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| Debbie Miller Marschke | Trip Reports

2012 Trip Report - DE Rendezvous - Turtle Mountains Introduction

Turtle Mountains Introduction

by Deb Miller Marschke

I had worked with Dave Given and Bob Rodemeyer in  coordinating our trips to the Turtle Mountains area.  We had unknowingly planned  trips for the same area, but through conference and planning our trips were  different.  The only common quality was traveling from Needles south on the 95.   We had our groups line up in the same place. It was a little chaotic at first,  but we managed to get both groups lined up and sorted out ;Bob & Dave’s group  were at the lead of the pack, and our group comprised the second half.  Bob &  Dave peeled off the highway and headed for West Well.  Steve and I had eleven  vehicles with us:  Ron Ross & Nancy McClean, Bill & Barbara Gossett, . Our trip  was focused on the mineral resources that are found in the Turtle Mountains.   Steve and I were traveling in our Jeep CJ without a roof – it was a cold day  that threatened of rain.  Sometimes, rain would lightly spit on us, but not  enough to soak.  It was never raining when our group exited the vehicles to  explore.

Our first stop was at the Lost Arch Inn, where Charley Brown resided  as a miner with his partner Jesse Kraik from 1922 to 1942.  I told the group the  tale of the Lost Arch Mine,  where a prolific abundance of  gold was said to be  located directly under a natural arch.  Of course, as in all lost mine tales,  the exact location had been lost and never relocated.  It is said that there are  many natural arches within the Turtle Mountains, and my perusal of the Desert  Magazine Index demonstrated that the legend has been the catalyst for many  countless adventures, most likely ongoing.  One of the two cabins are still  standing, but don’t wait long to see the last one because it is rapidly  deteriorating.  Steve and I lead the group past the cabin south, along an  increasingly rough track. At one point there was one steep spot when the trail  elevation  dropped about 20 feet from the edge of the wash to the bottom, but  this did not impede the group.  We continued past the remains of Carson’s Well  and parked in a wide area to collect rocks . This particular spot had nice  specimens of red and striped jasper.  Immediately the group fanned out to  harvest some good polishing rocks.  Even if some of the group was not  collecting, the scenery was spectacular.  The peaks and features of the Turtle  Mountains are reason enough to make this journey.  We got moving again, exiting  the way we had entered, and again past the Lost Arch Inn.  We criss crossed  paths with Dave & Bob’s group, who had just arrived at the Lost Arch Inn (yes!  Perfect timing as we had previously discussed…we thought it would be  serendipitous to have both groups cross paths).   We wound our way out of this  section of the mountains and traveled along the East Mojave Heritage Trail  westbound.  We skipped some features which we planning on visiting on our way  back, and continued to Chalcedony Hill.  I advised the group to eat lunch right  away, as once the collecting of rocks began, there would be no stopping!  Marion  Johns had already had lunch, and she was the first to march up Chalcedony Hill.  It wasn’t long before she could been seen hunched over, scouring the ground for  treasures.   The rest of the group followed soon thereafter.  The walk from the  road begins by traversing flat areas with the goal for getting one’s self as  high upon the side of Chalcedony Hill as you can.  Easier said than done…once  you start finding chalcedony, progress is completely impeded and sometimes  halted!  The chalcedony is milky white  to clear quartz rock that forms in  blobs, ribbons, and bubbles. Some of the material found are chalcedony “roses”  which are flower-like buttons of quartz. Some have druzy crystals that sparkle  and some form chambers like arches or have geode-like qualities.  Any way you  describe them, they are intriguing and addicting to pick up.  At one point I  made a 360 degree turn to observe a good number of our group spread all over  Chalcedony Hill, bent over and picking up rocks like an adult easter egg hunt.   At one point, Nancy McClean stood up straight, looked off into the distance,  and declared “ Have any of you taken a good look out there? It’s beautiful!”   Indeed it was, we had reached a time of day where shadows accent the scenery and  uplight others.  When I was sure that the group had enough collecting, we began  the trek back.  We had opportunity to stop at the landmark Quartz Knob, which is  a huge pedestal of quartz smack in the middle of desert floor.  We investigated  the ruins of an old cabin, and stopped at the mailbox on the EMHT, where some of  us signed in.  All in all it was a very pleasant trip, the weather held out for  us, and everyone had an interesting day.