Monday, October 21, 2013

Getting lost in Mouse's Tank

A Paiute renegade named Little Mouse was notorious for looting nearby settlements around the 1890’s and was known to get crazy and violent when he was drunk. Rumor has it that he gunned down a few prospectors and because he was wanted for murder, a posse was rallied to bring him in. He was able to escape his pursuers by climbing around in what is now known as Petroglyph Canyon in the Valley of Fire in Nevada.

Petroglyph Canyon in the Valley of Fire

This canyon is narrow and tricky to navigate, so anyone who was not familiar with the landscape would have no idea where Little Mouse escaped. Legend has it that Little Mouse was able to hide out from his pursuers in that canyon for a long time because he knew where all the rain water collected in cisterns throughout that canyon. This picture is what is now famously known as Mouse’s Tank.

Mouse’s Tank

This tank is about a couple hundred yards back in this narrow canyon and, in my opinion, was not his main source of water since that water looks like it has been stagnant for millennia with all sorts of bacteria growing in it.  Mouse, the outlaw, was caught a few miles from the canyon by a spring, which today is called the Muddy River. The official story is that he was surrounded, refused to give up, and he was shot.

My experience with Mouse’s tank is as follows: When you enter the narrow canyon that leads you to Mouse’s Tank, you immediately notice the ancient petroglyphs carved in the sandstone canyon walls. If you are able to go quietly and alone (which is hard to do with all the tourists) some people say you can still hear the whisper in the canyon wind of what sounds like a man proclaiming his innocence. I was lucky this last visit to catch a ghostly figure of a mountain goat peering down at me from a nearby cliff. Then it disappeared into the landscape as supernaturally as it appeared. If only I had a telephoto lens.


The legendary story of Little Mouse is hard to research since he seems to have been just a local nuisance. If you know any more details about the legend of Mouse’s Tank would you please enlighten me in your comments below?

I love vacationing in the desert. How about you?

1 comment:

  1. I also heard that Mouse was a real ugly dude. Did you know that?