2010 Trip Report - DE Rendezvous - China Ranch
Trip to the China Ranch Date Farm
Leader: Mignon Slentz
Rendezvous – March 20, 2010
We headed south out of Death Valley Junction with six vehicles and ten people at about 8:30 am. Participants included: Bob and Karen Monsen, Bob Younger and Mary Whalen, Nan Savage, Gary Preston, Alan and Karen Hodes and Jim and Kristen Proffitt. We drove through the towns of Shoshone and Tecopa, trying to reduce our speeds at the appropriate times to the posted 25 MPH signs. At Tecopa we turned east and then onto the Furnace Creek road, following the ‘hard to miss’ signs to the Ranch. It is hard to imagine that 2 miles away you will dip down into the canyon oasis. Unfortunately, the date trees were ‘undressed’ at this time of year since harvest was over but it is an odd sight to see when all the clusters of dates are wearing assorted skirts, and shirts to ward off the birds.
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We parked our rigs by the gift shop and hurriedly formed a restroom line as a contingent of Model T type vehicles arrived behind us. Most of us started out on the 2 mile hike to The Crack. We passed a historic rock building which use to be the assayers office / saloon at one time and is being restored. We continued on to the Acme siding, an ore loading site and stop on the Tonopah and Tidewater railroad from 1905 until 1938. You can still see the raised bed of the T&T. We were able to rock-hop across the Armargosa River with the use of hiking poles without getting too wet and then headed up towards The Crack, which is a narrow, twisting slot canyon eroded into the igneous rhyolite rock. We enjoyed the shade and paused for a group picture before heading back. Bob Monsen strayed off to see if he could locate the water fall that was near but it was further than we wanted to go since many of us were already tasting those famous date shakes. Some time was spent at the gift shop, museum, and touring the surrounding area. At this point, everyone was on their own since some of the group was rendezvousing at the Tecopa Hot Springs for a soak. Nan had to return to work on her dissertation.
Wearing bathing suits, shorts, rolled-up pants and skivvies, we lounged around in the private pool for half an hour before letting a young couple use our remaining time. We were able to take a shower and returned clean and refreshed in time for happy hour and dinner.