Monday, 7 April 2008

Sand Mountain and the Le Beau grave

Travelling along Highway 50, you pass Sand Mountain. When I first heard of this place, I thought it was a large mountain surrounded by sand. The reality is that yes, it is surrounded by sand. However the mountain itself consists of a series of rather large sand dunes, which have been named Sand Mountain. Sort of obvious, once I saw it!!!

Sand Mountain has been meandering across the Nevada desert for the last 4000 or so years. It is also the only 'singing' or 'booming' dune in the area. Apparently if you slide down the slip face, the friction causes a booming sound as the sand slides under you. It's very popular with dune buggy and ATV riders. There is often a small city of motor homes, etc, clustered around the base. They can be seen if you click on the photo to enlarge it.

Another bit of Nevada history on Highway 50. In 1865, the Le Beau family were crossing the desert in a group of wagons. Unfortunately the three little Le Beau girls, 9 yr old Jennie, 6 yr old Emma, 3 yr old Emma and a 3 yr old boy, Wilson Turner all became sick with diphtheria and died within 3 days of each other. the children were all buried together, at the foot of Sand Mountain. In 1940, the grave and the children's remains, were washed away during a cloudburst. Two men found the skeletons of Jennie and Louise, a year later, on the salt flats. They reburied the children's bodies and added a new cross. The bodies of Emma and Wilson were never found.

There is some debate as to whether the bodies were those of Jennie and Louise. What ever the true story is though, all 4 children are remembered at this site. In a sense, it is a memorial to all those brave souls who crossed these barren wastes to settle Nevada.

People visit the grave and leave flowers, stuffed toys and money. Despite the grave's isolation, it has never been vandalised or desecrated. Gives you some hope for the future of humanity!!


No comments: