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)
Mohave Road Trip
October 21-23, 2016 • By Neal Johns
We started out OK until we heard a voice over the cell phone that sounded just like Jerry. It could not be him, I camped with him last night. We told him to wait at Mohave Road Mile 3+ and we would pick him up (and we did). Stopping at Granite Spring, we turned the animals loose and they saw a few petroglyphs and a trickle of water before cries of “Onward, Onward” got them moving again.
Then it was onward to Fort Rock. Most of us made it all the way to the Fort, and then the same idiot started screaming again – “Onward, Onward.”
Since I had not heard that the way over the Piute Range had been fixed, I took the motley crew over the “Official
Bypass” route a few miles south.
Amazingly, we made it OK. The turns came up so fast, I had no chance to look at my GPS (I had stopped at the Museum and got their last copy of the Mojave Road Guide with GPS in it). I hope the Bypass had GPS in it too. Good job, Chris!
(click Read more for the rest of the story and photos)
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.
They raised a family there from 1930-1947. Their three children were born in Oceanside. Tanya spent her last month of pregnancy there, but then they went to live on top of the mountain with sweeping views of Blair Valley on one side and the Vallecito wash on the other.
They lived simply, became nudists, ate natural foods, and he wrote articles from there. The trail to their home is one mile up a steep slope. Everything had to be carried, including water when there wasn’t enough rain.
(click Read more for the rest of the story)
by Mignon Slentz
Several DE members, former members and non- members met at The Big Water Visitors Center on Highway 89 and were treated to a preview of a dinosaur skull and mural display. Many of the bones were discovered within 30 miles of the Center.
After gassing up we headed up the Smokey Mountain Rd., toward Kelly’s Grade which is pretty steep with great views. The group included- Bob and Sue Jaussaud, Glenn Shaw, Mal Roode, Mike Vollmert, Ron Lipari, Ken Searer, Shane Somers, Benny Hill, Jenny Jahraus and Mignon Slentz.
At the top we stopped to look at several smoking seams in the earth that have been burning for hundreds of years from a lightning strike.
In the afternoon we parked and hiked to Top Collet Arch which is a natural arch on top of an ancient granary. We could even see fingerprints in the mud mortar. We lost Ron walking back to our cars but as Neal Johns says, “ a 10 % loss is acceptable.” We made camp nearby and enjoyed the cooler temps.
(click Read More for the rest of the story and photos)
Bristlecone Pines White Mountains Trip
August 6-10, 2016 • By Ron Lipari
The trip began on August 6 where the participants met at the Country Kitchen in Big Pine at 10:00 a.m. The participants included Ron Lipari, Mike Vollmert, Bob and Sue Jaussaud, Mal Roode, Mignon Slentz, Vicki Hill, Glenn Shaw, and Sunny and Jean Hansen. Neal and Marion Johns were signed up for the trip but called on Thursday stating that their pop up camper had detached from the bed of their Toyota and had to be repaired… they were missed!! Ken Sears was also at the Country Kitchen, but was traveling home and was there to say Hi! Great seeing Ken.
Upon leaving Big Pine, we quickly began our climb out of the Owen’s Valley up Westgard pass turning left at the road to the Bristlecone pine forest. We stopped at the Schulman grove to take pictures and look at the ancient pine trees. The weather was cool and pleasant, and the new forest service visitors center was exceptionally nice. I remember the old visitors center as an aluminum covered trailer!! The new building is wonderful.
Next we loaded up the vehicles and drove the 4x4 road to cottonwood creek. Many of us who have been down the road before remarked that the road was in very good shape compared to previous years. The afternoon and evening were spent in a beautiful meadow next to the stream! Some of us took a hike down the stream to enjoy the meadows and wildflowers. Happy hour was upon us and a wonderful dinner was prepared and enjoyed. The campfire was inviting as the night grew cold at almost 9,000 feet. The sun ushered in the next day, and the temps grew warmer.
Climbing out of cottonwood creek, the group traveled down Wyman Canyon. We stopped at a mining camp, that included a cabin and some kind of smelting oven. We also stopped at a cowboy camp that was part of Deep Springs College. Very interesting. At the bottom of the canyon we reached the site of White Mountain city where a smelting smoke stack still stands, and petroglyphs are found along the stream.
The next destination determined by the group was to visit the mining ghost town of Sylvania. As we traveled highway 266 we quickly found the dirt road into the town. Leading the group equipped with GPS and 1953 topos included Bob and Mal. However, the desert in the general area had been hit hard by thunderstorms and flash floods - the same floods that have closed Grapevine canyon to Scottys castle. The group was stopped as the road moved into a sand wash that was severely washed out and full of rocks. It was decided to go back to a camping spot at the base of the White Mountains on Cottonwood Creek. The location is beautiful and shaded by numerous cottonwood trees, The weather was much warmer, but in the shade of the trees and the delightful stream made the campsite magical.
The next morning we traveled up Highway 266 to Dyer to get gas. Then backtracked towards Palmetto to check out an old stage stop and to approach the mining ghost town of Sylvania from the north. After checking out some old inscriptions at the stage stop we made our way off road to Sylvania. This mining town was worked in the 70’s, and the workers were known by Wild Bill Gossett, who visited this town in the 70’s. There are numerous buildings, vintage cars and trucks (circa 40’s and 50’s), mining equipment, and lots of old stuff to check out. To quote Mike, “It is the best mining ghost town he has ever seen next to Bodie.”
Leaving Sylvania we retraced our steps and traveled to Hanging Mesa to check out some petroglyphs, but also to find a camp at altitude for cooler temps. We camped in a pinyon pine forest and enjoyed a pleasant evening. The next morning we headed for the ghost town of Gold point. We stopped at the closed bar and walked around to enjoy the various old buildings and artifacts. After about 15 minutes the caretaker (friendly guy packing a 45!) arrived and opened the bar for us to check out. All of the drinks in this old bar are free - but, they do take donations. Mike and Bob competed in a game of shuffleboard - I think Bob won, but it is worth noting that the friction less game was produced with the use of sand!!! After spending some time talking with the caretaker, and picking his brain as to what to visit, it was decided, after looking at an old map, to go to the ghost towns of Old Camp and Stateline with a visit to the Treasure mine. The group, with Bob, Mal, Sunny and Jean using their GPS and 1953 topos on their tablets and phone, were led to an area with numerous mining adits and old building foundations. The first place we visited was Old Camp. There were dilapidated buildings, stone foundations and old stuff laying around. Mal found an old arrastra that was interesting. Lots of evidence of cattle ranching was everywhere. The next location to visit was the Treasure Mine. This mine had a large spray painted sign in front that stated, “Theives Beware, We have no morgue.” We entered the mine that included rails for ore carts, and went in about 100 yards or so. It was very interesting and well preserved.
The next location to visit was the large mining area of Stateline. We drove to the well preserved cabin and stayed a while. Also in the area were head frames, adits, and some small outbuildings. Then the group traveled to a higher altitude to check out some other mining areas, and finally ended up in the pinyon pine forest just above Devils Gate road into Highway 95. We camped in the pines and enjoyed a nice happy hour and campfire. The next morning we drove down Devils Gate road and to highway 95 where the trip ended. After our goodbyes, folks traveled home, after a fabulous experience in the desert!
~ Ron Lipari
Desert Explorers Meeting Minutes • July 16, 2016
Attending: Bob Jacoby, Debbie Miller-Marschke, Neal & Marian Johns, Terry Ogden, Ruth & Emmett Harder, Mal Roode, Sue & Bob Jaussaud, Bobbie Sanchez & Daniel Dick, Jerry Dupree, Jean & Sunny Hansen, Vicki Hill, Betty Wallin & Don Sweinhart, Ding & Allan Wicker, Nan Healy, Jay Lawrence.
Regrets: Ted Kalil out sick. Steve Marschke: “He was doing a fence project that he could have paid someone to do but he did it himself because he’s Steve.” (Deb)
Call to order: 11:52 a.m.
Previous minutes: Approved.
Treasurer’s Report: Ted Kalil was sick and asked to be relieved as Treasurer. We need a volunteer, job usually takes about 4-6 hours per month.
• Online pay for new subscriptions and renewals is only partially used. Need to remind folks this option is available.
• Neal has T-Shirt paperwork and needs someone new to take this over next time.
• DE balance roughly: $4,400 after donations to MVRM and Shoshone Museum, approx $1,400 owed to Neal for shirts & hats.
Newsletter: Everything was humming along nicely. We need more contributors. Please send your trip writeups, story ideas and photos to Jay. Remind trip leaders to make sure somebody on their trip will do a writeup. It doesn’t have to be Shakespeare. Send your photos!
Website: Deb is getting caught up and trying to bring all trip reports current. Web hosting storage has been bumped up to accommodate all the archived newsletter files. Expense is now $50/year. Facebook page questions were fielded by Mal, who noted that we have had a Facebook page for the DE for several years and it is active. Encouraged all to visit and use it. It helps direct people to our website and has a live link on it. It is being underused.
Folks wanted to know how Crazy Suzy, our web tech, got her name. Unsolved... but it was moved, seconded and approved that we make her a member and send the Newsletter for free since she has helped us so much with the website.
Museum Deb was distressed to report that the Early Man site was vandalized thoroughly, all displayed materials taken as well as generators and equipment. It is being investigated by the police but the outlook for recovery and reinstatement is grim.
There is an upcoming barbecue at the museum. Museum newsletters will resume in the fall.
• California to Oregon trip just finished, report pending
• San Bernardino National Forest cancelled due to Ted’s illness
• White Mountains & Bristlecone Pines - August 5 - 7 - Leader Ron Lipari is on track and full
• Mojave Road Trip - October 22-23, 2016 - Leader Neal & Marian Johns and Nelson Miller. Terry Ogden and Jerry Dupree are going. More details in the Calendar of Upcoming Trips.
• Nelson possibly doing 2-3 one-day trips in the Mojave in the fall.
• October 24-27 Joso River Get Together
• Santa Barbara backroads trip postponed due to fire closed roads.
• Mojave Road Rendezvous October 7-9 at Goffs, California.
• Bill Powell may do a Hastings Cutoff trip through Nevada and Utah. He is researching the Pony Express route and Hastings Cutoff. Trails West has a good guidebook on this.
Trip Leadership It was discussed and agreed by all that the trip leader should always have the responsibility and authority to decide who and what vehicles can or should go on a trip they are leading. Driver experience level, appropriateness of vehicle for the trail, participant fitness and demands of the trail all figure into this decision. Moved, seconded and passed unanimously that any persons or vehicles participation in a trip is at the discretion of the leader.
2017 Rondy It was suggested and chewed over that Blythe, California be the site of our next Rendezvous. Jerry Dupree reported favorably on the facility, trails available, nearby areas of interest and welcome by the local chamber of commerce. Possible dates are early March 10-12 or late February. Neal and Marian offered to lead a trip to Dripping Springs, Bob Jacoby noted a book available on dirt road trips in the Quartzite area. Castle Dome site and the local museums in Blythe and Quartzite were mentioned. Jerry will dig further and report back.
Leader’s Checklist Neal updated the leader guide which was originally done by John Page. Bob Jacoby is editing. The final version will go on our website and be available to all subscribers.
New Business Bob Jaussaud noted that the Needles Museum was getting rid of extra copies of the Footprints publicaton by the late, great Maggie McPherson. Vicki Hill would like more folks to make things for the Rendezvous Auction and would like to see something in the newsletter promoting it. Somebody (not sure who) suggested posting an article about the newsletter on our Facebook page. Good idea! Now who will do it? Let’s see those hands!
Next Meeting August 27th at Don & Betty’s house in Yucca Valley.
Adjourned 1:02 p.m.
Thank you, Ding and Allan Wicker for hosting us in your home once again.
Photos: Allan Wicker & Jerry Dupree
Remembering East Mojave Pictographs
By Anne Stoll
I tend to think of the prehistoric rock art in the East Mojave as being mostly petroglyphs, meaning images pecked into the rock surface. Lots of those out there in the desert! But there are a number of noteworthy pictograph or painted sites out there too - I'd rather not say exactly where this one is, but I imaging many DE folk recognize the place. These shots were taken on a lovely camping weekend back in October 2010 with fellow DE-ers Vicki Hill, Dave McFarland, Carol Paquette, and Joan McGovern-White. Ever since discovering the free DStrech digital enhancement program (www.DStrech.com) we've been having lots of fun going back to desert favorites and seeing what we missed.
Trip from Oregon to Washington
Bill Powell • July 2-9, 2016
Friday morning, July 2nd, found eight intrepid explorers meeting at the Green Mountain Bakery in Lakeview, Oregon. Our intrepid explorers included Neal and Marian Johns, Bill and Julie Smith, James and Heather Ray, Jim Watson, and your humble host Bill Powell. After breakfast, introductions and the obligatory paperwork, we convoyed the 20 miles South on Highway 395 to the California border and the official start of our trans-Oregon adventure. Following County Road 2, we quickly found the end of pavement and began a long ascent up to a 7600 foot pass into Oregon.
Once in Oregon, we proceeded generally North at high altitude surrounded by peaks with still a bit of snow near the summits. Then we gradually looped back toward the West and made our way back to Lakeview for lunch. We left Lakeview again at 12:30 p.m. and proceeded over paved roads in a Northwesterly direction until we were well into the Fremont National Forest, where we shifted back onto the dirt. Around 3:30 p.m., we tried following the official route up a marginal track between two well maintained Forest Service roads, but had to turn back when the track petered out. Fortunately, we found a detour and were quickly back on our prescribed route.
(click Read more for the rest of the story and photos)
On Walkabout at Sedona and Camp Verde
Trip Report and Photos by Mignon Slentz
My friend, Jenny Jahraus recently hosted several of us to a camping trip in the Sedona / Camp Verde area in Arizona. The trip included Bob and Sue Jaussaud, Ron Lipari, Ken Sears, and myself along with Jenny.
As always, when Bob is along, we took Route 66 through Hackberry and Seligman. We stopped to look at an old schoolhouse on the side of the road when a tribal policeman drove in to confront us, saying that we were trespassing on Reservation land. He agreed not to cite us so we hurried away. Later, a look at the map convinced us we had not been on tribal land.
Our first night, we camped on the East side of 89 A about halfway between Flagstaff and Sedona. Temperatures were in the 20s overnight and Ron, in his tent suffered the most. The next morning we drove 5 miles to Call of the Canyon parking lot to wait for Jenny.
The 7 mile round trip hike that begins there follows the West Fork of Oak Creek and is one of the more popular hikes in the Sedona area. At the beginning of the hike, we passed orchards and the brick ruins and outbuildings of a once popular lodge.
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Tejon Hills Flower Fest
By Bob Jacoby • March 25, 2016
Photos by Mal Roode
They say that one picture is worth a thousand words and that is definitely the case with wildflowers in the spring. That is why this trip report will be relatively short so that you can spend your time looking at the pictures of the incredible wildflowers on display on March 25th in the Antelope Valley portion of the Tejon Ranch.
Our group of 14 Desert Explorers met at the 300th St entrance to the Tejon Ranch complex. This is in the heart of the Antelope Valley. Among the attendees were myself, Nan
Healey, Leonard and Rebecca Friedman, Bob and Sue Jaussaud, Peter Austin , Danny and Norma Siler, Gerry and Dolly Dupree, Sally Kinsey and Rob Day, and the ubiquitous Mal Roode. There to greet us was Tejon Ranch docent, Scot Pipkin, who immediately informed us that was the best wild flower showing in at least ten years.
From the beginning it was obvious that the theme of the day was going to be flowers, flowers and more flowers. We saw multitudes of red ones, purple ones, yellow ones and blue ones. We didn’t have to travel on the ranch dirt roads very far to see this awesome display in its full glory. For many of us, this was the best wild flower display we had ever seen.
During the course of this great day, we stayed on the ranch land in the Antelope Valley and did manage to see some sites other than the beautiful flowers. For instance, as we progressed to slightly higher elevations we passed through an outstanding Joshua tree forest. Some of the trees were in bloom adding to the spectacle of the day.
We also passed several springs and ponds, observing the endangered tri-colored blackbird cavorting in the water. These birds can make a lot of noise as they attempt to mate in the riparian areas. Another great sight was a herd of pronghorn antelope running at top speed in the valley floor off in the distance.
We lunched at a beautiful spot and continued to snap memorable pictures of the scenery. This was the Desert Explorers fourth trip to the Tejon Ranch and we are looking to make this an annual event. Unfortunately, our leader docent, Scot Pipkin, is moving to New Mexico but he has referred us to new leaders to contact next spring. We are looking forward to that, but I doubt that this years’ wildflower scene will ever be topped.
(click Read more to see the photos)
Amargosa Mine with Emmett
We set off south from Shoshone on 127 with a small band of Desert Explorers toward Dumont Dunes and Salt Spring for a ‘quick hike’ with Emmett Harder at Amargosa Mine. There is no question that Emmet Harder can tell a good story, and the tales he told on this hike were epic. He kicked things off with a brief stop where the pavement crossed a small arroyo and gave us a synopsis of the final moments of the Ballarat Bandit, an elusive thief who led police on a months-long manhunt. When the Bandit finally ran out of places to hide he decided that rather than be captured he would take his own life, and this was where he drew his last breath, just a few hundred yards from where we were standing. OK, Emmett, quite a colorful beginning
to a hike!
Moving on, we turned east off the pavement just beyond Dumont Dunes, following a low ridge for a mile or two until we reached a kiosk with some history about the Amargosa Mine site.
Emmett filled in all the blanks, telling us about how Jefferson Hunt, a former captain of the Mormon Battalion led a small group down the Spanish Trail in 1849. Hunt led a few on horseback over a notch in the ridge that saved them miles that the wagons would have to travel to go around the rocky point. As they passed through the area, Hunt noted that the rock of the area looked like it might have some gold, judging from recent experience he had in another location where he had been stationed. On closer inspection, he was right. The group found flecks of gold in veins right at the edge of their trail. One of the party followed the vein to find an area with BB sized grains of gold. They made their way across the saddle to Salt Spring, meeting the wagon teams who had already gathered there. The party moved on, arriving at Chino just before Christmas and announced their discovery.
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Muddling Through the Mud at Tecopa
By Ding (Edna) Elnar-Wicker
I have been attending the Desert Explorers Rendezvous since I came to the US in 1998. The annual event always ushers in some excitement: it is a gathering of friends and familiar faces and a welcome opportunity to meet new members and establish friendship. The event can also involve activities that can be very exciting such as the advertised trips to interesting locations around the rendezvous site. These trips include easy to moderate hikes, finding petroglyphs or pictoglyphs or exploring old or abandoned mines or just poking around beautiful sceneries in the desert. Other trips focus on wild flowers or the flora in the area. Most of the trips I have participated in were interesting and left lasting memories. Those of us who signed up in the past to take a trip to a brothel in Pahrump probably would say that that was just an anomaly in what the DE customarily does!
The recent 2016 DE rendezvous was a special occasion for me. Allan and I stayed at Tecopa Hot Springs Resort. On Friday, 1 April, after we returned from the potluck dinner, we decided to take it easy. The resort management put up an outdoor film showing that was reasonably well attended. We also noticed that there was a group outside our room that was stargazing. We joined that group and were able to see several galaxies and even Jupiter and four of its moons. Very dramatic! What fun to be viewing the sky in the desert where neon lights don’t compete with the stars!
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Mike and I went to this fantastic site several years ago, so we decided to hike it again at the Rondy. Two intrepid souls signed up for the trip, probably due to the fact that the trip write up stated that the hike was six miles over rough and rocky terrian, and assuming we could find the site again, it was over rough and rocky terrain!! Mignon Slentz and Bob Jaussand joined Mike and I on the hike.
We quickly found the trail as it is marked by fallen power poles that were erected from Death Valley Junction at the T&T Railroad siding to the town of Greenwater at the turn of century during the copper boom – which was more of a bust. There is not much of a trail to follow, so we followed the path of the fallen power poles. Three of us had been on the hike before including Bob, Mike and myself. Unfortunately our memories are fading into obscurity.
We followed the poles and missed the point at which the trail climbed over the ridge, even though the entire trail was marked by many petroglyphs showing the way to the habitation site. The oldest among the rest of us youngsters remembered going high on the ridge, however, alas we found ourselves in the wash below the habitation site. The oldest among us took the lead and went straight up the steep canyon where we thought we would find the site. It was not there. Frustrated, the younger three stopped and contemplated our plight!
Meanwhile, the oldest among us moved forward climbing the canyon to find the habitation site. After the oldest disappeared, the younger three decided to follow him. As we climbed, in the distance we observed the oldest among standing atop of the habitation site!! The youngters shouted hooray with glee while the oldest took shade and seat in the shade of the habitation site. We found many pictos and six morteros at the site as well as numerous flakes. We fed the oldest lunch - his significant other made him lunch but he had fogotten it at home. We all rested, drank and ate, however, after what seemed a very short time the oldest was rejuvinated and got up to find the next pictograph cave that contained many pictos and was near several tenajas. The three youngest, exhausted by the hike, continued to rest till we heard a shout from the oldest... the pictograph cave is here!!! The youngest reluctantly got up and went to the cave - which contained many pictos and a nice shady rest area for the group. After taking many pictures the oldest stated we need to get back, and this time the group hiked back taking the high trail over the ridge. We quickly found the trail with admonitions from the oldest among us to stay high!
The point on the trail that entered the valley to go home was marked by many petros!! We continued to hike out with the youngest leading, however, even after having been through the canyon earlier, the younger men decided to go up to the wrong pass! The oldest among us stated the pass is over here, and he was right. We got back to the car unscathed and immediately drove to the RV park to soak in the warm pool!! I think I need to start the habit of doing sudoku problems each morning to get my brain and memory stimulated. It seems to be working well for Bob. Thanks to Mike, Mignon and Bob, for making a great hike memorable!
Outbound Trip: Silica Mine & Salt Creek Hills
April 3, 2016 • By Bill Neill
Photos: Bill Neill and Allan Wicker
Originally I planned an outbound trip from Shoshone to look at geology and mining history at the south end of Death Valley, ending at Salt Creek Hills, next to the highway 127 halfway to Baker. However in early March I learned that the Jubilee Pass Road was closed by severe erosion from flooding last October; so instead, our outbound trip was reduced to two stops — the Shoshone silica mine and Salt Creek Hills. Participants were Bill & Gwenn Neill, Bob Jacoby, Mal Roode, Steve Marschke & Debbie Miller, Joe Preiss, George Gilster, Allan Wicker & Ding Elnar-Wicker.
From our meeting place opposite the Flower Building in Shoshone, we drove past the Shoshone Cemetery, and parked near Dublin Gulch next to cave dwellings excavated and occupied by prospectors during the 1920’s & 1930’s. From Dublin Gulch we hiked to a former quarry of soft, white volcanic ash erupted from the Long Valley caldera, north of Bishop. Silica ash has several commercial uses, and this material was added to Old Dutch Cleanser as an abrasive.
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