El Paso Mountains East Trip Report
Sunday, April 8, 2018
By Nelson Miller with photos by Jim Watson and Nelson Miller
We left the Desert Empire Fairgrounds on Sunday with six vehicles, including Nelson & Ellen Miller, David & Lois Hess, Jim Watson & Linda Sievers, Ron & Barbara Midlikoski, Dave Burdick and Larry Boreo. Our first stop was at a little grass shack, which unfortunately was posted "No Trespassing." In this case the owner really meant it, because he came roaring up on his quad after we had already left and politely told us to get off his property.
From there we proceeded on to a village site, probably from the Kawaiisu Tribe, although it may have also been occupied by Coso. It is thought the site may have been occupied at different times by the two tribes over the last two thousand years. We saw a fair number of petroglyphs and some possible check dams in the wash, although did not go to the upper area where there are possible rock alignments. As we continued toward Sheep Springs, the road was rougher than I remembered from five years ago when I was last there. We also passed by a newly renovated guzzler for quail.
We stopped at Sheep Springs for lunch. There was a little water in the excavated well. We also observed more petroglyphs and two large, twenty-foot and sixty-foot rock circles, which may have had ceremonial use. Larry Boreo left us at this point, having torn off the running boards on both sides of his truck. I told him it got even rougher from this point. Unfortunately, what I remembered from this stretch of Mesquite Canyon Road still held and it was very rocky. It was made worse, when once again I took a wrong turn and lead us down Goler Gulch. David Hess determined on his tablet GPS that we were heading down Goler Gulch, not the Canyon I intended. So, we backtracked, but not before going over a particularly difficult little ledge. Two other groups had to wait for us while we cleared this ledge. One of the groups consisted of Jeeps with a guy that was teaching them how to drive off-road. Earlier, we had passed them where he had a Jeep stuck on a steep bank on the side of a wash, demonstrating to them how to get out of such situations.
On the way out we passed the remains of Gerbracht Camp and Frenchie's Camp. All that remains at these sites are some slabs and part of a chimney. Nelson briefly related the story of Della Gerbracht who used to shoot at anyone she thought was trespassing near her claims. By the time we reached the Redrock-Randsburg Road, it was getting late, so we headed for home, bypassing stops to look at the townsite of Garlock and the former mill site there. ~ Nelson