2008 Trip Report -DE Rendezvous -Emigrent Canyon
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Leader: Emmett Harder
By Mary Hughes
s trip is taking us to Emigrant Canyon, with master historian, Emmett Harder, leading. It will be a wonderful day.
We rally in front of the Flower Building, 12 vehicles, 29 people. Inattendance: Emmett and Ruth Harder, Mal and Jean Roode, Marilyn Martin, Carl and Nancy Noah, Leonard, Rebecca, and Hanna Friedman, Bob Jacoby, Richard
Brazier, Jim Proffitt, Barbara and Ron Midlikoski, Don and Myrtie Putnam, John and Nancy Hoopes, Bob and Kim DeWolf, Charles and Mary Hughes, Don Sweinhartt and Betty Wallin, Bob and Shirley Bolin, and Allan and Ding
s, and jump starting Jim t tell him!) we are off.
We drive into Tecopa, past the hot springs, thru the town, leisurely heading
toward the Canyon. Off to our left is historic Resting Springs, a stop on
the Old Spanish Trail. We had hoped to make a stop there today, but that
adventure will have to wait until another time. We continue toward the
Immigrant Canyon Summit, and just as the Summit peaks, we make a left turn
on a dirt road. We park and walk to an overlook at the summit. We gather
around, and Emmett starts to work his magic.
Off in the distance he points out the historic Old Spanish Trail/Mormon
Trail coming in from Stump Springs. The road has been a mule trail, a wagon
road but never became an auto or jeep road. It is in pristine condition. It
snakes in a never ending S curve as it crosses the valley and meanders
toward the summit where we are. It is truly beautiful. Emmett gives each of
us two handouts, both quoting from the journals of 49ers Addison Pratt and
William Farrer, both Mormon pioneers who crossed the Trail from Utah to Los
Angeles. The diaries speak of the hardships, an Indian Massacre, the never
ending search for water, the impact on the animals. The Amargosa River is a
grand curiosity to both of these men, especially the alkali and the affect
it would have on the animals if they drank it. LeRoy Hafen wrote The
Journals of the 49ers. If you ever get a chance to read it, do so. It can
be found in libraries and has also been reprinted in paper back.
As history has told us all, the Trail was first an Indian Trail, then the
trappers went over it, and it was then developed as a trade route between
Santa Fe to Utah, and, in 1847, became a thru trail into Los Angeles. It has
been referred to as the "plunder trail" in some writings that I have read.
We all walk over to where the Trail crosses the summit, and what a thrill to
all of us. The ³ohhs² the ³ahhs² can be heard. Then we walk to the
location of the mule trail which is very clear. More ³ohhs² and ³ahhs² can
be heard, and many of us hiked a distance on the trail.
It is time to leave; however, Emmett has one more stop up his sleeve. As we
go down canyon toward Resting Springs, Emmett stops and walks us to a very
distinct section of the road as it heads off to Resting Springs. The wonder
of it all!!!!
We leave, and everyone opts for lunch at China Ranch. In 1890 a Chinese
man named Ah Foo developed a successful ranch raising livestock, hay,
fruits, vegetables to feed the local silver miners and their draft animals.
When Ah Foo mysteriously disappeared in the late 1890¹s, the ranch went
into a succession of owners, most unsuccessful in their endeavors. In the
1990¹s the Brian Brown family purchased China Ranch, and have made it a
wonderful destination stop. We gather ¹round; Emmett continues to lecture,
all of us having a date shake in our hands. The day is coming to an end.
We don¹t want it to end; however, we are all looking forward to the evening
activities: a catered dinner and a presentation, Creative Showcase.