Shoshone Village

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February, 2016Shoshone Village, CA is not within the borders of Death Valley National Park, but it’s so close I visited here while exploring there.  See map for location.

Shoshone Museum

I started off with the Shoshone Museum for an overview and history of the area.  “Founded as a rail stop on the Tonopah and Tidewater line in 1909, Shoshone grew into the regional center for people traveling into the southern Death Valley area.  Entrepreneurs R.J. Fairbanks and his son in law Charles Brown, established an eatery and boarding house for the railroad which later grew into a full range of business services.”

Shoshone - Crowbar Cafe

Crowbar Cafe shakeI ate lunch at the adjacent Crow Bar Cafe & Saloon and the hamburger with green chilies was delicious.

But it was so filling that even though I drooled over the chocolate shake I saw the waitress serving as I was leaving, I decided to come back for one as a reward after spending some calories walking around the dusty historic cemetery and Dublin Gulch right across the road. Don’t miss it!

Shoshone graveyard - 1

I read that there are 33 people buried in these mostly unmarked graves that line the hillside in Dublin Gulch.

Shoshone Graveyard - 2

Walking along the dusty road of this graveyard made me feel lonely at times – more for these people out here all by themselves than for me. Of course I understand these were just physical remains, but still…and the small outlines are always the saddest…

Shoshone Graveyard - 3

Saved By Grace – Roy L. Gilliam (1911-1963). I was a little surprised that there were some newer than the 1800s buried here.

Shoshone Graveyard - 4

Some very simple stone outlines, then more “formal” and elaborate markers, but even those look pretty rustic.  When I posted these pictures on Facebook, a friend commented that’s why the desert is so spiritual to her and that it’s not as desolate as it seems at first glance.  I agree there is so much more diversity than I expected, but this place still felt pretty desolate to me, even though it’s right across the main road in Shoshone Village.

Shoshone - Dublin Gulch sign

Dublin Gulch – These are just down the road from the graveyard.  The sign says “During the 1920s, miners carved dwellings in this caliche clay embankment. The name “Dublin Gulch” may have come from an area of the same name in Butte, MT, where one resident, Joe Vollmer, once lived. Some caves have split levels, stovepipes and garages.”

Shoshone - Dublin Gulch 2

They kinda reminded me of hobbit hutches or a Flintstones neighborhood, but I guessed they were the condos of the miners in the 1800s here.  See links at the bottom here for more info I got later.

Shoshone - Dublin Gulch 3

You can’t get into most of them, but you can at least get an idea of the conditions. Hopefully they didn’t charge more than a standard room for these accommodations.  But maybe since it had hardwood floors…

Shoshone - Dublin Gulch 4

A kitchenette?

Shoshone - Dublin Gulch 5

I liked the built-in decorator shelf touches here.

Shoshone - Dublin Gulch 6

I wonder what this was used for.  A friend suggested maybe a shrine to the Virgin Mary if they were Catholic where they would pray to strike it rich!  Another said maybe for lamps.  I was pretty disappointed there was no info other than the sign at the entrance that mentioned some caves had garages.  I wonder if that’s what this was.

Shoshone - Dublin Gulch 7

A formal entry here…

Shoshone - Dublin Gulch 8

Leading to the Master Suite?

Shoshone - Dublin Gulch 9

I must say the sanitary accommodations left a lot to be desired.

Shoshone - Dublin Gulch 10

A double seater with one seat still intact, but I’d have to be awful desperate to plop my butt down here!  And even though I heard that the rattlesnakes that live here are in hibernation this time of year, I was still realllly careful walking around in the desert.

Shoshone - dusty road to car

Walking back to my little car seen here as a little dark blip, this is the view across the road.  Gives a little perspective on how small we are in this massive setting.

Shoshone - palm trees

There are several of these palm trees in this area – just doesn’t seem to belong here somehow.

Shoshone - colorful mountains

Aren’t the layers, shapes and colors of these mountains incredible?

Shoshone to Pahrump drive

The drive heading back to Pahrump was not without interest, too.

Shoshone to Pahrump drive 2

This shelf of white stone basically at the feet of the range beyond it of totally different shape, colors and textures was a great sight to see.

Shoshone - Gas pricesMalia’s tip:  Get gas in Nevada before coming here. I had filled up for $1.69/gallon in Pahrump where I was staying (with a 10 cent discount for Smith’s loyalty card) and just 30 miles away, here’s what you get in California.

Granted, it’s in the middle of the desert, but still… whoa, Nellie!

There is an RV Park in town that other RVers I met were staying at for a month and they said is good – Shoshone RV Park.


All Malia’s Miles Death Valley pages:

Death Valley Index  ♦  Artist’s Drive  ♦  Desert in Bloom 

Badwater Road sights  ♦  Natural Bridge Hike


links According to Death Valley, the Dublin Gulch Caves are dug out of volcanic ash from a Lava Creek eruption in Yellow Stone National Park, over 600 thousand years ago. It is unknown when the caves where dug out and inhabited, however it was likely in the late 1870s during the silver boom at the Noonday Mines. The caves have been home to many people over the years, most of them local miners. The caves remained occupied at some extent well into the 1970s.

Dublin Gulch Dwellings (Wikimapia)

Caves’ Renovation Illuminates the Past (Pahrump Valley Times) (2008 article that also gives info on arranging group tours) – But these caves weren’t just temporary housing in an inhospitable climate. The men who lived in them turned them into permanent homes. They built stone facades and put down hardwood floors. The men had furniture and, in one case, a miner even had silver tea service in his cave.  One character loved his cave so much that, after selling his mining claim for the incredible sum of $50,000, he stayed right where he was. He bought a new automobile and dug out a garage to keep it in right next to his cave.

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