Sunday, September 9, 2012

Where is Nowhere?

September 5

I've known for sometime the middle of nowhere had to be close. The lack of towns, water, and life of any kind were powerful clues. The monotonous repetition of valley, mountain pass, valley, mountain pass, valley.....has dulled and emptied my mind to the point where I have entered a Zen-like state. There is an awful lot of one thing here: nothing (and sagebrush).
The question still remains, however: where exactly is the middle of nowhere? A metaphysical inquiry, no doubt, but worth a discussion, especially since all I would talk about otherwise is nothing.
My original for the center of nothing was Austin. One hundred and ten miles from Fallon to the west and seventy miles from Eureka to the east. A good candidate, but a town, even one as tiny as Austin (population of under three hundred), is something and you need a larger amount of nothing to be nowhere.
The middle should be further east as well. My original calculations did not take into account the nowhere chops of Utah 21, which was even more desolate than U.S. 50. The simplest solution would be to find the precise coordinates of the spot between Milford, Utah, the place where somewhere ended and Fallon, Nevada, where it shall theoretically begin once more. If you do the math you will no doubt conclude where I walked today, from mile WP 46 to WP 23, is the official middle of nowhere.
Over one hundred years ago this area was somewhere. Almost over night nothing became something, the result of what has been described as a "silver stampede." In 1866 ten thousand people flooded Treasure Hill in White Pine County, creating four communities, the largest of which, Hamilton, immediately became the county seat.
The excitement was extremely short-lived, Hamilton unprepared for such a grand role. Less than a decade later the ore supply had been bled dry. The wham, bam, thank you ma'am strike concluded in 1873 when a fire burned down the Hamilton courthouse. By 1875, less than a decade after foundation, the town was disincorporated.
If the United States had a Ghost Town Hall-of-Fame, Nevada would be the logical location from what I have seen so far. Hamilton would be a shoo-in for membership.

23 miles/3480 total miles

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