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desertdog last won the day on July 24

desertdog had the most liked content!


About desertdog

  • Rank
    Just A Dusty Dog
  • Birthday December 3

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    S.F Bay Area
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  • Camera
    Whatever is in my pocket
  • Explore Vehicle
    A pair of boots, preferably Irish Setters or Danner.

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  1. Spicer is off limits now - I think they’re using it as a water source. Donnell is still understaffed though. Listening to radio traffic - they’re extending some ground crew shifts due to lack of personnel and aircraft.
  2. Blew my Jeep Engine

    Ugh, that sucks. 4.0 motor? Those should be a dime-a-dozen at the local wreckers. Of course condition is always a concern, so you might go with a rebuild anyway. Fortunately, the 4.0 is easy to tear down (even maybe a little easier than the AMC 4.2 in the CJ). Get the deck and the heads machined and trued up, new rings and bearings, perhaps a good valve grinding, and you'll be back in business. Anyway, how'd you blow it up? I took mine off an hour after I picked it up. But the rock chips got excessive. I took the flaps and trimmed them short, then put them back on. Now the flaps seem to be the 'right' length and I don't sandblast the crap out of my truck.
  3. Oh, and in a roundabout way, The Orange One is right about CA water policy being related to fires. One of the big bugaboos about logging is sediment in rivers/streams. So logging has been heavily limited or cut off in some places, along with fuel reduction burns, in order to save the steelhead and salmon. So now when things do burn, you're going to get that much more debris in the waters after all. Of course the steelhead and salmon decline itself is a product of state and Federal mismanagement in the first place, and partly the result of the dam-building spree out West decades ago. Which itself is related to population expansion (organic and immigration of all types). I think I'm just more angry than anything.
  4. Talking to the USFS PIO (Diane Fredlund, I think), I got the impression that there were no resources to allocate. There are 3 major fires in CA right now - Mendocino Complex, Carr, and Ferguson. Those are eating up manpower and equipment resources, and the southern part of the state has diverted a large # of crews to work those fires, while still keeping enough reserves in case something goes off down there. From the wind on the 2nd day, I think they bet big on the fire being pushed into 2017's McCormick fire scar. The problem is, I looked at that burn area 3 weeks ago and there was still plenty of fuel. A number of trees died in that fire, but did not burn completely. They dropped their needles, creating a 4-6" mat of tinder within the scar, plus whatever was left in the crowns and the charred trees as well. I'm pretty sure the fire burned up to it, and into it just enough to get around the hoped-for containment. Then the wind shifted at some point to almost due west, and they lost it up the river canyon. From there all that slowed it was terrain, and even that wasn't much help. Once the fire made it to 108, it had a large, flat, windy run through Dardanelle, Brightman, and the cabin tracts. The primary strategy was to protect Dome Rock repeater station and whatever structures they could. I'm guessing USFS policy prevents creating 'defensible space' around your cabin, since most cabins are surrounded by trees and covered in fuel/leaf litter. Or if policy does allow it, the owners are just lazy. Nothing really stood a chance, though. The canyon is funneling the fire upstream, and although you start getting into barren granite in most directions, the riparian vegetation is ready to burn. If this fire doesn't make it to Kennedy Meadows, I'll be amazed. FWIW they have about 400 personnel on the ground. Based on my familiarity with NIMS and ICS structure, about 45% of that # is overhead (planning, logistics, PIO, command staff, law liason, etc.). So basically there are ~210 boots and wings to fight a 13,000 acre forest fire. They need about 1100 to actively stop its spread. Not that I'm blaming the overhead function per se. I don't now how top-heavy USFS OH is (Feds, though, probably pretty bad), but you do need a lot of those functions - planning and ops especially. If they don't get more people up there soon, the best option is probably to send crews well ahead to the barrens and establish lines in those areas. But that still lets the fire double in size. Kid is heartbroken about the Dardanelle Resort being gone - many afternoons 'wasted' there on the front porch, eatint ice cream and watching the summertime world go by. My family has been going up there for 55 years, and Emily was the 4th generation to experience the area. Fishing is dead for a few seasons until the soils restabilize. Camping among ash and charcoal is no fun. I know the USFS does prescribed burns up there in late fall/early winter and late winter/early spring, but I don't know the scale of those. Oddly, logging activity has really picked up in the area, which is good. Thinning the forest helps, and they do fuel reduction in the process. I've seen them let natural fires burn in the area as well, but that policy reversal is recent as well. The USFS/USDA caved to the Sierra Club assholes, and this is what we get. Antelope Pack Station is going to be hit-or-miss on the smoke, depending on the winds. Going in to Buckeye Creek, the skies were clear and I could see 20+ miles east. Leaving a few hours later, I could see maybe 5 miles - the shift was that fast. I don't really know if I am more sad or angry.
  5. On Friday 8/3, the Donnell fire's effects were very localized. I would know only because Emily and I got up to Clarks Fork CG about 11AM on Friday and saw a 'small' fire by Donnell Reservoir. We made camp anyway and started to fish. Later, we went up the road, back to 108, and talked to the USFS Public Information Officers (PIOs). In the 30 minutes we were there, the wind shifted 2 or 3 times, once it cleared enough smoke that we could see active fire. We were listening to the unholy racket of trees falling on the north side of the river canyon (flippin' AMAZING noise). There was one spotter plane (I think it was CalFire, not USFS) and a couple of crews not doing much. Oddly they keep saying how rough and steep the terrain is, and that's true. But I've also hiked down into that canyon just fine. It's not impossible. What's impossible is that once in there, you're stuck. Anyway, we left the area Friday afternoon, drove over 108, and ended up at Sonora Bridge CG (Did. Not. Like.), making the best of things. By Saturday night, we were seeing the effects of the Donnell Fire on the east side of the pass. But the winds kept changing from southwesterly early on, to almost out of due east in the afternoon. So a smoky day turned into a crystal clear night for us to look at stars. Further south on 395 (we took a side trip to Buckeye Creek) the air was pretty decent one minute, and then thick with smoke the next. Sadly, fishing was the pits for us. Seems every time I'm fishing under a sky full of smoke and ask, the fishing nearly shuts down. But, we still had fun. Getting home was an adventure, since I found out Saturday night that 108 was closed. I let the wife know to expect us later than normal via the InReach, and then we took 395->89->88 to get back over the mountains. Monitor Pass was nasty with smoke (and the kid got the car-pukes), Carson Pass wasn't quite as bad, but most of the way from there and down 88 was thick and choking. Ugh. Dardanelles Resort has burned. Most of the CG's in the area of 108 and Clarks Fork Road are torched. No telling how bad it will get since the resources just aren't there to deal with it. Not enough $$$$ at stake to divert or call in CANG planes to dump water/retardant. Very sad day for me. Family has been camping there since my dad was 10 (basically when the area was brand new and opened up to public use). And don't get me started on Forest Management. 60+ years of doing it wrong will not easily be corrected.
  6. Interesting. Spent a lot of time there for a few deer seasons, walked over those remnants many times, camped on them once, killed a few deer further down the meadow and into the tree line. That was a dozen years ago, though. Looks pretty much the same, maybe a little greener. Very nice.
  7. Surreal vibe at smoke cabin

    Wow, very cool. I don't recall seeing that place when I was up there last time, but I think there are 2 roads in, before you get to the mine itself.
  8. The old town up high? Or what remains, I guess. On my list -- for when I can afford a dirt bike or ATV.
  9. We went up there in January. Poked around, and went into one of the adits and the inclined shaft near the collapsed buildings.
  10. Abandoned mining operation Garfield Flats NV

    It looks like you rode an ATV almost right up to the shaft. Could a truck make it up there? If so, there's the anchor. We use vehicle anchors all the time for SAR, and though I'd prefer a 20 ton Heavy Rescue truck, any automobile will do in a pinch. An ATV would probably work, but I'd want to deflate the tires and maybe back-tie it to another ATV, just in case. For a single-rescuer load, it's probably OK as-is, but overkill. Always overkill.
  11. We Camped at this Ghost Town Over Night

    OK. I'm in the stages of planning a trip for sometime in September to the general N. Nevada area. If the agenda takes me anywhere near that spot, I'll let you know. I need to see if there are any maps of the workings, or at least written notes. Helps to know if the shaft is 60' or 600', since they didn't always put stations at 100' intervals in the early days.
  12. We Camped at this Ghost Town Over Night

    Hrm. A bat gate. That's relatively new. I wonder if they poured a concrete footing at the bottom of the gate. If not, 20 minutes with a shovel and I'm not only in, but I've got a solid anchor topside. I may have to pay the site another visit, since I missed the mine last time.
  13. Abandoned mining operation Garfield Flats NV

    Neat spot. I was under the impression that the mines in Garfield Flats were all under private ownership, but this one sure looks abandoned in the least. As far as the shaft you show at 1:57, I'd go in. But first I'd lower the camera and see if it went anywhere at the bottom, and the o2 meter to make sure it had good air. If not, I won't bother (made that mistake once...what a drag). If it goes, I'd rappel in and take a look. Any good spots nearby for anchor points?
  14. Would you mind messaging me the lat/lon of the mine adit? This is a bit of a drive for me, but I'd like to get up there next weekend and document it.
  • Our picks

    • South Pass City, approximately 90 miles north of Rock Springs, is a historic site administered by the state of Wyoming.  It consists of over 30 log, frame, and stone buildings, along with the Carissa Mine and Stamp Mill.

      South Pass City Historic Site
    • Recently, I’ve been going through my old VHS video tapes and digitizing them to DVDs.  These tapes contain my travels and explorations between 1995 and 2009.  I thought I’d start releasing some video shorts of my early travels on this forum.

      The back story for this particular video is as follows.  On March 30, 1996, I made a short hike of about a mile and a third up the lower third of Surprise Canyon, on the western slopes of the Panamint Range, Inyo County, California.  This canyon is just outside of Death Valley National Park.  This canyon has running water running year round through the stretch shown, fed by substantial Limekiln Springs, and the canyon is a water wonderland.  For those not familiar with the area, refer to the two maps.  The first one shows the canyon in relation to the region, the other a close up of the canyon and the ghost town of Panamint City.  The blue line in the close up image shows the route that was taken.

      • 24 replies
    • My next series of videos will be based on a trip in 2000 that I took with Lew Shorb.  Lew is a board member here, as well as owner of the popular website http://www.ghosttownexplorers.org/ghost.htm

      In breaking with my past habit of culling out historical sites and ghost towns and creating short videos dealing with these, I decided to keep the exploring part of Explore Forums in and create videos of each day of my travel and exploration, including our camps.  Scenery, travel, camping ghost towns and wide open spaces.

      Part one of this series, as well as subsequent videos, will all appear here within this same thread. Part I will start in my garage, where I was finishing up with the packing my truck.  The following day, after work, I begin my travels to meet Lew Shorb at Rhyolite, Nevada ghost town.

      Our three day, two night travels prowled about the "Nevada Triangle" section of northeastern Death Valley National Park; and will include such sites as:

      1. The Las Vegas & Tonopah Railroad
      2. Gold Bar
      3. Phinney Mine
      4. Strozzi Ranch
      5. Currie Well (LV&T RR)
      6. Mud Springs Summit (LV&T RR)
      7. Happy Hooligan Mine

      This video, that of March 30th and 31st, will start off this series; and is brief, only being 3:28 long.  Nevada-Triangle_Shorb-2000_Part-1.wmv

      So, below is my narrative of part one of this series to give full context of what is seen in the video.  It will probably take longer to read than the video is long.


      • 9 replies
    • Exploration Field Trips:
      May 1-3, 2000
      Trip with Alan Patera and Alan Hensher into Death Valley

      What do you do with three authors, two 4x4’s, two two-way radios, three cameras, and camping supplies? Send them to Death Valley, of course. For three days in the first week of May, 2000, fellow authors and historical researchers Alan Patera, Alan Hensher and myself explored Death Valley north and south.

      Alan Patera writes and publishes the WESTERN PLACES series of monograph books.  Alan Hensher has been published in several periodicals as well as authoring several books, centering primarily on the history of Mojave Desert sites.

      Alan Patera, who hails from Oregon, came south to California and picked up Alan Hensher; then the two came my way. At the time I was living in Ridgecrest, California. After overnighting with my wife and I, the three of us took off for Death Valley.  Alan was busy researching and photographing for a future edition of WESTERN PLACES, this time centering on the camps of the Funeral Range, which forms the eastern border of east central Death Valley.  Circumstances and changes of our journey lead Alan to plant the seeds of two more future books, this time centering just outside the northernmost section of Death Valley.


      • 4 replies
    • Reconnoitering Trips
      Northern Nevada, Southwestern Idaho
      (and a Blip of Southeastern Oregon Thrown in for Good Measure)
      June 19 - 28, 2001

      This is the trip that I consider to be my favorite trip I have ever undertaken.  It had been in the planning stages since the previous December.  Originally, quite a number of people were invited and had semi-committed themselves to come along.  Over time, however, eventually the number of people whose semi-commitments became firm commitments to this trip narrowed to four.  And I was one of them.

      Below, a list of historic locations we visited – in the order that we visited them:

      1. Bodie & Benton Railway, California.
      2. Stillwater, Nevada.
      3. White Cloud City (Coppereid), Nevada.
      4. Unionville, Nevada.
      5. Midas, Nevada.
      6. Spring City, Nevada.
      7. Paradise Valley, Nevada.
      8. Buckskin, Nevada.
      9. National, Nevada.
      10. Delamar, Idaho.
      11. Silver City, Idaho.
      12. Rio Tinto, Nevada.
      13. Pattsville, Nevada.
      14. Aura, Nevada.
      15. Cornucopia, Nevada.
      16. Edgemont, Nevada (from a distance – on private property)
      17. White Rock, Nevada (from a distance – on private property)
      18. Tuscaurora, Nevada.
      19. Dinner Station, Nevada.
      20. Metropolis, Nevada.
      21. Charleston, Nevada.
      22. Jarbidge, Nevada.
      • 16 replies