Sand Springs Sand Springs Carson Sink Middlegate. Cold Springs

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Sand Springs About 20 miles east of Fallon on US 50 an unimproved road leads to Sand Mountain and Sand Springs Pony Express Station. The station has a number of interpretive signs.

In March of' 1860 Bolivar Roberts, J.G. Kelley and others built Sand Springs Pony Express Station. James McNaughton was station keeper at Sand Springs for a while before he became a rider.

J. G. Kelly told of an incident at Sand Springs when he was a rider:

"One day I trotted into Sand Springs covered with dust and perspiration. Before I reached the station. I saw a number of men (Indians) running toward me, all carrying rifles, and one of them with a wave of his hand said, 'All right, you pooty good boy, you go.' I did not need a second order, and as quickly as possible rode out of their presence, looking back, however, as long as they were in sight, and keeping my rifle handy."

On October 17, 1860, Sir Richard Burton gave this account of the Sand Springs Station:

"At last at 2:30 a.m. thoroughly "knocked up" we sighted a roofless shed, found a haystack, and reckless of supper or of stamping horses, fell asleep upon the sand.

Sand Springs "Sand Springs deserved its name. Like the Brazas de San Diego and other mauraises terren near the Rio Grande, the land is cumbered here and there with drifted ridges of the finest sand, sometimes 200 feet high and shifting before every gale. Behind the house stood a mound shaped like the contents of an hour-glass, drifted up by the stormy S.E. gale in esplande shape and falling steep to northward or against the wind. The water near this vile hole was thick and stale with sulphury salts; it blistered the hands. The station house was no unfit object on such a scene, roofless and chairless, filthy and squalid, with a smoky fire in one corner, impure floor, the walls open to every wind, and the interior full of dust. Hibernia, herself, never produces aught more characteristic. Of the employees, all loitered and sauntered about desoeuvre's as cretins except one, who lay on the ground crippled and apparently dying by the fall of a horse upon his breast bone."

The striking sand dune known as Sand Mountain is highly visible from a distance. The mountin of clean, white sand is a single dune 500 feet high and one and a half miles long surrounded by lesser dunes. The mountin is formed as sand blown by the prevailing southwest wind is dropped at the end of the valley, where the terrain forces the wind upwward. The dunes begain forming about 4000 years ago after the vast, ancient Lake Lahonton receded from the valleys of the Truckee, Carson and Walker Rivers.

Lizards, such as the Collard Lizard, are one of the most numerous of reptiles in the desert, and probably bored Pony Express Station Keepers with some degree of entertainment: the thrill of the hunt...the elation of capture...all though the reptiles most likely took a toll of fingers, since almost all lizards will bite if not handled carefully.

Source: Mason, The Pony Express in Nevada, 1976.

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