Trip Reports (415)

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Reports on trips taken in 2013.

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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, 16 August 2015 11:36

2015 - Trip Photos Tejon Ranch #2

Written by

Tejon Ranch Return trip

lead by Bob Jacoby on June 20 , 2015

Please take a look at the photos taken by Jerry DuPree (click Read More)

Sunday, 16 August 2015 11:15

2015 - Trip Report - North to Alaska

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North to Alaska

June 21 - 26, 2015

by Homer Meek
Andrea had a horse show to judge in Palmer, AK so she set up this trip for the two of us. Flew to Anchorage, Fairbanks, then to Deadhorse, on Prudhoe Bay, with a side flight to Barrow, AK. I had hoped to visit the memorial to Will Rogers and Wiley Post at Barrow, but it was too far from the airport. I had, as a child, spoken to Rogers in the year before his 1935 death.

The return trip from the Arctic Ocean was by van, with most of the gravel road within sight of the pipeline, then an overnight stop in Coldfoot, AK.

I had thought the pipeline was as straight as possible, but it has lots of curves to allow for expansion. At each support, the pipe is free to move side to side on teflon bearings, and the curves allow that.

 I left LAX at 7pm, and we flew into darkness, then on the NW course to Anchorage, the sun rose again in the west. Of course, at Deadhorse it was all sun all the time. A great, fun trip.

Thursday, 13 August 2015 22:50

2015 - Member Doings Report - Zimbabwe

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April 24 - May 6, 2015


by Anne & George Stoll

This was our third trip in as many years to this amazing country. In a short ten days we saw and learned so much, and although the long hours on an airplane seem to get harder with each trip, we came home invigorated and excited by what we discovered – so much so that I quickly became involved in an international effort to get the Zimbabweans some help with protection of their archaeological sites. This help is urgently needed – the country has been ravaged by the years of fighting and political upheaval. Though it’s calm there currently, their archaeological sites have been sadly neglected and some rock art sites have been damaged and vandalized. Trying to help with this has meant lots of email and assorted consultations – and while we still want to be supportive, I’m now trying to back away from writing proposals and the like in order to focus on what we saw and more upcoming travel. So before I forget how wonderful Zimbabwe was, let me share just a bit of it with you. We were accompanied by our two Shona friends and guides, brothers Willard and Farai Nyambiya (pictured with George below). We traveled east from Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, into the countryside and for days never saw a white face. People everywhere were friendly and polite and many speak English which is taught in school from an early age. The U.S. dollar is the official currency in Zimbabwe, and our crisp greenbacks were much appreciated. In the countryside, food is quite cheap and fresh and as this was harvest season, people with extra to sell sat along the highway with heaping bowls and buckets of fruits and veggies for sale. We stayed in two decent motels with good plumbing for $60 a night each and were happy for the rooms, as we needed electricity to recharge camera batteries. The whole country lost power for a day while we were there. It apparently happens a lot. These people (below) are harvesting peanuts – pulling them off the green plant and letting them dry in the sun. The round house in the back is the kitchen (above) with interior walls plastered with dung, water in buckets and highly polished floor. The cooking hearth was in the floor just out of sight. People used to grow a lot of tobacco but the old brick drying barns are not much used now. We drank a lot of mahewu – hard to describe the taste but it’s delicious and very nutritious. It’s a thick liquid made from slightly fermented “mealie pap” (corn meal) and was often our lunch while on the road.

Intaglios, Petroglyphs and Coolgardie Mining District

Saturday, June 6

Leader: Nelson Miller

Once again Pat Schoffstall generously opened the Mojave River Valley Museum in Barstow for us as we gathered for our trip on June 6. Ten of us set off, including, Daniel Dick and Bobbie Sanchez, Fredrick Raab, Richard and Jo Pope, Peter and Janet Austin, Mal Roode, and Bernard Masson, who joined us from Meuse, France. Apparently Bernard overheard Allan Wicker and Janet Austin discussing our trips when Janet was conducting a tour at the Homestead Museum in the City of Industry, and was very interested. Janet invited him along. Mal Roode agreed to be sweep and as usual did an excellent job.

 We took Highway 58 to Hinkley  Road and north on Hinkley Road toward Opal Mountain. The saga told in the film Erin Brockovich regarding the contamination of the local aquifer continues and Hinkley is increasingly abandoned. The elementary school closed last year and the market and gas station closed this Spring. There are fewer and fewer people living in Hinkley, such that is almost deserted.

We first stopped at Opal Mountain Spring which was as constructed like a guzzler for small animals, but was bone dry. We also took a look at one of the over 2800 automated environmental monitoring stations in the western United States. You can download the daily, hourly data from these stations at

We moved on to take a look at another one of those mysterious sites described by Bill Mann, the Opal Mountain Circles. We searched for the small triangle he described, but instead found another circle, see photos. As Bill Mann indicates, these are different from “sleeping circles, somewhat larger and enclosed with rocks.

From these circles, we proceeded to Coyote Gulch, another site described by Bill Mann, with a number of very nice petroglyph panels as well as some historical initials from later periods. Coyote Gulch is on the far eastern edge of the Black Mountain area, where over 10,000 petroglyphs have been recorded.

Next stop was the main historical Coolgardie Mining Camp. The Coolgardie District was spread over several square miles. The miners primarily used dry-washing techniques to mine placer gold in this area with the primary activity from 1900 to 1910, however activity continues to this day and we saw a number of people dry washing claims while we drove through this area. Several buildings remain, which appear to date perhaps from the 1950’s. Around Coolgardie Camp are a large number of narrow, vertical shafts going down 75 to 100 feet, in most cases uncovered, or covered with plywood.

From Coolgardie Camp we headed for another Bill Mann site, which has a “Spanish-style double arrastra”. I suspect this dates from the Coolgardie era, but unfortunately it was filled with trash. I have seen a similar, although larger, double arrastra near Kane Springs in the Roman Mountains, south of Newberry Springs.

(click Read More for the story and photos)

Thursday, 11 June 2015 23:34

2015 - Ryan Camp Trip report #2

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Ryan Camp Trip

May 19/20, 2015

Leaders- Emmett & Ruth Harder

We were excited to be going to the Ryan Camp. It was a very large and well preserved facility that had been the paramount mine for the US Borax Company where for years they had mined Colemanite, a Borax ore. After they developed other mines they converted the facility into a tourist Mecca, which lasted for a short few years. After that was discontinued they still maintained the large camp with resident caretakers.  The Rio Tinto Corporation donated the property to the Death Valley Conservancy (This was finalized in April, 2013). The restoration and preservation of Ryan Camp is made possible by generous donations from Rio Tinto and U.S. Borax.

We had been invited as a small group to tour the Camp, guided by the current restorers and caretakers, Scott Smith and his wife, Dr. Jessica Smith RPA, who is Director of Archeology Ryan Operations.

(Click Read More for story and photos)

Tuesday, 09 June 2015 23:35

2015 - Trip Report Ryan Camp Trip

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Leaders: Emmett & Ruth Harder

May 19 & 20, 2015

by Steve Jarvis

This trip was amazing! Touring the camp was like entering a time capsule. Over the years since it became a ghost camp, very little vandalism or destruction had taken place due to constant protection by various caretakers. Most of the original Pacific Coast Borax Company buildings and much of the contents is still there, giving us the feeling that we were walking back in time. We didn’t know what to expect before we got there, but thanks to the efforts of Emmett and Ruth Harder, our guide Scott Smith and his anthropologist wife, Dr. Jessica Smith, our visit was truly memorable. Scott is doing a meticulous job of restoring the buildings and points of interest while Dr. Jessica is doing a detailed site survey and the historical research. Together they are working to get Ryan Camp recognized as a National Historic Site. I have no doubt they will be successful.  

Tuesday, 09 June 2015 22:53

2015 - Trip Report Pre & Post Ryan

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by Bob and Sue Jaussaud

May16 - 22, 2015


We used the  Mohave River Valley Museum's barbecue on May 16 as the kickoff for our PrePost Ryan adventure.  It appeared that everyone at the barbecue had a wonderful time and enjoyed some tasty eats.  I know we did.  Thanks to all the museum folks for putting this event on.

Saturday afternoon, with good feelings and very full stomachs, our little group headed north to start the Pre part of our Ryan adventure.  Since the weather was unseasonably cool, we decided to stay at lower elevations.  Saturday night we camped by a small stream in the Sierra foothills south of Olancha.  Nelson and Ellen fixed a very savory salad for Mignon, Sue and I.

(click Read More for Story and photos)

Tuesday, 09 June 2015 22:43

2015 - Trip Report - Tejon Ranch Trip

Written by

Leader: Bob Jacoby

May 2, 2015

Over the years the Desert Explorers have had great trips to interesting places all over California and the entire Southwest.  On every one of these trips you could be sure that one or more DE members had been to the area before.  That is why the Tejon Ranch trip on May 2 was so unique.  No Desert Explorer had been there before and no one else had either with the exception of individuals working for the Tejon Ranch. 


The following individuals arrived at the Tejon Ranch Conservancy headquarters in Lebec on a sunny Saturday morning for this very unusual adventure:  Bob Jacoby, Nan Savage-Healy, Ted Kalil, Alan Wicker, Fredic Raab, Mignon Slentz. Glenn Shaw, Leonard Friedman, Ron and Barbara Mildowski, Danny and Norma Siler, Randy Mathews, Nelson Miller, Mike Volmart, Ron Lipari and Mal Roode.

(click Read more for story and photos)

Traversing the Great Western Trail

It already felt like mid-summer in southern Arizona as a group of ten Desert Explorers met near Cave Creel. Arizona to begin an adventure along theArizona portion of The Great Western Trail (GWT). This hardy group included Yours Truly, Ellen and Nelson Miller, Richard Brazier, “Coop” Cooper and his dog Toby, Marian and Neal Johns, Bill and Julie Smith from relatively nearby Flagstaff, and new member Bill Powell who came all the way from Oregon. This gung ho group gathered together on the morning of Friday March 10 near Cave Creek, Arizona to begin this very interesting trek.

(click Read More for Story and photos)

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