A Local’s Best Kept Secret

How one company is sharing history’s hidden gems.

It’s a word used with fierce pride and yet no clear definition. When someone says, “I’m a local,” it can mean any number of things. Some have only been in town a few months, yet consider themselves an established resident. Others reminisce about the days of one stoplight and still refer to the No Name as The Alamo. And yes, there are those whose local roots can be traced back to the days of Butch Cassidy and Wild West style shootouts. And that is the local’s grouping Ed Hendershot and Carey and Vahl Mills’ belong in. Vahl is Carey’s dad, and Carey is Ed’s nephew by marriage. But their families go much further back than a recent wedding.

Hendershot and Mills’ ancestors settled along the Wastach Back about 160 years ago. And their family lore is filled with anecdotes about the Pony Express, stories about claim jumpers and Mother Lodes, and, yes, tales that make the plotlines on Gunsmoke and Bonanza look subdued.

“Most people think of their family history and can only go back to their grandparents,” Carey noted. I can add several ‘greats’ in front of the grandparents and trace my family back to the 1850s.”
Carey’s family history was uncovered through digging into historical records from the state and spending hours on genealogy websites. This knowledge later turned into a commercial enterprise when he, his dad and Ed decided to start CEV Mining Adventures. Equal parts historical field trip and landscape safari, CEV Mining Adventures creates custom expeditions that off er everything from sluicing instruction to ghost town tours, and wildlife viewing to geology lessons.

“In learning my family’s history, I really found a new appreciation for the town I was born into and the surrounding landscape. And I wanted to find a way to preserve it, so 200 years from now, the next generation of locals can appreciate it,” Carey stated.

CEV Mining Adventures’ tours reflect Carey’s wishes as much as his heritage. CEV has been granted exclusive commercial access to historical sites that include parts of the Pony Express Trail, Donner Trail and Transcontinental Railroad. The approval was granted by both the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the state of Utah because of the family’s legacy and commitment to

“On the Donner Trail, there are items from that event still out on the trail. Furniture that was dumped to lighten the load. In places, you can still see wagon tracks and hoof prints. This is history and it needs to be preserved. We want to tell the story while conserving the land. So, we take people to places like this and help them relive history, without exploiting it.”

In many ways, a trip down memory lane for Ed, Carey and Vahl, is a trip back in ti me for their guests. And all are equipped with stories from their ancestors that have been passed down since the first generation of locals.

For more information about CEV trips or to book yours, visit: CEVMiningAdventures.com.