Sunday, February 1, 2015

Water, Hot and Cold II

(Continued from preceding post)

Water in arid lands is always understandably fascinating and attracts life in many forms. Coyote, the small wild

canid now found throughout much of the United States, frequently hunt  round this small thermal site, and deer bed down in the adjacent willows. An occasional opportunistic mountain lion might wander down from the high country passing by numerous other smaller species including, birds, rodents, and reptiles.  In deserts, there is always the possibility that springs and seeps will host unique species. Our work at these springs revealed nothing especially unique in terms of biota.
For as long as there have been humans here, we have visited these thermal springs.  

The Native American people, many of whom still live close by, sought healing in these waters.  In 1849, and later, miners seeking wealth in the California gold fields passed this site on their way over the Sierras and then again as they returned from California on their way to the hoped-for riches of nearby Goldfield, Silver City, and Virginia City.  Nearby, the Mormons built a structured in a community that was called Mormon Station and later Genoa. 

As we wander among the grass and rushes, stepping carefully between the steaming  outlets, it is hard not to wonder what others left moccasin prints and the impressions of hobnailed boots on this alkali encrusted slope above the small pool where the cooling waters collect. Something different has brought each one of us here…healing, a hot bath, food…and knowledge.

(Continued in the next post)