I grew up in Brookville, a fairly small town in Pennsylvania, about a hundred miles north of Pittsburgh. When I was 22 years old I got itchy feet and decided to travel out west. I ended up staying in Los Angeles, CA where I met my future husband, Emmett. While Emmett was in the Air Force we, with our daughter and two sons, lived in Tennessee and, when Emmett was sent to Japan the kids and I went to Pennsylvania to stay with my parents until he returned.
Emmett had grown up rock-hounding with his father and he had a passion for the deserts and mountains so, soon after we returned to California, we began our camping excursions into Death Valley, Striped Butte Valley and Panamint Valley. While Emmett prospected I enjoyed hiking, finding beautiful, unusual rocks, snapping pictures of the animals, plants and flowers, and sometimes high-grading Emmett’s mines. During these trips I met a host of interesting and wonderful people who also love this country. The rugged, but breathtaking, country grew on me. After almost sixty years of camping and exploring I still go out as often as possible. It is country I never grow tired of visiting.
In 1991, after 22 years of service, I retired as Secretary-Treasurer of our community water company. Shortly afterward I went to ‘temporarily’ help out a friend and her husband in their investment company. I remained there for nine years.
In late 2003 while visiting with Matt and Maggie Jones we decided to start a desert history/adventure newsletter. Thus our publication, the Panamint Breeze was born, the first issue was mailed out in February, 2004 and I had a new vocational interest, helping to preserve the history, past and present, as well as modern day adventures of this wonderful western country.
I can’t remember when we joined the Desert Explorers, but it has been a rewarding few years. It has given us the opportunity to learn of and visit so many places that were new to us, as well as making so many new friends. We do very few camp-out trips now because I now prefer a comfortable (or reasonably comfortable) motel room. On rare occasions I will make an exception.
I hope to meet and become acquainted with many more of you as the year goes by. Wishing you all the happiest of Holidays and hoping all your wishes for the New Year are fulfilled. -Ruth Harder