About you, your 4x4 and access
Font size: +
8 minutes reading time (1533 words)

Catch A Burro If You Can!

Catch A Burro If You Can!

Sign Marietta was a town developed by Francis Smith when he mined Borax on Teels Marsh
(click picture to read the text on the sign)

One of the things that makes four wheeling so much fun is seeing new and unusual places. The driving itself, while an experience in its own way, can be secondary to what you see while off road. The destination can be as fascinating as the drive.

One of the more fascinating areas in the southwest is known as the Great Basin. Encompassing parts of California, Oregon, Nevada and Utah, the Great Basin covers more than 184,000 square miles. What makes this area unique is that its rivers and lakes have no outlet to the sea (unlike other waterways). All the water stays inside the basin.

A good place to start exploring the Great Basin is in Mineral County, Nevada. Located in the southwest part of that state, Mineral County contains Marietta Wild Burro Range. BLM manages this 68,000-acre range for the protection of roughly 100 wild burros. (I know, I know: sounds like a lot of territory for a handful of critters. But this is sparse desert range requiring many acres to support the browsing needs of one burro.) Suffice to say, it’s fascinating—though rugged—land for exploring.

Nearly 66,500 acres are public land. Among the sights worth visiting are Teels Marsh and the ghost towns of Marietta and Candelaria. (Marietta has a few hardy souls in it yet so it might not really qualify as a ghost town.) Also located along the western edge of Mineral County is the Excelsior Mountain range. You may consider making it a camping trip.
Sign Cabin at Cow Camp - Huntoon Valley
(click picture to for a larger image)

A good loop would be to take in Teels Marsh, Huntoon Valley, an overnight stay in the Excelsior Mountains and back through Rattlesnake Flat to Garfield Flat and out to Mina, NV on US95.

Mina was a major depot for the Carson & Colorado Railroad and later the Southern Pacific. It was the northern terminus for the Tonopah and Goldfield Railroad which serviced the gold mines in Esmeralda County, NV. Mina was the nickname for Wilhelmina, the daughter of a railroad executive. The town would never have existed if land speculators had not driven up the price of lots in Sodaville (4 miles south) in hopes of selling to the railroad for a big windfall.
Sign Sign found in Garfield Flats.
(click picture to for a larger image)

What you’ll encounter in the Great Basin

Plant and wildlife are different in this area of the Great Basin from the southern area containing the Mojave Desert. In this area the Creosote bush gives way to the Greasewood bush. The wood of the Greesewood is so hard that people used to use it for arrow points. In fact the transition line from Creosote bush to Greesewood defines the dividing line between the Mojave Desert and the Great Basin Desert. Much of the area is covered by shadscale and sagebrush too. The dominant rattler is the King Rattlesnake who just wants to be left alone and will not bother you. Antelope share Teels Marsh with the burros and wild horses. It is easy to spot the Great Basin Collared Lizards but less likely the Chuckwalla Lizard despite being the second largest Lizard in the United States.

Despite decades of experience in this hobby—and having traveled many of the same trails countless times—I’m always amazed at what I see and encounter. The same is true for the Great Basin Desert. On top of that, Mineral County is mostly unknown by 4WD enthusiasts. You could have the area nearly to yourself.

Bear in mind, though, that you are in the desert. Towns are sparse. Hawthorne, Luning and Mina are the only communities of significance, and they are miles apart. Conditions are hot and dry, so pack accordingly. Spring and fall are the best times to visit the area.

As I mentioned, a chunk of Mineral County has been set aside to protect the wild burros. Make it a goal to spot ‘em. Government officials say that burros usually don’t let you get very close. Pack binoculars and a telephoto lens. The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of December 1971 provides federal protection against harm and harassment.

Sign Marietta was a town developed by Francis Smith when he mined Borax on Teels Marsh
(click picture to for a larger image)

Is that a burro or a mule?

Speaking of burros, here’s some trivia for your next campfire. Do you know the difference between a burro and a mule?

Burro is just another name for a donkey. A male donkey is known as a Jack (also sometimes called an ass); the female is a Jenny.

A mule is what you get when you cross a Jack with a mare (female horse). Though rare, you could find a mule that’s a product of a male horse and a Jenny. Those are known as hinnies. (Mules are sterile, by the way, so someone has to keep creating them. How’s that for an occupation?)

Other than for trivia, burros occasionally show up while driving in the southwest. Burros were often used by miners many years ago. Their strong, sturdy bodies made them ideally suited to carrying out heavy loads in the hardscrabble, desert conditions. Most of the mines are long gone, but you can still encounter a wild burro on occasion.

Sign Great Basin Collared Lizard.
(click picture to for a larger image)
Sign Wild Horses in the distance
(click picture to for a larger image)

As you can see, a destination can be as much fun as the off-road driving itself. Next time you’re in the mood for some four wheeling, check out an area you haven’t visited before. If you live in the southwest US, consider Mineral County, Nevada, and other parts of the Great Basin. You can test your 4WD skills and see a new part of the country. And you may even spot a burro or two. Just take a picture - it is illegal to harASS then.

Ask your buddies to top that!

# # # #

Related Articles from Badlands Off-road Adventures

Drive Your Customers To The Edge! Make Outdoor Resolutions You Can keep The All-Time Best Family Adventures Launch of Outdoor Adventure USA Amateur Net

Did you miss the previous articles?

2013-06-12 10 Rules of Trail Etiquette 2013-05-12 Camping Gear Repair Kit 2013-04-15 Keep Recovery Gear Accessible 2013-03-15 You Gotta Have Good Wood to Go 4 Wheeling

New Stock - More Colors - Winch Recovery Bandana

Winching Recover Bandana
Click for higher resolution image
We have our new stock with many new colors (Red, Orange, Green, Blue) on hand. The Bandana is packed full of useful information and is a quick reference in the field when no DVD player is available."

The Bandana layout follows the “Vehicle Recovery Plan” with pathways to more detail. A unique section of the Bandana, gives the steps for a “Winch Rigging Check: Walk through” so that you verify every element of the rigging before you commit to the pull. Stuff this in your recovery kit and you will always be ready!

Pick up or order the Winching DVD too! There is no substitute for hands on training. If you can, sign up for one of Badlands Off-Road Adventure’s Winching Clinics.

Warning – the Bandana and DVD are not a substitute for proper training and use of quality equipment that is used within the bounds of their safe working load. We advise you to use the information provided in both the Winching Recovery Bandana and the "Basic to Advanced Winching and Recovery DVD" at your own risk. We cannot control the quality and specifications of the equipment used and the methods actually employed.

Winch Recovery Bandana Order Button

Order a Basic to Advanced Winching & Recovery DVD too!

I hope to see you on the trails!
Tom Severin, President
Badlands Off Road Adventures, Inc.
4-Wheel Drive School
Make it Fun. Keep it Safe.
If you find this information valuable, please pass it on to a friend. You can forward them the email. If you received a forwarded copy of this newsletter and would like to subscribe for yourself, go to: www.4x4training.com/contacts.html and follow the instructions to join our mail list.
Want To Use This Article In Your Magazine, E-Zine, Club Newsletter Or Web Site? You are welcome to use it anytime, just be sure to include the following author/copyright information: Tom Severin, 4x4 Coach, teaches 4WD owners how to confidently and safely use their vehicles to the fullest extent in difficult terrain and adverse driving conditions. Visit www.4x4training.com to develop or improve your driving skill.

Copyright 2013, Badlands Off-Road Adventures, Inc.

Original author: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

EAJA Reform Legislation Introduced
Political Earthquake in MT Rocks Political Landsca...

OutdoorWire, 4x4Wire, JeepWire, TrailTalk, MUIRNet-News, and 4x4Voice are all trademarks and publications of OutdoorWire, Inc. and MUIRNet Consulting. Copyright (c) 1999-2020 OutdoorWire, Inc and MUIRNet Consulting - All Rights Reserved, no part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without express written permission. You may link freely to this site, but no further use is allowed without the express written permission of the owner of this material. All corporate trademarks are the property of their respective owners.