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1999 Trip report - Barstow Area / Afton Canyon

Barstow Area/Afton Canyon

December 11, 1999

By Chuck and Jeanice Kalbach
Photos by Allan Wicker

On a bright, sunny, crisp Saturday morning, a small group which included Allan Wicker, Craig Baker and friend Gail, Dave Welbourn, Bill Ott and Neal and Marian Johns met with Chuck and Jeanice Kalbach at Peggy Sue's in Barstow.

We stopped at the old Indian trail and the sleeping circles on the way into Afton Canyon so we could walk by some history. One of the Johns' dogs took off to the west with Marian in hot pursuit. After everyone got in the act by trying to get ahead of the fleeing canine, the dog decided we were having too much fun and meekly returned.

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We visited the Caves, Spooky Canyon, which was a big hit, and the buried railroad car. (Editors note: Not to be confused with Big Jim Proctor's "Spooky Canyon" on the west edge of Old Dad Mountain) For myself and Craig, the resident rail fans, the highlight was the Union Pacific's President special that passed us in the canyon on its way to Las Vegas - streamlined engines and cars, all in U.P. yellow. It was a scene from the 60's.

After lunch by the big trestle at Basin we decided to try to see Inscription Canyon. The trip west through Afton Canyon was completely different than the morning trip as the light was shining at other angles - a very pretty place. We stopped at the crucifixion bushes and the grave of Bonnie Harris Keebler and then hightailed up the road to the petroglyph site.

Inscription Canyon  had a new addition. Someone (probably an engineer) had added the electrical symbol for a variable capacitor. It is done very well using the old techniques but a little out of place timewise. At least it's different from "Johnny loves Sue"

It was getting late, and the light was failing so we decided to end with Scout's Cove. We had a Desert Magazine with us dated 1958 that showed the dugout as it was then - pretty fancy for the location.

It was dark when we got back to Barstow. We covered a lot of ground for a one day trip. There's a lot more to see in the Barstow area. Thanks to Bill Mann's book for the inspirations and excellent directions.