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2010 Trip Report - Grass Valley Wilderness

Grass Valley Wilderness

April 10th, 2010
Leaders: Bob/Nancy Dodds
Joining us were; Joe Pizzitola, Brian Bennett, Glen Shaw, Jim Proffitt, Sunny and Jean Hansen, Gene and Beverly Stoops, Al Enos, Jim Briggs and family, Jim and Judy Clemens, Bob Jacoby, Alan Utter, and Nelson Miller and his friend Jaclyn Wildly (not sure of the spelling, couldn’t read her writing).
    Our group met at Kramer Junction. We were ready to leave at 8:45 a.m. We went north on Hwy. 395 to the Trona turn off. At 1.3 miles was the marker for Grass Valley. Turning right our first stop was Steam Well (we thought) WRONG!! The book I went by showed Steam Well at a different place than the Delorme Atlas. I now agree with those of us who decided we were at Skilling Well. We traveled on down Granite Well Rd where we found the BLM Box with a roster for Steam Well Petroglyphs. We decided to make that another trip in the future. The next stop was Browns Ranch. A large flat barren area with concrete foundations and the land was cleared.
    Our next stop was Blackwater Well. Thanks to Gene Stoops, we had a nice handout about the Mitchell Ranch. This was our lunch stop. Jim Proffitt’s sweet daughter, Penny, made a beautiful cheese cake that Jim shared with all of us. Gene gave a talk on the ranch and the area. There’s a lot still to explore there. All day we traveled through the Grass Valley Wilderness Area. We kept noticing signs of “Being Video Taped” though out the day. We saw several desert flowers which Beverly and Nancy identified in the flower books. The Desert Candle’s were all over. About this time Bob Jacoby came on the CB and said he had lost his GPS. So they and Sunny and Jean back tracked and found it. GOOD JOB!
   Our group finally made it to the Motorcycle Monument. What a change since we were there 13 years ago. There are several memorial plaques for fallen Riders and Friends. It’s nicely done and worth the trip to see. We proceeded down the canyon that was fun and came out at Hoffman Road. Joe was telling us about the Raptor jet crash last year so we had to investigate. Joe was there to set up a mobile tower so the investigation crew had satellite access. You could see where they removed a lot of drt and replaced it, removing any wreckage and contaminated soil. There was an American Flag with a memorial to the pilot that died. Joe also led us to McDonald Ranch where there was a trough with natural fed spring and gold fish. 
    We ended our trip by going by the Solar Power Plant at Harper Dry Lake stopping at the old General Store at Garlock. We said our goodbyes. It was a long 8 hours but a whole lot of fun. Thanks to all who came out and to those with so much knowledge and experience of our desert.