The Red Mountain Trip (continue from page 1)
Now with the Papoose webbed nugget in hand I was anxious to get home and begin to track down Don Potts. Once home I started calling Nevada information checking on listings for anyone named Potts in the area where I thought he should be located. It didn’t take long to have his listing and now to make the call. After the third ring a gentleman answered the phone and identified himself as Don Potts. I told him who I was and then asked if he was the Don Potts who owned the Red Mountain mine in the early 1970’s. He said yes! We started to talk and I had lots of questions about the mine. The early owners, who he had leased it to over the years, the amount of turquoise he took out, the largest nuggets found and questions about the high-grade material that came out of the mine. He answered all of my questions and then told me that he still had one pound left of the top grade found at the mine and that he’s had it since 1974! I wasn’t going to waste any time getting a look at this beautiful turquoise and so I set up a time to meet him at his house the following day. As usual now the problems began.
A large, cold storm was moving into the Sierra and no one knew if the summit road would be open very long. My wife said to stay home and meet later but I had lost out to other collectors and dealers too many times by waiting. It was going to take more than a snow storm to keep me from a chance at a pound of the finest Red Mountain turquoise still available.
I had a long drive ahead of me, possibly through bad weather so I was anxious to get on the road. I left Saturday at 8am, stopped to fill my 4 x 4 Toyota pick-up with gas and then to the donut shop. With a bag of donuts and a truck filled with gas I was on my way. I started up Highway 50 headed over the Sierra Nevada mountains. All was clear until I got close to the summit. At about seven thousand feet high the storm was going strong and I lock into four-wheel drive and slowed down.
Finally after getting over the summit and then around Lake Tahoe I headed into the Nevada high-desert hoping the worst was behind me. Driving for a few hours now I new I was getting close. Once I was through ‘Hole-In-The-Wall’ and then ‘The Canyon’ I’d be there. The trip through ‘The Canyon’ was just as beautiful as always.