Monday, April 27, 2015

Manson Tour 2015: Goler Wash

We were joined for the trip by a legend, Emmett C. Harder. He's the mining prospector that befriended the Family surrounding the times they frequented Barker Ranch. He is still quite energetic and full of spirit. When we took this pic we were at Newman Cabin in Goler Wash. As this particular story went, he - with the use of a shotgun -  and a mining partner had captured a desert thief who had been burglarizing Goler Wash mining camps. The capture took place here at Newman.

Newman Cabin

Emmett Harder is about 82 years old now but as sharp as a tack.  He drove the entire way up Goler Wash with ease, talking the whole time about various people who had mined or been an accessory to the process.  It seemed as if there wasn't anything he didn't know about the goings on in the area.

As we left the store at Ballarat the first bit of local color he told us about was Post Office Springs.  Post Office Springs was a tree in a wide spot in the road where people would leave messages for each other, having no other way to communicate.  Even today there is no way to contact one another within the area because there is no cell service, no landlines, no electricity. It is just the same way it was 45 years ago and the decades before.

On the way to the road up to Goler Wash we learned a little about the mining process, which we won't get into except to say there is an active mining operation going on now which was to our benefit because the roads had been graded for the truck traffic to the site where the leeching process was taking place. The road to the wash was in great shape with no washboard effect.

We finally began the assent to Barker. The wash "road" had recently been fixed up, none of the waterfalls which usually pose the biggest challenge to the trip up the wash were a problem. We never had to get out of the vehicles to move boulders.  Emmett's running commentary was priceless. We learned about the different rocks, the flora and the fauna of the area. All was interspersed by stories about the locals, aside from stories about The Family. What rugged people!

The road was narrow at times and there were many side roads, if we hadn't had a guide we could see where one could easily get lost. It's amazing that many of the Family members walked up and down the wash barefoot. And that it is so remote it's hard to imagine why they decided to hunker down there with very little in the way of resources for survival.

Very shortly after we first arrived at Barker Ranch, we heard the loud braying of a wild burro. He was standing on the opposite butte from the front of the ranch. There are two springs between Barker and Myers where they like to go for a drink. When he saw that there were about 14 humans there he attempted to intimidate the group. He stayed up there for hours.

Speaking of wild creatures, this Gopher Snake passed by near the front steps at the ranch. 
They are not dangerous to people.

Some shots of Barker Ranch

The main house

The infamous cabinet space in the bathroom where Manson 
spent his last moments as a free man in 1969.

John Aes-Nihil at the entrance to the ranch

 What's left of a mattress next to Sadie's Bunker

This is what's left of the dug-out bunker where Sadie was hiding when the raid began. 
It is of course filled in from earth that has run downhill over the decades from rain and wind.

Just slightly downhill from the bunker (maybe 8-10 feet) is the tin 
roofing that Sadie used to cover the bunker.

Here is myself and St. Circumstance on the butte opposite the ranch near the bunker. 
The burro was just uphill from us standing his ground.

From the spot by the bunker you can see Myers Ranch

George Stimson and Emmett Harder in front of the cabin beside the main house.

Above the main house, looking down at the pool


Meyers Ranch


Back down in Ballarat. From left to right are Deb, Emmett, Matt, Patty, George, 
Stoner, St. Circumstance (with Rocky Navak behind him) and John Aes-Nihil.

By the way, be sure to pronounce Ballarat correctly or George won't let you graduate.


CrisPOA said...

What a beautiful place.
And wonderful opportunity you guys had.
Thanks Matt, it's as if we travelled a little bit with you guys.

Robert Hendrickson said...

How sad to see the Historical Barker Ranch house destroyed. At least the Sheriff's Happy !

MICHAEL: Keywords "migration" Middle East, Europe

TONIGHT on PBS begins two nights of US military and Vietnam programing.

BUT in the UK you guys get Royal Baby stuff - How COOL is that ?

Patty is Dead said...

Its as if it was all a dream.

HellzBellz said...

I do miss a beard somewhere... one of you... Stoner

orwhut said...

I see electrical appliances but no power poles. Is there public electrical service ar Barker Ranch?

mrgroove said...

Still shocked that Barker stood the test of time till only a few short years ago. Friggin' shame.

Mr. Humphrat said...

Looks like Emmett was cracking a Miller High Life (?)

Matt said...

Hump, definitely not. I think it was iced tea.

Jenn said...

Great to put faces with names. Thanks!

I've been to most Manson related sites several times, but never to the Wash. Must get there sometime.

SusanB said...

Great shots . Thanks to all involved. Love the rusty can in shot no 5 of Barker Ranch. It has twin punch holes! Just like the pineapple juice cans when I was a kid. Did one of you adopt it? I would've . Had to be late 60's /70's. Maybe its at the stage of disintegration. What a cool souvenir.
I know its only a can, but I'm into stuff like that...ok? Lol. Seriously...I am. ☺

Ajerseydevil said...

Definitely sad to see Barker ranch gone even the burned out shell was cool just another piece of lost history

Robert Hendrickson said...

Ahhh, the CABIN - that's where I found the LETTER a young captive wrote her mother - that was NEVER delivered. Bugliosi says HE ordered HIS little minions to take the CLOTHES evidence back to the LA Crime lab, BUT we ALL should know by now where HIS head was at.

Of course, the hicks in Independence will now have to burn the "cabin" down too.

Shame on you Matt: It's spelled Golar NOT Goler - unless the Bug lied about that too.

Tonight has two more Vietnam / 1960s programs on PBS, BUT maybe we should ontinue to tell ourselves Vietnam had NOTHING to do with the Manson Story. Kind'a like the cops in Baltiore had nothing to do with the dead BLACK man.

Patty is Dead said...

Robert patty is pretty sure that Goler is the correct spelling.

MHN said...


Migration. Middle East. Europe. Oh yeah, tell me about it. I don't recall any political parties here publishing a civilizational suicide note as an election manifesto, but yet that's somehow what we're doing over here. And to think I had the chance to marry a California girl at one stage and escape to the land of deserts and mountains. Now I'm married to a European, stuck here watching my country change more radically, more quickly, than any of us ever gave consent for. We were never asked, not by those in power. I know some people will say it's a bit Fox News of me, and believe me I find racism repellant, but it is now an official statistical fact that white British people are a minority in the city of London. Amazing. We're committing suicide, out of shame and politeness and political correctness.

Sometimes I feel like going to the desert to resettle, looking for a deep hole where I can wait out the.... oh, hang on. Damn! He was right all along!

Matt said...

SusanB, it was indeed a soda can from that time period. We left it there, though.

SusanB said...

Matt , you're right. In hindsight, my comment came from the sentimental side of my brain. It might just be a rusty can in itself, but its a relic of that area and should be left in place. I got a lil too soppy about the double punch hole thing and how gooood soft drink tasted back then. be a kid in the 60's/70's.
Rip to Suzanne Crough....Tracy on the Partridge Family.

Janellski said...

It was GREAT to be a kid in the 60's and 70's!!! Life was so much easier then!! I am JANELLSKI. I have been enjoying your fabulous blog for many years now, but this is my first time commenting.... I agree with those who said how sad it is that the main ranch house at Barker's deteriorated so suddenly and quickly! In another 44 years, it may be nothing more than a
Pile of rocks! One more reason for me to take your annual tour
One of these years! Congrats on having such an awesome blog!!
Your researchers and contributors are top notch, and your commenters seem to be one big happy family!! (Sorry, had to!!!
LOL) I feel almost like I know a few of you! Maybe I will turn over a new leaf and start chiming in. PEACE!!! Janellski.

Matt said...

Welcome to the comments section, Janell. Don't be a stranger.

Janellski said...

Thank You, Matt. Will do! 😜👍