“Oh Be Joyful”
By Bob Jaussaud
An unofﬁcial group of Desert Explorers got together in March for a Death Valley trip. Our goal was to make the challenging hike into Lemoigne Canyon and see what remains of Jean Lemoigne’s campthere. In preparation for our trip, Glenn Shaw wrote a pamphlet about the history relating to our “Oh Be Joyful” Event. Thank you Glenn. Historically “Oh Be Joyful” is antiquated American Civil War slang for whiskey, especially the homemade variety.
Vicki Hill, Dave McFarland, Ron Lipari, Mignon Slentz, plus Sue and I gathered at Death Valley Junction. Our ﬁrst event was a relatively easy hike into a lesser known mine Ron Lipari had discovered on U tube. Next, we visited the newly reopened Keane Wonder Mine. Then it was on to Carrara to locate some unique artwork in the nearby abandoned cement plant, especially a piece done by Mignon’s daughter, Sierra.
After ﬁlling our gas tanks at Beatty we caravanned to Rhyolite. The museum there has some truly unique artwork scattered around. From Rhyolite, we wandered into the Bullfrog Hills to look for an evening camp. We lucked onto a beautiful spot and Ron ﬁxed one of his gourmet camp meals for everyone.
Next morning we found the Lucky Jack Mine ruins, then went back into Beatty to relax and visit their Museum. If you have never visited the Beatty Museum, it should be on your bucket list. That afternoon we met Glenn at Stovepipe Wells. Glenn led us over a really rough road to the mouth of Lemoigne Canyon where we camped for the evening. Jean Lemoigne was an early Death Valley miner. He came from France in the 1870’s and resided in and around Death Valley for more than 40 years, ﬁling on lead and silver claims in Lemoigne Canyon and in the Skidoo area. Lemoigne was an educated man and an interesting fellow. He is reputed to have hit it big at one time and used those funds to build a mansion near Garlic Springs that he became frustrated with and blew up. He died in 1919 and his grave is in Death Valley not far from Salt Creek.
The hike into Lemoigne’s cabin the next morning was very successful but thoroughly wore us all out.We parted ways for home after we got back to the vehicles and 4 wheeled to pavement. We had surely enjoyed our “Oh Be Joyful” event. ~Bob