Quartz particles, which the glaciers had ground away from the hard Sierra granite to the west, eventually washed down the Walker River and deposited in the river's delta. As the wind blew across the delta this sand was picked up and carried high into the air. More than thirty miles to the northeast, the wind was slowed by a large basin on the southwest flank of the Stillwater Range. With its force broken by the mountain, the wind's burden of sand would fall into this natural trap.
Singing Sand Dune
Sand Mountain is a Singing Sand Dune, about 600 feet high, in a corner between two mountain ranges. When you slide down the mountain, it moans loudly. Singing Sand is very rare. It has to do with the shape of the grains of sand and the way they rub each other. Even on a windy day, if you are close enough you can hear it moaning.
Today I'm sharing two treasures, The Samuel Justus Trail and glimpses of River Ridge Farm along the way.
Connecting Oil City and Franklin, the Samuel Justus Trail is a 6-mile segment of a 30-mile trail that follows the former Allegheny Valley Railroad.
In days gone by, the RG and I have ridden this trail several times.
On one of those outings we were sitting on a bench facing the River Ridge Farm when an older gentleman came riding along on his older model Schwinn and stopped to chat.
He was a local and shared his story of the farm during which he pointed out that at the time of the railroad barons and oil boom in this area, a U.S. President would take this side track in his private rail car to visit River Ridge.
The heart of River Ridge Farm was originally the 760 acre Argeon Farm. It was purchased for $1.00 and other considerations by Joseph C. Sibley on Nov. 15, 1911.
On October 22, 1913, only 6 months after construction began, Sibley moved into his mansion.
All interior and exterior work was completed by Nov. 29, 1913, one day earlier than promised by Ernesto Louis Grandelis (foreman) and his 75 Italian stone masons in only 7 months.
After the death of Mr. Sibley in 1926, the farm continued to be operated by his two daughters until 1946. He had no sons.
In 1946, the Sibley's oldest daughter, put the farm up for sale. Josephine's only daughter, Josephine Haskellattempted to stop the saleclaiming that she had an oral first option to purchase the farm. However, the mother fought the daughter all the way to the Pennsylvania state supreme court to prevent her from purchasing the farm.
The 33 roommansion, 1,038 acres of land and all of theout buildingsweresoldto the Society of Missionaries of Africa, White Fathers, a Catholic missionary organization. The mansion became a seminary, a school for young men preparing for the priesthood. A training program was also established for brothers.
side note: The trail runs along the river bank at the base of a mountain. The first time I saw these, I was ready to abandon the excursion. The RG assured me the bears probably cross the trail to drink from the river and wouldn't get thirsty when the trail was busy. He was right (at least that day :/ ).