Pershing County

Desolate Spaces and Proud Places

The Markers Statistics Related Links

Bathroom break. Dry. Ugly. Wasteland. Barren. Desert. For most people little else comes to mind when muttered "Pershing County." Like Humboldt to the east, Pershing depends on Interstate 80 as a vital link to the outside world. In days before, the place we know today was a true wilderness in the Great Basin. Imagining this wildness though is difficult for most of us stuck on the interstate. Maybe its knowing that we need to force ourselves off that darned freeway to see the bigger picture.

For those willing to wait out the land, new perspectives happen on the county's harsh exterior. And that's just what a few stragglers have done. Squatters? Not exactly. Sprinkled throughout the region are tiny smatterings of population fastened to a land reachable by long and dusty roads. Maybe they just want to get the hell away from the interstate and the troubles it brings. If it weren't for webs of lonely roads crawling across the county's expanses ... these rugged die-hards might likely disappear forever from the rest of the outside world. Former railroad sidings, flash-in-the-pan camps, isolated watering holes, and more are dotted amidst the land - perfect refuges for perfect recluses, intelligent folks who enjoy the thought of having the desert to themselves.

Incentives for those of us willing to seek simpler things won't be in monetary value. It'll just make us fit right at home. Some of Nevada's best "ghost towns" make their remembrance in Pershing's bleak terrain ...

Rochester, once a town of three sister districts, was both a child of the railroad and an "orphaned" mining camp at at the base of the mountains.

Humboldt City, rocky and higher in elevation, challenged many a miner's axe to daily for a good run of solid earnings!

Unionville. Who can forget Unionville? ... a pretty bit of greenery that "marks" a great rumor!

Mazama, whose ruins hold onto memories of a freak disaster that nearly wiped it from the map in only a few minutes.

Vernon, who waits patiently to tell its story to any and all passersby about its deceptive fortune.

Seven Troughs, the site of several austere ruins and some provoking energy that sells the true story of the desert.

Sulphur, on Pershing's northern border no longer greets trains, but instead greets rare visitors to inescapable vistas on the shores of the Black Rock.

Here's to putting an end to that overplayed encantation: "There's nothing here!"

The Markers

Even a gander of any Nevada map will reveal that Pershing County is truly lonely land. Let's discount the interstate for a minute. The only way to get around the county is via a network of long, dusty tracks that retreat far into the wilds. I mean, hey ... pavement and stoplights brings peace of mind, so at first glance, this place will be intimidating. A trip out here will remind the modern junkie of just how small he is. Ask any Nevadan and most will tell you that this stretch of Interstate 80 (through Pershing County) is the "worst." Even with the temporary silvery-blue relief of Rye Patch Reservoir many attest that there is little to break the monotony of barren mountains and vast emptiness. For others, a trip through this landscape signifies the true Nevada. A renewed perspective is almost mandatory here.

Fortunately, there are three markers that force you off of that dreaded interstate and right into the heart this humbling county. Lovelock may be "the city" in Pershing Linguistics 101, but we suggest using either Winnemucca or Mill City as bases for your quest. During our conquering in 2008, we chose Mill City because all but one of Pershing's markers is situated around this spot. Ironically the only isolated marker from the rest is in downtown Lovelock - a long fifty-mile detour from Mill City. And from Winnemucca, well ... can we say hop and skip away? Of course If you like the old days you can book a lovely experience worlds away from the interstate at Unionville's only bed & breakfast! Tabula Rasa, my friends.

Markers of Pershing County

Coasting through the long and lonely vastness of Pershing County is something of the wonderful for any desert rat. Six markers simply aren't enough for this enough for this county, but what is here will be eye-opening in this very desolate region of Nevada. No matter how to embark on this sea every wave of sage has something different to say!

[17] -- Pershing County

40.1803, -118.47694

"Here was a key point on Nevada's earliest road, the famed Humboldt Trail that brought 165,000 emigrants west."

[23] -- Humboldt House

40.598, -118.25219

"Humboldt House (or Humboldt Station) was originally the point of departure for Humboldt City."

[49] -- Applegate-Lassen Emigrant Trail Cutoff

40.65218, -118.16585

"The emigrants suffered great hardships; many lives and livestock were lost. It became known as the "Death Route."

[145] -- Unionville (Pershing County)

40.44954, -118.07174

"Southern sympathizers settled in Buena Vista Canyon in 1861 after the discovery of silver ore."

[231] -- Star City

40.58756, -118.05319

"During the boom years of 1864 and 1865, the town boasted 1,200 residents and a dozen or more saloons."

[232] -- Reunion in Unionville

40.44653, -118.12753

"To the rear of this marker are the remains of Mark Twain's cabin. Also a member of E.C.V., he built this structure in 1861."