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Like a great number of people and perhaps like you, I was always fascinated by ghost stories.. Of course I never believed in ghosts, and therefore never.
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Tour Information Please click on the photo for tour details Please contact us at info explorehistoricalif. Explore Historic California! Not too many years ago, the family station wagon was the magic carpet to adventure. Today, that family station wagon is likely to be a four wheel drive sport utility vehicle or pick up truck. SUV's and other 4x4's are one of the best selling classes of vehicles.

Ironically, industry statistics show that once purchased, few owners will dare to drive their vehicles off the paved highway. Click your mouse through our website and enjoy our armchair adventures and the histories behind them. If you are interested in taking one of our guided tours with your vehicle, please contact us at: info explorehistoricalif.

Several years ago, we bought our first SUV. We went to a one-night class at a local community college entitled "How to 4-Wheel Drive" by Harry Lewellyn. The following weekend we attended the hands-on day tour. We liked what we were doing so much that we began going out nearly every weekend and learned how to negotiate a variety of dirt roads. Our spare time was spent doing research on the history and ecology of our favorite areas. A one-day outing turned into 16 years of leading others on mini-vacations throughout Southern California and the Owens Valley. Our 4WD outings involve driving on easy to moderate dirt roads and are ideally suited to novice and intermediate level drivers.

All tours are suitable for stock vehicles in good condition, although some tours do have vehicle size restrictions. Our tours are operated under permits issued by the Bureau of Land Management, U. Forest Service, and other authorities. We share our knowledge of the backcountry over the CB radio with our guests. We frequently stop to explore mining areas, old and new, and ponder the rocks, plants and animals we may encounter. We'll occasionally visit an old cabin or deserted mountain lookout.

California has a fascinating history, from geologic unrest and prehistoric petroglyph scribes to the "Radium Queen of the Mojave" and the "Human Mole of Black Mountain. Roger, Cecile and Marty.

At the End of the RoadYesterday. Story and photos by Robert C. For those accepting the challenge, the reward at the end of the road was priceless.

Holes in the Desert: A Mojave Crime Compendium

I find it interesting those magic moments can no longer be duplicated. A historic passage that was maintained for more than a hundred years is forever closed to the traffic it was built to carry. Despite stories of pure silver in the mountains west of this valley, the region was given such an evil reputation it remained unexplored and cursed for years.

Only after the Comstock Lode silver strike in Nevada in were these forgotten stories of treasures revisited. Exploring parties were organized to backtrack the forty-niners and thoroughly prospect this section of the Mojave Desert. Darwin French headed a party of fifteen men to explore the area from Owens Valley east to Death Valley in George lead another party into the same area in , but devoted more time searching the Panamint Mountains that form the western wall of Death Valley.

The Panamint City smelter's smokestack as seen in It is one of the few surviving structures today. It was not until another decade had passed that silver was found in the Panamint Mountains, but not on, or even near, any of the routes taken by the forty-niners in their frantic departure from Death Valley.

The rich veins of silver were discovered just below the crest line on the west side of the mountain range, south of Telescope Peak. The year was , and at the head of Surprise Canyon, at an elevation of more than 6, feet, a legend was born. It is interesting to note the first man to scale Telescope Peak was W. Henderson, a member of the previously mentioned Dr.

George, party.

San Diego to Death Valley...What to do in 36 hours? - Death Valley National Park Forum

Yet the elusive silver they searched for was discovered twenty years later only two and a half miles from the lofty peak where Henderson stood. Several books and numerous articles have been written about the brief, but colorful history of Panamint City. They describe how the mile long main street of fifty structures boosted mostly of saloons, and give lengthy accounts of robberies and killings, concluding, like the town, most of her citizens were as far from law and order as you could get. They tell about sudden cloud burst that sent a wall of water down the canyon, destroying what was left of the dying community.

They usually close by saying the ruins of a smelter and a few stone buildings are all that is left to see. Only one road went to Panamint City in , and it still can be found a mile north of the adobe ruins of Ballarat on a windswept alluvial fan made of sedimentary fill left from a million winter storms.

Death Valley NP: Historic Resource Study (Endnotes)

A good dirt road takes you steadily up from the valley floor and soon deposits you at the wide entrance to Surprise Canyon. Staying to the south side and above the deep gorge whose perpendicular banks of sand and rocks were carved by raging flash floods, the road moves deeper into the canyon until it reaches one of the true oases in this part of the desert. The cool water in the large pond comes from a spring that runs year round.

The trees and abundant growth of greenery are in stark contrast to the barren, inhospitable country around it. I learned though, why these bankers pick up a pencil and start figuring the minute you start talking.

Hidden in the valley of death

They are on the right end of the pencil. Early the next morning while Bill was servicing my car for the trip ahead, with some tactful mention of handy gadgets he had for sale, we noticed Blackie coming with a man who ran largely to whiskers. Pete said the cloud was just above him and about to burst and would have filled the canyon with a wall of water 90 feet high.

Pete took a notion the fellow was trying to razz him. Not so bad before sunup. Be hell going back. I want some powder so I can get started. Found color yesterday. Got blowed out of a foot hole. Three-four ribs busted, the doc said. Come to think of it, believe he mentioned a fractured collar bone. You know him Nobody knew it—not even Cyclone. Wore my fingers to the bone scratching out.

Look at these hands Pete held up his mutilated hands. Go in and get it. Bill and Blackie remained to see me off, each with a friendly word of advice. A moment later I was headed into a silence broken only by the whip of sage against the car. Ahead was the glimmer of a dry lake and in the distance a great mass of jumbled mountains that notched the pale skies.

I never dreamed then that for twenty-five years I would be poking around in those deceiving hills. When you travel through the desolation of Death Valley along the Funeral Range, you may find it difficult to believe that several thousand feet above the top of your car was once a cool, inviting land with rivers and forests and lakes, and that hundreds of feet below you are the dry beds of seas that washed its shores.

Scientists assert that all life—both animal and vegetable began in these buried seas—probably two and one-half billion years ago. It is certain that no life could have existed on the thin crust of earth covered as it was with deadly gases. Since sea water contains more gold than has ever been found on the earth, it may be said that man on his way up from the lowest form of life was born in a solution of gold.

That he survived, is due to two urges—the sex urge and the urge for food. Without either all life would cease. Camping one night at Mesquite Spring, I heard a prospector cursing his burro. A moment later he was feeding lumps of sugar to the beast and the feud ended on a pleasant note. We were sitting around the camp fire later when the prospector showed me a piece of quartz that glittered at twenty feet.

Me and Thieving Jack. Chinaman cook. Friend of mine struck it rich. He had a female cook. First money I spend goes for pie.

Never had my fill of pie. Snow water. I aim to build a fence head high all around it and pension that burro off. As for me—no mansion. Just a cottage with a screen porch all around. If you encounter scorching heat you will find little comfort in the fact that icebergs once floated in those ancient seas. It is almost certain that you will be curious about the disorderly jumble of gutted hills; the colorful canyons and strange formations and ask yourself what caused it. The answer is found on Black Mountain in the Funeral Range.

Here occurred a convulsion of nature without any known parallel and the tops of nearby mountains became the bottom of America—an upheaval so violent that the oldest rocks were squeezed under pressure from the nethermost stratum of the earth to lie alongside the youngest on the surface. The seas and the fish vanished. The forests were buried. The prehistoric animals, the dinosaurs and elephants were trapped.