Shoshone - China Lake Update
By Anne Stoll
Determined to escape briefly, we picked the weekend of April 30 - May 2, 2021 for a return to Shoshone. OK, so it was over 100 degrees with a dusty wind blowing as we drove the bone-dry stretch of Highway 127 north from Baker – who cared? We were headed for a swim in the pool and the shade of some rattling palm trees.
And so it went, a weekend a bit too hot and windy for major hiking but with many fine sites and cool things to do. First stop, a brief check of current conditions at Death Valley Junction. No chance to speak to anyone but clearly there is, thankfully, an on-site caretaker. Then on to Ash Meadows, well-known to all DEers, of course. We hadn’t been out there in a while and were utterly amazed by the “new” (ca 2017) Visitor Center. A large, glorious, beautifully-designed building, unfortunately not open for inside viewing yet due to Covid, but outdoor exhibits, lots of shady tables for picnics, and clean restrooms were all available. Had to check out the boardwalks at Crystal Spring, Devil’s Hole and Point of Rocks, of course. Next day down to China Ranch to say hello and split a date shake. A bit of news here: Brian Brown has stepped back and his son, Travis Brown, is now General Manager of China Ranch Date Farm (www.ChinaRanch.com ). No doubt Travis has his hands full. As of a few weeks ago, a fast-moving brush fire, started by fireworks (!) near the reservoir roared to life, jumped the road, and headed toward the buildings. Yikes! The photo shows the area where it started. Thanks to fast work by Inyo County firefighters, it was contained to about 32 acres.The guilty party with the fireworks confessed. We’re lucky more was not damaged! Fire is the real enemy in this part of the world. Hope to see you all out there ~ Anne and George Stoll