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Sunday, May 29, 2016

Overnight at Della's, El Paso Mountains - "a face appeared from inside"

 We set up camp on a flat spot near the Last Chance Canyon Road at the site of Della Gerbracht's house.
What was once Della's home was razed and buried by the Bureau of Land Management. This has happened to scores of cabins and mine buildings in the California desert.
Photo credit: The 50th anniversary of the founding of the Parish of Randsburg, by C. John Di Pol
Della Gerbracht lived at her home in the El Paso Mountains for more than 30 years. Only a concrete pad remains as a monument to her life in the desert.
 After dinner we gathered around a campfire. When everyone retired to their sleeping bags I sat in the darkness and thought about what it must have been like to live at Della's camp.
 Dawn in the El Paso Mountans.
 About 30 minutes later a face appeared from inside the tent.
 After breakfast we drove West toward Burro Schmidt's tunnel.
 We parked near the tunnel.
 Josh and his sons walked through the tunnel and back.
Exiting the El Paso Mountains.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Desert Trek, El Paso Mountains - "the other side of the mountain"

After the group rallied in Mojave we drove North on CA 14 to Jawbone Canyon and visited the Los Angeles Aqueduct.
The Jawbone Siphon. "Don't call it a 'siphon,'" says LADWP's Barker, "It's a 'sag pipe.'" However, the "siphon" terminology was a popular, if not accurate, description of the pressurized structure, in the era the Aqueduct was built. Without the use of mechanical pumps, gravity works the water down and back up again through water pressure and the width and thickness of the piping. This example is the best-known example of sag piping in the Aqueduct. - KCET
Ryan noted that the sign was difficult to read from 100 feet.
Our next stop were the homes of Burro Schmidt and Toni Seger in the El Paso Mountains.
Then we strolled up to road to Burro Schmidt's tunnel.
Jan and I waited outside the tunnel as everyone walked through to the other side of the mountain and then back.
(photo credit: Jean Conway)
A long shadow inside of the tunnel.
Our caravan motored to visit another mining camp and then onto an old pumicite mine.
Ryan cast a powerful beam into the lower level.
Jean in silhouette.
The last stop was at a pile of rocks that seems to get larger every year.
Just before sunset most of the group was back on pavement headed for home.
The rest of us set up camp, prepared dinner and sat in the lee of our camper sheltering from the strong gusting wind. Later in the evening the wind calmed and allowed Ryan and Brian to start a fire.
Ryan and I were awake before the other campers and went on a short hike before sunrise.
After breakfast the Explorers broke camp and started the drive home.