Travels in the American Southwest
Big Smoky Valley
SR376 traverses the Valley north to south
Road factor/Accessability - Two lane paved
~282 miles from Las Vegas

Like the Smoky Mountains in the Appalachians, Big Smoky vistas are tempered with a light haze. A cynic might draw a parallel to air pollution! Populated by the Shoshone, Jedidiah Smith was the first white man to cross the southern end of the Valley in 1827. In 1845, Kit Carson and John Fremont passed by, Fremont's route roughly paralleling SR376. 1859 saw Lt. Simpson map the Central Route across the north end of the Valley. This opened the way for the Pony Express, stagecoach and telegraph lines in the 1860's as well as prompting the discovery of silver in Austin. The name Carver is legendary in Nye County and one of the small communities on SR376 is known as Carver's. Today, the Carver family has extensive cattle and land holdings but they started out as new pioneers in the late 1930's. As you can imagine, a family as closely tied to the land as the Carver family don't take kindly to outside interference. When an old mining road fell into disrepair, Dick Carver wanted to regrade the road with his family's old bulldozer. The National Park Service insisted that an archeological survey would need to be performed before the repairs could proceed. On the Fourth of July in 1994, Dick Carver drove his bulldozer past Park Service Police in an act of civil disobedience, reopening the road between Round Mountain and Jefferson.

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