Thirteen miles south of Lone Pine/seven miles north of Cartago, an unremarkable dirt road heads east off U.S. 395 to the remains of two charcoal kilns and thence to the shoreline of the dry Owens Lake. The beehive-shaped kilns were built of clay bricks, and were then covered in plaster as protection against the elements. But why are they here?Read More
The Mojave Desert
The Mojave is a desert of wind, temperature extremes, Joshua Trees and solitude. When most people hear the word ‘desert,’ images of tumbleweeds, rattlesnakes and bleak desolation typically come to mind. In reality, the Mojave is anything but a wasteland. Amongst the sand and sagebrush lie many places of beauty and wonder, and of historic importance. Some are the result of time and the elements, some are the result of man and his efforts to live in the Mojave, both in recent and prehistoric times. Let’s go see what we can find.
The best laid plans are often subject to the weather. I had planned on hiking the one-mile loop trail to Heart Lake in Mammoth, and also to wander around the remaining buildings of the Mammoth Consolidated Gold Mine which are right near by. It snowed the day prior to my arrival, but I was still able to make it to the Coldwater campground parking lot which also served as the trailhead to both of the places I wanted to visit. Fortunately, the old buildings from the mining camp are located quite close to the parking area, so I was able to visit those without too much difficulty. And while I did attempt the trail to the lake, the snow on the ground effectively hid the trail (and it was cold!); that hike will have to wait for another day.Read More
I had just left the neat little ghost town of Ruth's Camp and was heading north on the Trona Wildrose Road. My plan was to stop at Ballarat and then continue north, connecting with CSR 190 and thence to Lone Pine to spend the night. I made it as far as Ballarat, where I discovered that the road ahead was closed due to being washed out during the most recent flash floods. Ballarat now had my full attention.Read More
I’d seen pictures of the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns in Death Valley many years ago and had put them on my list of places to visit. Unfortunately, the time between adding them to my ever-growing list and then actually making the trek to see them was a good number of years. But when something turns out to be even more impressive that you thought it would, it more than makes up for the wait. And that was the case with these crazy dome things out in the wilderness of Death Valley.Read More
I imagine there are probably hundreds of unmarked graves in the Mojave Desert, the final resting places of prospectors and others who traveled across the sands in search of their golden dreams.Read More
As the story goes, a little girl was informed by her parents that they were moving to Bodie, a town known for its wickedness, badmen and “the worst climate out of doors.” Thinking of the remote and infamous town prompted her to write in her diary: “Goodbye God, I’m going to Bodie.”Read More