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| Neal & Marian Johns | Trip Reports

2010 Trip Report - DE Rendezvous - Kingston Wash /Mountains Inbound

Inbound 2010 Rendezvous Trip
Kingston Wash and Kingston Mts.
By Marian Johns

We arrived at Bob’s Big Boy in Baker at 8:00 a.m. right on schedule and found  some of the crew already seated and chowing down breakfast. The buffet had a  fine selection for those of us who can’t resist an all-you-can-eat opportunity.

By 9:00 a.m. 25 Desert Explorers had assembled in the parking lot. Our troops  included: Nan Savage, Gary Preston, Vicki Hill, Dave McFarland, Mike Vollmert,  Ron Lipari and son, Jeff, Rebecca and Leonard Friedman and daughter, Hannah, Bob  Younger and Mary, Sonny and Jean Hansen, Bob and Shirley Bolin, Terry Ogden, Bob  Jacoby, Nelson Miller and sister, Ellen, Larry Boerio, Bert Eddins, Glenn Shaw  and Marian and Neal Johns.

(click read More, below, to continue)


Our caravan of 14 vehicles headed north out of Baker on Hwy. 127 for about 20  miles, and then turned onto a dirt two-track that headed east across flat  terrain. Initially, the scenery was rather dull, but the road was in good  condition, so we were able to zip along at a respectable speed. Our first stop  was the site of Valjean which was once a settlement on the Tonopah and Tidewater  Railroad. The buildings are long gone - just a rusty can dump and other debris  remain. 15 miles further on, we joined and followed the Kingston Spring Cutoff  of the Old Spanish Trail. About this point the scenery began to improve with  interesting and colorful formations and the Kingston Range towering in the near  distance.

Next, we arrived at Kingston Springs, a watering hole for those early travelers  and more recently a reclusive miner who built a house there. His presence  annoyed the BLM, but they allowed him stay. However, upon his death they  bulldozed the house and buried it. Future archaeologists should have a wonderful  time digging up this remnant of an earlier era.

You would think Kingston Springs would be in Kingston Wash, but this is not the  case. We had to drive two miles farther before we reached the main wash.  Continuing east up the wash, we could see dense vegetation not too far ahead on  the high banks of the north side of the wash, and here, hidden under dense brush  we found Coyote Hole. If you know where to look, it’s possible to worm your way  through the tangle to a small seep which someone has surrounded with a basin  made of rocks and concrete.

Just a 1/8 mile farther up the wash, we stopped for lunch at the “Mailbox” which  is one of the four East Mojave Heritage Trails mailboxes. After signing our  names on the register for posterity’s sake, we pressed onward up Kingston Wash  and several miles after turning north out of Kingston Wash, we eventually  reached the Excelsior Mine Road. From this intersection, we were able to see  snow-covered, 11,900 ft., Mt. Charleston in the distant Spring Mountain Range of  Nevada.

The Excelsior Mine Road was once the paved access to the mine, but the asphalt  is now beginning to deteriorate and eventually disappears completely.  Nevertheless, it was faster than the previous two-track we had been following,  and we hustled along since Death Valley Junction, our final destination, was  miles away.

As we turned west, our road climbed high into the heart of the Kingston Range.  Its awesome, craggy, near-vertical peaks, over 7,300 high, still had remnants of  winter snow. Side roads leading off into pretty canyons or to old mines beckoned  us, and it’s a shame we didn’t have more time to spend in this beautiful and  interesting area. When we reached the summit and looked west, we had a fantastic  view of Telescope Peak, another 11,000 ft, snowy mountain, on the west side of  Death Valley in the Panamint Range.

On the way down the flanks of the Kingstons, we passed several more abandoned  mines, some of which once produced talc and some lead. When we finally reached  the community of Tecopa, we turned our train of vehicles lose, most heading for  the Chevron station in Shoshone (Yikes, nearly $4.00 a gallon!) before  continuing on to the Rondy festivities in Death Valley Junction. Thanks Mike  Vollmert and the Lipari’s for being our sweep and eating the dust of the 13  vehicles!