to south. The section of the line in Oregon is owned and operated by Bonneville Power Administration, while the line in Nevada and California is owned and operated by Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. In 2016, BPA upgraded the BPA-owned portion of the transmission line, which runs 265 miles from The Dalles to the Nevada/Oregon border. The transition is at the Oregon-Nevada border, at 41°59′47″N 119°57′44″W.

One advantage of direct current over AC is that DC current penetrates the entire conductor as opposed to AC current which only penetrates to the skin depth. For the same conductor size the effective resistance is greater with AC than DC, hence more power is lost as heat. In general the total costs for HVDC are less than an AC line if the line length is over 500–600 miles, and with advances in conversion technology this distance has been reduced considerably. A DC line is also ideal for connecting two AC systems that are not synchronized with each another. HVDC lines can help stabilize a power grid against cascading blackouts, since power flow through the line is controllable.

The Pacific Intertie takes advantage of differing power demand patterns between the northwestern and southwestern US. During winter, the northern region operates electrical heating devices while the southern portion uses relatively little electricity. In summer, the north uses little electricity while the south reaches peak demand due to air conditioning usage. Any time the Intertie demand lessens, the excess is distributed elsewhere on the western power grid (states west of the Great Plains, including Colorado and New Mexico).



The Pacific DC Intertie

From the Diaries of John C. Fremont’s Second Expedition, end of 1843

December 25, 1843. — We were roused, on Christmas morning, by a discharge from the small arms and howitzer, with which our people saluted the day; and the name of which we bestowed on the lake. [The lake which JCF named Christmas Lake was one of those in the Warner Lakes group, perhaps either Hart Lake (as McArthur believes) or Crump Lake. From personal observation we are inclined to choose the latter one, south of Hart, as the lake which JCF visited. In this view we are supported by staff members in the supervisor’s office, Fremont National Forest.] It was the first time, perhaps, in this remote and desolate region, in which it had been so commemorated. Always, on days of religious or national commemoration, our voyageurs expect some unusual allowance; and, having nothing else, I gave them each a little brandy, (which was carefully guarded, as one of the most useful articles a traveller can carry,) with some coffee and sugar, which here, where every eatable was a luxury, was sufficient to make them a feast. The day was sunny and warm; and, resuming our journey, we crossed some slight dividing grounds into a similar basin, walled in on the right by a lofty mountain ridge. The plainly beaten trail still continued, and occasionally we passed camping grounds of the Indians, which indicated to me that we were on one of the great thoroughfares of the country. In the afternoon I attempted to travel in a more eastern direction; but, after a few laborious miles, was beaten back into the basin by an impassable country. There were fresh Indian tracks about the valley, and last night a horse was stolen. We encamped on the valley bottom, where there was some cream-like water in ponds, colored by a clay soil and frozen over. Chenopodiaceous shrubs [Nevada goosefoot] constituted the growth, and made again our firewood. The animals were driven to the hill, where there was tolerably good grass.

December 26. — Our general course was again south. The country consists of larger or smaller basins, into which the mountain waters run down, forming small lakes; they present a perfect level, from which the mountains rise immediately and abruptly. Between the successive basins, the dividing grounds are usually very slight; and it is probable that, in the seasons of high water, many of these basins are in communication. At such times there is evidently an abundance of water, though now we find scarcely more than the dry beds. On either side, the mountains, though not very high, appear to be rocky and sterile. The basin in which we were travelling declined towards the southwest corner, where the mountains indicated a narrow outlet; and, turning round a rocky point or cape, we continued up a lateral branch valley, in which we encamped at night on a rapid, pretty near the ridge, on the right side of the valley. It was bordered with grassy bottoms and clumps of willows, the water partially frozen. This stream belongs to the basin we had left. By a partial observation tonight, our camp was found to be directly on the 42d parallel [Oregon-Nevada line, ten miles east of the California line]. Tonight a horse belonging to [Kit] Carson, one of the best we had in the camp, was stolen by the Indians.

December 27. — We continued up the valley of the stream, the principal branch of which here issues from a bed of high mountains. We turned up a branch to the left, and fell into an Indian trail, which conducted us by a good road over open bottoms along the creek, where the snow was five or six inches deep. Gradually ascending, the trail led through a good broad pass in the mountain, where we found the snow about one foot deep. There were some remarkably large cedars in the pass, which were covered with an unusual quantity of frost, which we supposed might possibly indicate the neighborhood of water; and as, in the arbitrary position of Mary’s lake, we were already beginning to look for it, this circumstance contributed to our hope of finding it near. Descending from the mountain, we reached another basin, on the flat lake bed [perhaps Calcutta Lake] of which we found no water, and encamped among the sage on the bordering plain, where the snow was still about one foot deep. Among this the grass was remarkably green, and tonight the animals fared tolerably well. [JCF had crossed into what was then Mexican territory, now northern Washoe County, Nev., and had entered the basin of the Mud Lakes. For the next several days he would be making his way toward Pyramid Lake. The bracketed place-names supplied in the text are based mainly on the work of Effie Mona Mack.]

December 28. — The snow being deep, I had determined, if any more horses were stolen, to follow the tracks of the Indians into the mountains, and put a temporary check to their sly operations; but it did not occur again.

Our road this morning lay down a level valley, bordered by steep mountainous ridges, rising very abruptly from the plain. Artemisia was the principal plant, mingled with Fremontia and the chenopodiaceous shrubs. The artemisia was here extremely large, being sometimes a foot in diameter and eight feet high. Riding quietly along over the snow, we came suddenly upon smokes rising among these bushes; and, galloping up, we found two huts, open at the top, and loosely built of sage, which appeared to have been deserted at the instant; and, looking hastily around, we saw several Indians on the crest of the ridge near by, and several others scrambling up the side. We had come upon them so suddenly, that they had been well nigh surprised in their lodges. A sage fire was burning in the middle; a few baskets made of straw were lying about, with one or two rabbit skins; and there was a little grass scattered about, on which they had been lying. “Wypipo — po!” they shouted from the hills — a word which, in the Snake language, signifies white — and remained looking at us from behind the rocks. Carson and Godey rode towards the hill, but the men ran off like deer. They had been so much pressed, that a woman with two children had dropped behind a sage bush near the lodge, and when Carson accidentally stumbled upon her, she immediately began screaming in the extremity of fear, and shut her eyes fast, to avoid seeing him. She was brought back to the lodge, and we endeavored in vain to open a communication with the men. By dint of presents, and friendly demonstrations, she was brought to calmness; and we found that they belonged to the Snake nation, speaking the language of that people. Eight or ten appeared to live together, under the same little shelter; and they seemed to have no other subsistence than the roots or seeds they might have stored up, and the hares which live in the sage, and which they are enabled to track through the snow, and are very skillful in killing. Their skins afford them a little scanty covering. Herding together among bushes, and crouching almost naked over a little sage fire, using their instinct only to procure food, these may be considered, among human beings, the nearest approach to the mere animal creation. We have reason to believe that these had never before seen the face of a white man. The day had been pleasant, but about two o’clock it began to blow; and crossing a slight dividing ground we encamped on the sheltered side of a hill, where there was good bunch grass, having made a day’s journey of 24 miles. The night closed in, threatening snow; but the large sage bushes made bright fires.

December 29. — The morning mild, and at 4 o’clock it commenced snowing. We took our way across a plain, thickly covered with snow, towards a range of hills in the southeast. The sky soon became so dark with snow that little could be seen of the surrounding country; and we reached the summit of the hills in a heavy snow storm. On the side we had approached, this had appeared to be only a ridge of low hills; and we were surprised to find ourselves on the summit of a bed of broken mountains, which, as far as the weather would permit us to see, declined rapidly to some low country ahead, presenting a dreary and savage character; and for a moment I looked around in doubt on the wild and inhospitable prospect, scarcely knowing what road to take which might conduct us to some place of shelter for the night. Noticing among the hills the head of a grassy hollow, I determined to follow it, in the hope that it would conduct us to a stream. We followed a winding descent for several miles, the hollow gradually broadening into little meadows, and becoming the bed of a stream as we advanced ; and towards night we were agreeably surprised by the appearance of a willow grove, where we found a sheltered camp, with water and excellent and abundant grass. The grass, which was covered by the snow on the bottom, was long and green, and the face of the mountain had a more favorable character in its vegetation, being smoother, and covered with good bunch grass. The snow was deep, and the night very cold. A broad trail had entered the valley from the right, and a short distance below the camp [at High Rock Creek] were the tracks where a considerable party of Indians had passed on horseback, who had turned out to the left, apparently with the view of crossing the mountains to the eastward.