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Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Desert Trek with the Explorers - "celebrates the end of the rough stuff"

The group rallied at the Stater Bros in Mojave.
Our first stop was the Los Angeles Aqueduct Jawbone Siphon.
Next we drove to Mesquite Canyon and after visiting the College Girl adit, continued our drive into the El Paso Mountains.
After a brief stop for lunch at the flat spot that was once Della Gerbracht's camp we drove on to our next stop.
The humble home of Burro Schmidt.
In 1963 Tonie Evelyn Seger and her husband, purchased the tunnel and surrounding land. She passed May 30th, 2009.
We walked up the road to the famous Schmidt Tunnel for a some underground exploring. The tunnel is 2,087 feet long and took Burro Schmidt 32 years to dig. He finished the tunnel in 1938 and it has been estimated that he moved 5,800 tons of rock. Schmidt died in 1954 at the age of 83.
Some Explorers returning to daylight after their walk to the other end of the tunnel.
We walked back down to our vehicles and drove on to our next stop.
Bickel Camp.
The home of Walter Bickel from the 1930's to 1986.
After a quick tour of Bickel Camp it was time for our caravan to continue.
Next stop the Cudahy (Old Dutch Cleanser) Mine.
Inside one of the portals.
Jan with an Explorer, his wife and son.
On the move once again.
Explorers continuing a tradition.
A family celebrates the end of the rough stuff. The other vehicles on the trek were SUV's and pickups but Valerie drove her minivan through the route with determination and skill.
Jan sighted this cool cloud formation to the north as we bade farewell to most of the group and they began their journey home.
 The remaining families drove to a nearby campsite. After everyone set up camp we gathered around an iPad campfire (too windy for a real campfire) for conversation and dinner. After we had finished our respective meals Denise prepared several pans of Jiffy-Pop for us to savor. Yum.
Later after everyone retired to their tents or vehicles it was time for a photograph of our camp.
Our camp at 6 AM
Blog reader Brian Aalberts joined us on this year's Desert Trek.
Soon all the campers had departed and it was time for us to break camp and drive the same road for home.
Heading south on CA 14. Waiting for a break in oncoming traffic I slowed to take a photo of the highway passing through the incredible formations of Red Rock Canyon State Park when a large truck camper passed us and stayed in the shot. Well, it gave the photo some scale.


  1. Thanks for having Brian along, he had a blast.

    1. Brian is a great guy and it was our pleasure to have him join us.

  2. Looks like another successful expedition. Interesting about Burro Schmidt's tunnel. I had to look that up - talk about an obsession!

    1. Always an enjoyable trip, 16th year I believe. Burro Schmidt would be just another unknown desert prospector if he had stopped. Thanks for stopping by BB.