Friday, March 25, 2011
Panamint Patty's Death Valley Adventures, Part II
Lots gets written about the Goler Wash but not much about the eastern approach from Death Valley. On Panamint Patty's recent adventure, she and Mr. Patty decided to see some of the places mentioned in Bob Murphy's book, Desert Shadows. Below is a snapshot of Murphy's map. You can see the little town of Trona at bottom left. Just southeast of there are the Trona Pinnacles, which we discussed recently in our roast of Bill Nelson. The photo above should be familiar to you from his footage of his wife and Cappy strolling casually among the tufas:Here's a look from West Road in Death Valley towards the southwest. Beyond this range is China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station (home to some of the most extraordinary petroglyphs in the world: Google "Little Petroglyph Canyon" for more details but don't use Wikipedia or Evil Liz might find out. She's evil that way). Barker Ranch is maybe 40 miles from this point to the right of Owlshead mountain, visible at the very far right.Below: a panoramic view of Butte Valley toward Anvil Spring and Mengel Pass. The large, black butte in the foreground is Striped Butte. It looks stripier in the summer when it's not sporting a fuzzy beard. If you Google-Earth the area, you can totally make out Striped Butte because it's a darkly shaped trapezoid in a sea of beige. You can also make out this trail diagonally on its right.Photo taken towards where we want to go, from the Willow Spring road. Can you spot a wee little cairn up there in the distance?Dune buggies found at the Willow Springs area in October, 1969. According to Bob Murphy in Desert Shadows, "In this vehicle were found a pair of bolt cutters and a spotting scope. They would later learn the bolt cutters had been used to cut telephone wires at the Sharon Tate house. The spotting scope was probably the one Charlie took from Dennis Wilson's house." Damn. Panamint Patty wonders who plundered those little goodies from an evidence locker? The Anvil Springs area where Stephanie Schram and Kitty Lutesinger surrendered to CHP officers who were in the area preparing to move the stolen dune buggies. Murphy writes: "As they approached Anvil Springs just after dark (on October 10), Hainey and Officer Ben Anderson observed two hippies running up the road toward them. Both said that they were fleeing from Charlie, the leader of The Family, and that they were afraid for their lives. They had left...the day before and...were relieved to learn that Clem and Randy had been arrested."Turning the very last corner out of Butte Valley; Mengel Pass is visible. Carl Mengel is buried under that cairn along with his prosthetic leg. Carl died in the 40's, but is responsible for giving Sourdough Springs (on the Goler Wash side of the pass) its name because fried liver and sourdough pancakes were his favorite breakfast.Liz, Grump, et. al. were talking earlier this week about the blue and white bus. The route detailed above is said to be the route that was used to get the bus to Barker Ranch. In the photo below, the bus is sitting just outside the fence line at the northwestern corner of the ranch:Which, coincidentally, is where the crapper now sits, right about where the driver's seat used to be (note tall and short post in each photo to orient yourself):The above photo was taken very near the entrance to the Barker Garbage dump and Helter Skelter truck, in a little draw just to the north, right where Grump says the bus sat until the early 1980's. Makes sense to Panamint Patty. Look at the undercarriage on the darned thing...wow! It sure wasn't going to go much further in one piece!