Reports on trips taken in 2014.
Inscription Canyon (Black Canyon)
Saturday, January 11
By: Mal Roode
Trip Leader Nelson Miller and his group which included Ron and Barb Midlikoski, Nelson Miller, Bob Jacoby, Allan Wicker, Nan Savage and myself met at the Barstow Museum at 8:30 a.m. Barb opened up the museum and made coffee for all. At approximately 9:00 a.m. we headed out.
Our first stop was Rainbow Basin. A little further down the road we saw a U.S.G.S. weather station off to the side of the road and stopped to check that out. The next stop was the petroglyphs at Murphys Well and then Inscription Canyon where we hiked all around the canyon. When we got back to our parked cars Ranger J. Wilcox snuck up on us. He said he was hoping to catch people doing something bad but he told us “you are doing good.” Boy we sure fooled him!
We stopped for lunch at the Birdman Petroglyph and there was a nice Indian Grinding Rock nearby. After lunch we went to the Indian shelter caves, then on to Scouts Cove. There was a nice miner’s dugout’ The Tiffany Company formerly mined fire opals. Here. We continued on to Black Canyon Well and a little bit past that was Black Canyon Stage Stop. Next we had to find the elusive Spiderman petroglyph. None of us had found it before but the GPS coordinates were in Bill Mann’s book. After about 20 minutes using my handheld GPS we finally found it. It was well worth the effort. A little bit further we stopped and saw lots of great petroglyphs and old inscriptions on the sides of Black Canyon.
Many thanks to Nelson Miller for leading this trip and to Bill Mann for writing the book where Nelson found the location for most of these sites. Everyone had a great time and we all headed out through Hinkley and went our separate ways.
Click Read More, below, to see the gallery of photos taken by Allan Wicker
Who Was Jack Longstreet?
Articles written by Emmett Harder and Marian Johns
Longstreet - by Emmett Harder
(article appeared in Newsletter, September 2013)
Andrew Jackson Longstreet was born in 1838 and died July 26, 1928.
(Click Read More, below, to continue reading story)
A Day in the Desert: Encounter on Ghost Mountain
By Vicki Hill
Most of you are familiar with Desert Magazine, published since 1937.
One of their most famous writers was Marshall South. Over the years, he wrote 102 articles and poems for the magazine. His articles, essays and poems were published in many other magazines across the nation.
He wrote with passion about the desert. He felt that one needed to surround oneself with silence, peace, harmony and nature, and he valued freedom and creativity.
He was an artist, as well as writer. He and his wife, Tanya did not want to be slaves to making money. One of his interests was in native people, natural foods, and archaeology. Being a non-conformist, he and his wife decided to build a house in the desert and experiment with living naturally.
They built an adobe house on top of Ghost Mountain, which is now part of Anza Borrego State Park. At the time it was managed by the BLM.
(click Read More, below, to continue reading story)
D.E. Meeting Minutes
By Jay Lawrence
Allan & Ding Wicker’s House
Saturday, March 8, 2014
Attending Emmett and Ruth Harder, Bob Jacoby, Steve Jarvis and Kate Fosselman, Neal and Marian Johns, Ted Kalil, Jay Lawrence, Steve Marschke and Debbie Miller Marschke, Marilyn Martin, Nelson Miller, Terry and Eileen Ogden, Mal Roode, Bobbie Sanchez, Allan and Ding Wicker. Regrets Nan Savage, Dave Given, Jean Roode.
Meeting open Noon. Welcome Eileen Ogden! Terry should bring you more often. General greetings, then a moment to remember Rick Cords.
Minutes Approved as written
(Click Read More, below, to continue reading story)
Part I: Making Myself Feel Better
January 21 - 26, 2104
By: Anne Stoll
I’ll start with jungle-covered ruins from Angkor Wat and environs. The trees are called Silicon Cotton trees and it’s a love-hate relationship. At first they hold the walls up, but eventually, they destroy them utterly. Nevertheless, the otherwise-powerless, “Girl-Boy” ballet-dancing, unmarried current king of Cambodia, Norodom Sihamoni, has forbidden the removal of any trees. What to say about this edict? What is he thinking?
They certainly make good pictures.
These roots are so like living creatures – very creepy at times. Like arrested motion or something – they grow when we’re not looking…..
Stones tumbled by trees, they tell us. Beautiful destruction.
Thank You, Ruth!
There were many people who worked to make this year’s Rondy a success. Most of them were mentioned at our catered dinner Saturday night. However, there was one person that wasn’t recognized and that is Ruth Harder, our chairperson. In addition to her regular duties, this lady did a fantastic job of planning, organizing and taking care of myriad details – which included making arrangements for the catered dinner and a discount for the rooms and camping. I know she made a gazillion phone calls, plus, she and Emmett even made several trips up there on our behalf. Because of Ruth, I believe this year’s Rondy a great success and came off with a minimum of unexpected problems. So, THANK YOU, Ruth for an outstanding event!
Please see the photos, which were contributed by Allan Wicker and Alan Heller ( Click Read more, below)
Rendezvous Trip to Chloride City etc.
Saturday, April 5
Leaders- Mignon Slentz and Bob Jacoby.
Participants were-the Monsens, Jim Watson, The Bergers, the Hellers, the Austins, The Dicks, Mike and Ron, Fredric Raab, the Gilsters, Ted Kahil, the Jaussauds, Debbie and Steve, and Ellen Miller, Mary Hughes and Bob Jacoby rode with me. There were about 13 vehicles lined up ready to head out to Beatty, NV. We connected with 95 and continued on to Beatty to gas up. Apparently there was some concern that I was driving too fast. I do that! We did a quick walk / drive through of Rhyolite since most of the DEers had visited before. My favorite is the Bottle House. The close by cemetery was next. The grave of Panniment Annie is located there. Marion and Neal John’s group was there at the same time so there was some confusion of who went where. We proceeded SW on 374/ Daylight Pass Rd for about 15 miles before we turned off on a dirt road that would lead us to Monarch Canyon.
Some climbed up to a small ledge containing 7 sleeping circles, a grinding stone, mano and a scattering of rusty cans. Glenn Shaw found this place some time ago while camping there. A very short distance away was the parking for the hike down to the Indian mine. There is a steep old mining road that leads to the bottom of the canyon, through some cane, water, and finally to the mill site. The wooden chute has partially collapsed and there is only one stamp for crushing ore. Some hiked up a path to the mine and found tracks and a windless still intact. This small gold mine was worked on and off for about 5 years between 1905 and 1910 though only one shipment of ore ever left the canyon.
After lunch we continued on, bypassing a hike to Keane Springs which was the only reliable source of water for the area, on towards Chloride City. Chloride City is one of Death Valleys earliest towns with silver-lead deposits discovered in 1873. The site took off with a second boom in 1905 with the discovery of gold in nearby Bullfrog. Today there are numerous adits, dumps, a grave, several collapsed buildings, 3 stamp mills, closed off mines and a tin shack. Some of us explored a miner’s dugout while the rest drove to the top of the hill for a look at the outstanding views.We headed back toward 95 and on to Jack Longstreets and “Happy Hour”. Some faster than others I might add. Thank you to all the Desert Explorers who spent the day with us.
by Mignon(Click Read More, below, and you can see the photo gallery)
Rondy 2014 Inbound Trip
Friday, April 4
By Marian Johns
We started off the weekend with a Friday inbound trip. 15 vehicles met at the Arco station in Baker. After filling up our gas tanks, we all headed north up Hwy. 127. Our goal of the day was the Amargosa River, Sperry Wash and China Ranch date farm. About 30 miles north of Baker, we turned off on the access road to Dumont Dunes and Sperry Wash (and the Amargosa River); we followed the BLM trail signs up the river. I believe there was more water this year than in years past, yet it was still very shallow and wasn’t a problem. It seems we bypassed the old site of Sperry without noticing it– at least I didn’t see any remains, but then, the BLM route may have diverted us away from it. There isn’t much to see anyway.
Eventually, we left the river and headed up Sperry Wash where we ran into some challenging rock/boulder clusters that required 4x4. After a lunch break in Sperry Wash, we continued on up to the Talc mines.
It was there that Bob Jaussaud asked if I had ever seen the “Grand Canyon of the Amargosa”. Well, no I hadn’t, so off he went to see if he could find the road to it while the rest of us made our way toward China Ranch. While Bob was still off searching, I noticed a side road over to what looked like a deep canyon. Sure enough we found it! And it was well worth the short side trip – although it is not really an Amargosa River canyon, but rather a canyon that dumps into China Ranch – and eventually the Amargosa some distance away.
China Ranch is now owned by Brian Brown and his wife. (Brian is the brother of Susan Sorrells, owner of the little town of nearby Shoshone.) While visiting this lovely date palm oasis, quite a few Desert Explorers pigged out on date shakes. At this point our inbound trip ended, and folks were turned loose to make their way on up Hwy.127 to the Longstreet Inn and Casino
(click Read More, below, to see the photo gallery)
Rhyolite, Bullfrog, Leadville & Titus Canyon
Saturday, April 5
By Marian Johns
Nine vehicles left the Longstreet casino about 8:00 a.m. and headed for Beatty, Nevada where we topped off our gas tanks. The next stop was the ghost town of Rhyolite. But instead of taking the “regular” route, Craig Baker suggested we take the railroad berm into town – which we did. This way, the first building we encountered was the train station which seems to be one of the better preserved buildings. One of the other well-maintained structures is the bottle house, once the residence of Mr. Kelly who used 30,000 bottles to construct a most unusual home. After exploring Rhyolite on our own for a short time, we continued on a short way to Bullfrog. There’s not much left of this ghost town to see, but we did stop at the cemetery to read some of the headstones of departed souls who rest in peace here.
Next, we drove just a short distance west on Hwy. 374 and took the side road off toward Leadville and Titus Canyon. What magnificent views! Last time I drove this road was about 30 years ago and I had forgotten just how beautiful it is. At the site of Leadville, which is within the boundaries of Death Valley National Park, we took a lunch break while enjoying the view of the remaining buildings. Craig should have been the leader of this trip because he certainly knows a lot more about this area than I do. He pointed out a hundred year old bridge that we drove across, and he also mentioned some petroglyphs right beside the road; we stopped to see these too. The lower part of Titus Canyon is spectacular. It is so narrow that the road is one-way only.
Once we emerged from the canyon, several people opted to hike over to Fall Canyon, while the rest of us returned to Longstreet’s on our own – at our own pace. Neal and I took a few minutes to check out the Death Valley Visitor’s Center which is worth a stop.
(see the photos taken by Marian Johns by clicking Read More, below)
Woods Mountain/Pahrump Area
Saturday, April 5
By Jean & Sunny Hansen
Trip participants: Sunny & Jean Hansen, Glenn Shaw, Dave McFarland, Vicki Hill, Terry & Eileen Ogden, Mal Roode, Christian Duelk, Bob Peltzman, Bill, Barbara and Augie Gossett and Glenn Shaw.
We had great weather for our trip into the Woods Mountain area near Pahrump. To get to our destination required about 8 miles one way of fairly bumpy road, interspersed with some downright difficult sections, which everyone seemed to enjoy. I guess the Desert Explorers are just naturally adventurous.
The first part of the trip was to a scenic canyon with a few petroglyphs and the second part of the trip was to a very interesting and beautiful old ranch house/cabin. Prior to our arrival at the ranch house, we met a group of quad and motorcycle riders who assured us that we definitely could not make it up the remainder of the road to the cabin. Of course, we just took that as a challenge and as it turned out, we had no problems and had a great time.
We were all back in camp in plenty of time for happy hour and the evening’s entertainment.
It was a very nice day with a lot of wonderful people.
(see the photos)
Outbound Trip to Ibex Spring and Saratoga Spring
Sunday, April 6
By Marian Johns
We headed out about 9:00 a.m. Sunday morning in the general direction of home after a fine weekend at Longstreet’s Inn and Casino. South of Shoshone and Ibex Pass we turned off on a fairly easy dirt track west to Ibex Spring and the remains of a mining camp which our Mojave River Valley Museum monitors. Several tall palm trees grace this place. They are supported by the spring which is located up behind one of the buildings and is partially covered. After inspecting what’s left of the buildings and other remnants, we continued on to Saratoga Spring. The track down there is definitely a 4x4 “road” because of a few spots of deep sand. Since it was about noon when we arrived, we ate lunch and then made the short walk to inspect this lovely oasis. It’s surprising to find so much water in such a dry area.
Although we could have gone on to see Sheep Springs and the little cabin at Salt Basin, everyone elected to call it a day an head home – Neal and me included.
China Lake Petroglyphs
Saturday, April 26
By: Danny Siler & Barb Midlikoski
Saturday, April 26 at 9:30 a.m. 18 of us met at the Maturango Museum in Ridgecrest. DE members were Mary and Charles Hughes, Jay and Sylvia Lawrence, Ron Lipare, Barbara Midlikoski, Ellen and Nelson Miller, Danny and Norma Siler, Mignon Slentz, Mike Volmert and several non-DE members. Original time was 6:30 a.m. but 2 days before the trip the Navy rescheduled the trip to 9:30 a.m. No complaints were heard. Since the petroglyphs were on the grounds of the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake we tour on dates and times approved by the military. The Coso Rock Art District contains the largest concentration of prehistoric petroglyphs in North America.
The museum provided three guides for our group of 18. They were knowledgeable and experienced volunteers.
First order of the morning was watching a 10-minute slide show as the introduction to our trip.
We had submitted our names and identification two month’s in advance to obtain security clearance. At the naval base entrance our ID was checked off the list and all vehicles were closely searched for contraband (none found).
We would be driving to the Coso Mountain Range.
In a short time our 7 vehicle caravan was off and running. The first 40 miles was a paved road through the desert and we had a printed brochure which would point out various interesting sights along the way. Next was 6 miles of unpaved road to the canyon. The parking lot had welcoming toilets. Little Petroglyph Canyon is officially named on the maps as Renegade Canyon. Our hike dropped into it about 20 feet deep. At times it was a little deeper and usually about 50 - 75 feet wide. The canyon is broken ancient lava flow, hence all the rocks and boulders. We traveled on foot a distance of about 2 miles.
There are petroglyphs everywhere in this canyon; thousand of them! Almost every rock has these ancient carvings (peckings). Some rocks have up to 5 or 10 or more on each.
The majority of the designs are animals and humans. Our guides explained to us how to differentiate bighorn sheep from deer, dogs, coyote, mountain lions and birds.
Our guides explained to us that the petroglyphs are older than the introduction of horses and we would not be seeing any of those. Our guides explained some of the human forms are shaped like shamans while some are anthropomorphic figures and others just plainly look like aliens from another planet!
Some etchings look like bookkeeping records or board games and some objects are obvious like a bow and arrow or atlatl spears.
Some are impossible to understand and you are allowed to make up a description. For example, I saw something that looked like a TV set with rabbit ears. Other times I thought I was seeing jelly fish or octopus. Another design reminded me of a 12 candle menorah.
Along the way we saw small brass survey markers on the ground. Apparently Cal-State Fresno has made a complete survey of the rock art in the canyon and also conducts archaeological studies with the students.
One section of the canyon narrowed into a “slot” canyon. We each took a turn honing our canyoneering skills squeezing down and through the tight spaces, dryfalls, and some
After about three hours on foot we returned to our cars, made a group photo, and we were back on the road. Our guides told us this was also an area with wild horses. Sure enough, at one point we slowed down our vehicles and saw three wild horses in the distance.
We exited the naval base without incident and continued to the museum to visit the gift shop and say our good-byes to each other.
It was a safe day for everyone and a good time was had by all. The weather was wonderful – 65 degrees, blue skies with white clouds, and no wind!
For info on future petroglyph tours go to www.maturango.org.
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Preserve
Sunday, April 6
By Glenn Shaw
On Sunday morning at 9 a.m. the group assembled in front of Longstreet’s to begin our Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge tour. Our first stop was at the Fish and Wildlife visitor center at Crystal Springs. The docent volunteer gave us a short talk on the history and the plants and animals of the Wildlife Refuge. She explained that there are 15 major springs discharging collectively over 15,000 gallons of water per minute. The water from an underground lake is forced to the surface by an underground fault barrier. The meadow is home to many rare and endangered species, some are found nowhere else in the world. Happily living in some of the riparian areas are some exotic fish species that escaped from an illegal commercial fish aquarium that was quickly abandoned when it was discovered by officials in the 1960’s. These fish have adapted so well to their environment that efforts to eliminate them have failed. After following the interpretive boardwalk around the spring area we loaded up and drove around Crystal Lake formed by the springs and then headed for our next destination at Point of Rocks Spring and boardwalk. This is the more scenic and interesting of the two. At Point of Rock Spring you can get a close-up view of the endemic Pup fish living in this spring and there is heavier vegetation for wildlife habitat including big horn sheep.
(click Read More, below, to continue & see photos)