Trip Reports (453)

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Reports on trips taken in 2013.

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Reports on trips taken in 2014.

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We apologize, many wonderful trips were taken in 2006, but no trip reports were submitted for posting to the website.

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Reports on trips taken in 2016.

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Sunday, 09 April 2017 21:06

Desert Explorers at Large

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Desert Explorers at Large

Bill & Julie Smith explored the  Anza-Borrego Desert, Slab City and the Salton Sea in early January. Here  are a few photos of the highlights.

Tuesday, 24 January 2017 00:20

Prospector Alan Heller at Pala

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Prospector Alan Heller at Pala

Desert Explorer Alan Heller tried his hand at one of the Pala gem sites where on a good day you can find tourmalines, kunzites, morganites and according to their website at “Screen the dump piles of material we take out of our mine and find the gems we’ve missed—and we miss a lot! You get to keep everything you find at no extra charge; the standard dig fee allows you to keep all you find and you can take home one 5-gallon bucket of rocks that you have screened and washed.”

Looks like Alan had some big fun!

The Annual Desert Explorers Christmas party occured on December 17, 2016 at the home of Allan and Ding Wicker.  Please click "Read More" to see all the photos that were taken by Allan Wicker and Jerry Dupree.

North New York Peak via Keystone Canyon

12-10-16 • Ken Eltrich

I have wanted to attempt this hike for some time but it never seemed to work out until now. With the weather cooling down I decided I would give it a go. I couldn’t get anyone else to make the trip with me so I figured I would see how far I could make it. I was pretty sure I could make the saddle above the mine then decide if I wanted to go on. I spent the night with family in Boulder City and got an early start to the trail head. I drove up past the group camping area to where the road pretty much stops at the wash then it continues up to the left. The wilderness boundary is in the area but I never spotted any signs indicating where it starts. There is a nice camp spot there for one or two vehicles and I had the option of staying the night if I needed to. Starting up the trail/wash the road comes and goes, it’s washed out in some areas then ok in others. As I started walking I’m thinking this is great not too hard. We’ll all that changed once I got to the end of the road at the mine! Small patches of snow in the shady areas the rest of the way up. It was pretty steep as I worked my way to the saddle. I just took my time and enjoyed the cool morning. I rested at the saddle and enjoyed the great views from there. If I remember correctly my GPSR showed .45 to the peak from the saddle. I thought that’s not bad I can do it. The problem was that was a straight line as the crow flies. It would take me another two hours to reach the summit from the saddle. Cold and windy at the top I took some pics and found some shelter from the wind behind a rock outcropping. The views are amazing from there. The South peak looked like a class 3 or better and there was no way I could get to the top of it so I took some pictures and enjoyed the views from the top. Pictures do not do this peak justice you just have to go there and experience them first hand. Keystone Canyon is worth several trips to explore and I will be back there are a lot more interesting sites to see.                         ~ Ken

(click Read more to see the photos)

Thursday, 19 January 2017 22:30

2016 - Trip Report - West Ord Mountains

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West Ord Mountains

November 5, 2016 • By Nelson Miller

We had just three vehicles and five people for this trip: Nelson Miller, Dave Mott, Janet and Peter Austin, and a new member, Steve Richards. Thanks to Janet Austin for being our trip photographer! First stop was the remains of a miner’s cabin. Janet Austin observed what appeared to be a hand-dug well next to the cabin. Once again, I wish people would put dates whenever they pour concrete. LOL! Several hundred feet up the hill was the mine, which appeared that it might go all the way through the
   top of the hill, about 250 feet in length. However, we were only able to go in about sixty feet before we came to a cross tunnel that had a drop-off of six feet or so, therefore we turned back to the entrance.

We continued on to Quill Springs, where we found a large cottonwood, but no visible water. There was various evidence of occupation, here, including petroglyphs, hunting blinds, remains of a stone miner’s cabin, and some kind of concrete basin. We enjoyed lunch in the shade of the cottonwood.

Next stop was Indian circles and an Indian trail above Tyler Dry Lake. These circles are a bit unusual since they sit in a small depression along the ridge, rather than sitting on a fan having a broad view, as is more typical. Along the way, we picked up a guy who was exploring by foot after deciding his Subaru might not make it.

  On the way to our next destination, we explored a small hidden valley and dry lake. Passing on we arrived at tanks and a corral that apparently had been constructed by Shield Ranch, since their name was welded into one of the tanks. They called it Saddle Spring. This seems an appropriate name since this sits in a small saddle in the hills, however the topo map shows Joker Spring about 400 feet up the hill. There was running water at these tanks.

We checked a small mine, named Anita Mine, see below, which had some pretty colored rocks, but not a lot else to see there. Final stop was Granite Well, a series of several hand dug wells, not too far east of Highway 247. We attempted to explore Goat Spring and another cabin and tank, but were blocked by a locked gate and lengthy fence line. So, we ended the day and headed for home.

                                    ~ Nelson Miller

Photos by Janet Austin & Christopher Cook (Click Read more to see them)

Thursday, 19 January 2017 07:50

Desert Explorers in the Gobi Desert

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Desert Explorers in the Gobi Desert

by Nancy Maclean

This year, Desert Explorers returned to the Gobi Desert, as Ron Ross and I travelled there with Overseas Adventure Travel to add one more Desert visit to our “bucket list.”

As we flew from Mongolia’s capital, Ulaan Baataar to Dalanzadgad (DZ) in the Gobi Desert in our little Hunnu Air propjet, the landscape looked like we were flying over the Arizona or Nevada desert. It is a desolate area with no roads and no signs of civilized life for a long time; it gives you a feeling of just how big this desert area is. As we got closer to our destination, I began to see pockets of water…what looks like muddy lakes. And as we start the descent, we see some greenery in the valleys, potentially some creeks or ground water for plants to survive on.

We collect our luggage and exit the tiny airport where our nice four-wheel-drive vans are waiting for our group. We are all excited to see what kind of adventure awaits us here. Down on the ground, the place looks like the foothills of Wheeler peak in Nevada: fairly high mountains with broad flat valleys. DZ is a town of 15,000 inhabitants with traditional ger tent districts. Many families have a small brick home and a traditional ger tent right next to it.                   

Shortly, we are out of town and turn off on a bouncy two-track dirt road. In our thoughts are 40 miles of this to our camp!!! Soon we stop at a guest ger camp for lunch. It is a nice lodge with beautifully carved bar and crystal chandelier and sconces on the walls.

(click Read more for the rest of the story and photos)

Wednesday, 18 January 2017 23:44

2016 - Thanksgiving on the Desert

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Thanksgiving on the Desert

by Bob Jaussaud

Sure hope that you all had as wonder.ful a 2016 Thanksgiving as we did.

Following kind of a tradition, a small group of Desert Explorers gathered again on the East Mojave for Thanksgiving. Our hosts were Leslie and Chris Ervin and Leslie’s folks, Shirley and Kib Roby. They filled us with turkey, ham and everything else one could expect. How did we get so lucky?

There were 15 of us around the festive table including Neal and Marian Johns, Mignon Slentz with her son, Joaquin, Debbie and Steve Marschke, Glenn Shaw, Cheryl and Rich Dodsen, plus Bob and Sue Jaussaud. As usual, we ate too much turkey and too many pies. Everything was wonderful.

Two days of field trips and left overs followed. Friday, we worked our way over a rough road to the Keystone Mine. Believe it or not, Neal and Marian Johns had never been there before. They almost didn’t make it. Part way there, Sue saw smoke coming out of their camper! Steve’s quick action is the only thing that saved their rig. Too bad, Neal. The new camper will have to wait.

Saturday was our day to explore the Hackberry area and we hiked into a little known spring and old mining area. Then we headed to some abandoned claims. Steve showed us an old drilling rig he and Deb had discovered. We continued exploring until the sun went down and we, sadly, had to call it quits.                                                                                ~ Joso


– Fire! – Fire! – Fire! –

This past Thanksgiving, we and several other Desert Explorers joined Chris & Leslie Ervin (Archivist of the Library at Goffs) for a turkey feast at Goffs. Then Friday, Steve and Debbie led us on a trip to the Keystone Mine in the New York Mountains. About a half hour after we left Goffs, Bob and Sue Jaussaud, who were the sweep right behind us, noticed smoke coming out of the camper and via the CB said we were on fire. We immediately stopped and sure enough - smoke was pouring out of the back of the camper. It could have been so much worse if we, rather than Bob and Sue, had been tail end; we wouldn’t have discovered the problem until it was too late.

While I fumbled around, quick-thinking Steve got his fire extinguisher and put out the fire inside the camper. Thank you, Steve! Damage was a hole in the canvas over the stove burner (some idiot left it on when he put the top down). All four of our blankets that were stashed under the table were burned and the table itself was scorched. Two of our four cushions were partially melted and the big catch-all box on the floor and part of its contents were ruined.

After all of the excitement we gathered our senses and decided we might as well continue on. Back on the road again, we drove over a “good” (DE term) road to the mine and found lots of new lumber that Dave Nichols, the Mojave Preserve’s Archaeologist, has hauled in for further rehab of the cabin and loading dock.

After returning to Goffs that evening, we all pigged out on left-overs and then, since we no longer had a usable camper that we could sleep in, we drove on home that night.

Thanks again, Steve.     ~ Neal 

(click Read More to see the photos)

Wednesday, 18 January 2017 23:31

2016 - Trip Report - Pinkham Canyon

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Pinkham Canyon Trip Report

November 11-12 • By Jerry Dupree

We had a great trip beginning with meeting at “The Rock Camp” about three miles from the Hayfield off ramp of I-10, east of Chiriaco Summit. The trip was led by Jerry and Dolly Dupree and attended by Mignon Slentz, her son Joaquin, and Greg, a high school classmate of hers. Greg camped out but did not accompany us on the trip. Mal Roode was with us, and we were met at the Cottonwood entrance road to Joshua Tree National Park by Pete and Janet Austin, who “camped” in a hotel in Indio. Sadly, Lindsey had to change her plans because of a family emergency
    and was not able to be with us. We had good cell phone reception, which allowed us to make connections at the right time without being rushed and no one was late.

Due to the three day weekend we established and occupied the campsite early Thursday. We had some rude neighbors near us who were speeding around our camp with ATVs and dirt bikes, as well as firing guns at night.

(click Read more for the rest of the story and photos)

Wednesday, 18 January 2017 22:10

A Good Day on the Desert

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A Good Day on the Desert

by Bob Jaussaud

There are many ways to explore the desert and one way that can be very rewarding is exploring on Google Earth. When we find something of interest, we figure out how to get there and figure out a time to go. Such was the case last weekend when Ron Lipari, Vicki Hill, Mignon Slentz, Cindy Lane and Mike Vollmert came to visit. I had spotted a hidden dry lake bed on the side of Flat Top Mountain that needed to be checked out. So we headed out for an adventure. Our first find was a habitation cave with two old bed frames in it, probably from the 1930’s. Further along, we crossed an old road and decided to hike it a ways. To our happy surprise, we found several old cars. Speculating why they were there, we discovered they were on an old road to the Ibex Mine.

So, the next thing to do after returning home is to see if we can find anything out about our finds. It turns out the Ibex Mine was a rich gold deposit that was purchased by P. K. Klinefelter in 1892. In a Los Angeles Herald Newspaper from 1892, it is described as a “veritable bonanza” only eleven miles from Needles. The ore that was being removed was described in the article as causing “the eye to twinkle, the breath to come faster and the hand to tremble.” The article closed by saying, “talk about your lost Pegleg, your Breyfogle or your Comstock, what are they to the Ibex? The outlook for Needles is truly delightful.”

By the way, the dry lake bed on the side of Flat Top turned out to be a good hike too. We were not the first ones there, though. Someone had aligned some of the rocks on the lake bed to read “JN. 3:16”. It was sobering to hear Ron Lipari recite the bible verse. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

Back in the cars, we discovered an old road that led all the way around Flat Top Mountain. We came to familiar territory when we bounced into the Flat Top Spring area. It was a good day on the desert.             ~ Joso

(click Read more to see more photos)

Wednesday, 11 January 2017 23:14

2016 - Grand Canyon Overlook, Version 2.0

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Grand Canyon Overlook, Version 2.0

by Debbie Miller-Marschke

Steve and I decided to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary by giving ourselves an adventure. We decided to venture into the Northern Arizona backcountry.

First on the list- the north rim of the Grand Canyon overook “Tuweep” aka Toroweep. I had been there more than 20 years ago and Steve needed to see it. One of the things I discovered while planning the trip is that you now are required to obtain a backcountry permit to be in this area. This was done easily on line, which was also an opportunity to reserve one of the 10 campsites at Tuweep. We scoffed at the printed materials distributed to us by the National Park warning that the 70 mile dirt road was a tire muncher. It indicated that 25% of the vehicles that visited experienced a flat tire. It read, “Bring tire plugs and a portable air compressor to repair flat tires. Ensure you have enough fuel, full size spare tire, jack/lift, and owner’s manual. Tow service costs $1,000–2,000 and assistance is not guaranteed. “ We ended up patching one of our Jeep CJ rear tire once on this road (by the third time patching the same tire a few days later, we just put on the spare). Ok, ok, the warning was pretty accurate! We reached the amazing overview of the Grand Canyon at dusk.

(click Read more for rest of the story and the photos)

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