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Action Magazine published this as an article in the September 2007
As a regular to Sand Mountain for almost twenty years, I had
driven past the turnoff for the Pony Express station more times than I can
remember. There was always riding to do and never a vehicle without paddle
tires available when I thought about going.
This trip over President's Weekend changed that. It was a
father and son trip, and we used our new Rhino to explore places that I hadn't
been to before.
My son & I out exploring around Sand Mountain in our new Rhino.
The Sand Springs Pony Express Station is about 1/2 mile off of
the main access road to Sand Mountain Recreation Area.
The Rhino is a perfect vehicle to see the dunes at a bit
slower pace, and also get to places near the dunes that you wouldn't think
about taking a sand rail to.
A Little History: At a time before there were
airplanes, telephones, railroads or even a telegraph, the Pony Express carried
the mail 2,000 miles in just 12 days in the summer and 14 days in the winter.
From April 1860 to October 1861, dozens of brave young riders carried the U.S.
mail by horseback 1,800 miles between Sacramento, Calif. and St. Joseph,
Missouri. Today, Highway 50 roughly parallels the route the riders took across
the wild and untamed Nevada landscape.
The station was built in March of 1860 and was used by
the Pony Express until November 1861. When the transcontinental telegraph was
completed on October 24, 1861, messages could be sent from coast to coast in
just minutes. The Pony was doomed and it died only twenty-seven days later.
The telegraph and the Overland Stage Company continued to use the station
throughout the 1860's. Other freight companies like Well Fargo
occasionally used the building up until about 1900.
Sir Richard Burton, British scholar and explorer, visited Sand Springs
Station on October 17, 1860, and described it in his diary this way:
"The water near this vile hole was thick and stale with sulphury
salts; it blistered even the hands. The station house was no unfit object in
such a scene, roofless and chairless, filthy and squalid, with a smoky fire in
one corner, and a table in the center of an impure floor, the walls open to
every wind and the interior full of dust."
Travelers found a reliable source of water at Sand Springs,
but its poor quality often poisoned animals and probably made people ill.
Abandoned and forgotten, the station was almost completely
buried by drift sand. It was rediscovered in 1975 and archeologists from UNR
excavated the site and removed the artifacts. A historically accurate
stabilization of the site was completed in 1997.
By 1981, the station was listed on the National Register of
Please note: The Sand Springs Desert Study Area, which
includes the Sand Springs Pony Express Station is closed to OHVs. You can
drive your OHVs on the access road to reach the parking area, but do not leave