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.
Sunday morning we gassed up in Olancha and headed into the Southern Inyos to explore the Viking (several buildings still standing) and the Santa Rosa (very long tunnel complete with track) Mines. Lunch was at the lonely Boxcar Cabin. The cabins in Lee Flat were already occupied, so that afternoon we headed over Hunter Mountain and camped at the remote Ubehebe Talc Mine close to Hidden Valley. The wind picked up a bit, so we gathered near the cabin for the evening festivities.
Next morning we hiked up to the actual Ubehebe Mine operation. What an extraordinary find! The tracks were still mostly in place and there was equipment everywhere. Located in 1945, the mine had evidently been worked into the 1970's. Back on Hunter Mountain Road, we continued north through Hidden Valley and took a side road to the Lost Burro Mine. This is a real desert gem, with quaint cabin and outhouse bearing the instruction "Leave a Dime" (!) Teakettle Junction, sporting lots and lots of inscribed kettles, was our next way point. The road from Teakettle Junction north is jarring washboard and we were relieved to reach pavement at Ubhebe Crater. It had been years since any of us had visited Scotty's Castle, so we headed there next. Our luck was good and we were in time for the next tour, followed by lunch in the garden area. That afternoon, we made it to Furnace Creek Ranch on time to meet Ron Lipari, who was joining our group after his adventure in Flagstaff, AZ. We were all more than ready for happy hour, so headed out to find a camp site. After encountering many road closed signs, we ended up at the trailhead for Greenwater Canyon. Mignon treated us all to hot dogs and beans for dinner. Sue was not pleased with my end result (pardon the pun) that evening in our small enclosed camper.
Tuesday morning, since our meeting time at Ryan Tuesday with Emmett wasn't until 11:30, we all elected to explore the site of Greenwater. There is a lot of stuff scattered over a large area, but no buildings left. From Greenwater, we found a road into the Black Mountains that was actually open and made a very scenic loop around and back to the town site of Furnace. We saw many things to explore in the Furnace area, but we were out of time, so decided to return and camp at Furnace that evening after the Ryan tour.
The Ryan tour was awesome! Scott and his wife, Dr. Jessica, were wonderful hosts. I was lucky to "snake" Wild Bill on Jessica's last home made brownie. Yum! Sorry Bill. Visiting Ryan is like going back in time. Thank you so much Emmett and Ruth for arranging our visit. I am only sorry that anyone had to miss this wonderful experience.
Wednesday morning, at the Timbisha Shoshone Office near Furnace Creek Ranch, Emmett and Ruth arranged for us to meet Barbara Durham, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer. She gave us a brief history of their tribe and answered many of our questions. The tribe was given their 314 acre reservation in Death Valley in 2001, and they are exploring development possibilities, including a motel.
After the Timbisha Shoshone Reservation, our small Post Ryan group went to Furnace Creek Ranch for long overdue showers and a relaxing swim in the spring fed pool. Clean and refreshed, we then headed for Beatty to gas up and regroup. We thought of doing Titus Canyon, but Ron had never been to Gold Point, so we made that our next destination. We were fortunate on our arrival at Gold Point to encounter Sandy, who opened the bar for us. Antiques abound, and we checked them out while sipping our favorite brews. Again refreshed, we headed over the Lida Pass and enjoyed another beautiful stream side camp at Cottonwood Creek at the base of the White Mountains. That evening, Ron fixed Mignon, Sue and I one of his wonderful pasta dinners. Many thanks, Ron.
Thursday morning we worked our way to Sylvania, one of the more intact and interesting mining towns we had ever seen. After several hours exploring the buildings and checking out the vehicles, we headed over Magruder Mountain and down scenic Tule Canyon, past Roosevelt Well, to Crankshaft Junction at the north end of Death Valley. From there to Big Pine the road was heavily washboarded. Seems the major unpaved Death Valley roads are all in the same rough condition. Hanging Rock Canyon was beautiful, though. We made it to Independence for gas, then headed back to the Viking Mine at the southern end of the Inyos and camped for the night. It was windy and cool, but we found a sheltered campfire area and enjoyed another fine Lipari meal.
The whole week of our trip had been unseasonably cool, but Friday morning looked like serious rain. We pushed on to Darwin anyway. From there, our route followed the old Eichbaum Toll Road to Panamint Springs. Along the way we visited the original Darwin pump station and took a side road to beautiful China Gardens, with it's koi filled pond. Also, before arriving at Panamint Springs, we took advantage of the cool weather and did the very scenic hike to Darwin Falls. From Panamint Springs we happily headed to the Gossetts' to socialize and help build a wall. It had been a really good week.