Tag Archives: Fletcher Valley

Fletcher

Fletcher from the east

Fletcher from the east. East slopes of the Bodie Hills behind.

Fletcher has never been more than a dot on maps of Mineral County (Nevada), but in the late 1860s, when Aurora was a busy mining camp, this little spring-fed oasis at the northern tip of the Aurora Crater lava field became a welcome rest stop on the rough wagon roads from Hawthorne to the east and Carson City to the north.

Fletcher from the west

Fletcher from the west. Corey Peak in the Wassuk Range in the distance.

A plaque in the shade of a tall willow reads: “FLETCHER: Formerly known as Six Mile Station, this stage stop and way station provided service between some of the smaller mining camps and Aurora and Bodie, CA during the late 1860s. The area became of greater importance with the arrival of the Carson and Colorado Railroad in 1881. With increased passenger and freight traffic between Hawthorne, Aurora, and Bodie and the expanding local population, a post office was established on October 24, 1883 and named for H. D. Fletcher, the first postmaster. The post office was removed on November 10, 1918, when Hawthorne became the mailing address for area patrons.”

Plaque at Fletcher

There isn’t much on the internet about the history of Fletcher. You can read a little more here and here.

The spring here is one of the few perennial sources of potable water in the eastern Bodie Hills and in all of Fletcher Valley. It also supports a few acres of wetland and riparian vegetation, so it’s attractive to wildlife. It has probably been attractive to all inhabitants of the region for thousands of years.

The spring at Fletcher.

The spring at Fletcher.

Fletcher

The only remaining structure.

Trees here include four species of Populus: Fremont cottonwood (P. fremontii), black cottonwood (P. trichocarpa), quaking aspen (P. tremuloides), and the non-native Lombardy poplar (P. nigra ‘Italica’). At least two, probably three willows are here, but I need to return for flowering material to key them reliably.

Fletcher

Populus trichocarpa

Fletcher

Populus tremuloides

Fletcher

Meadow and emergent marsh fed by the spring at Fletcher.

Fletcher

Cattails (Typha) at Fletcher.

Fletcher on 1873 Hoffman CalifGeolSurv CentralCA Sheet_II

Fletcher (black dot in yellow circle) on a portion of the 1873 “Topographical Map of Central California Together with a Part of Nevada” [Sheet IV], by Charles F. Hoffman of the California Geological Survey (link to Sheet IV in the David Rumsey Map Collection).

Fletcher on a Nevada DoT highway map

Fletcher (black dot at yellow arrow) on a portion of the 2014 Nevada Department of Transportation “General Highway Map”, Quadrangle 8-10.


Copyright © Tim Messick 2016. All rights reserved.
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The View from Lucky Boy Pass

Cory Pk from Lucky Boy Pass

Looking Northwest from Lucky Boy Pass: Corey Peak
in the southern Wassuk Range

The earliest map I’ve found showing a road over Lucky Boy Pass, in the southern Wassuk Range of Mineral County, NV (just east of the Bodie Hills), is the 1873 “Topographical Map of Central California Together with a Part of Nevada” [Sheets II and IV], by Charles F. Hoffman of the California Geological Survey (link to Sheet IV in the David Rumsey Map Collection). Part of this is shown below.

1873 Hoffman CalifGeolSurvey (1)

Here’s a closer view (below), with a red dot over Lucky Boy Pass. A few other things to note on this map: the city of Hawthorne (near the south end of Walker Lake) isn’t there yet. Hawthorne was established about 1880. The label “Cory’s Peak” is a little off-target. It’s placed on today’s Mt Grant (highest in the Wassuk Range). Cory Peak should be the first knob north of the red dot. “Mt. Brady”, south of Aurora, is now called Brawley Peaks (although that’s apparently a mis-spelling of Braly). The little back dot at the crossroads north of Aurora marks the stage stop at Fletcher.

1873 Hoffman CalifGeolSurvey (2)

The road over Lucky Boy Pass became a main road connecting Hawthorne with points to the west, perhaps during the peak of activity at Aurora (1863-64) and Bodie (mid-1880s). The arrival of the Carson and Colorado Railroad at Hawthorne in 1881 also boosted activity along this road. Today the road is wide and well maintained, having recently served the now mostly inactive Borealis Mine (just south of Lucky Boy Pass) and  Esmeralda Mill (just east of Aurora in the Bodie Hills).

Buller Mtn

Looking Southeast from near Lucky Boy Pass: Buller Mountain
in the southern Wassuk Range

On a clear day, there are fine views into the remote eastern slopes of the Bodie Hills, and glimpses of the Sierra Nevada beyond.

Mt Hicks from Lucky Boy Pass

Looking South: Mt. Hicks (right) and the distant Sierra Nevada (left). Full panorama here.

Bodie Hills from Lucky Boy Pass

Looking South-southwest: Brawley Peaks near Aurora (center). Fletcher Valley in the foreground, with Mud Spring Wash in front of the dark volcanic flows crossing the middle of the picture. Full panorama here.

Bodie Hills from Lucky Boy Pass

Looking Southwest: Dunderberg Peak in the Sierra Nevada (center), then Bodie Mountain and Potato Peak in the Bodie Hills (right of Dunderberg). More of Fletcher Valley beyond foothills in the foreground.

The Wassuk Range from Fletcher Valley

The southern portion of the Wassuk Range from Fletcher Valley (looking north). Corey Peak (10,520 ft, right of center) appears to be the highest. Mount Grant (11,239 ft), although taller, is much farther away, barely visible as a low bump left of center. Lucky Boy Pass is near the right edge of this picture. Full panorama here.

Lucky Boy Pass Road probably takes its name from the Lucky Boy Mine, discovered in 1908 several miles south of Hawthorne. But who was this lucky person? And what was he lucky with—prospecting, cards, love?  I haven’t found the answers, but he appears to have moved around a lot: there are “Lucky Boy” mines in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, and Washington, as well as Nevada.


Copyright © Tim Messick 2016. All rights reserved.
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