It was good to see everyone again last week, and what great timing weather wise as the first winter storm of the season hit the west coast with a vengeance just a few days ago. Had a full group of 15 hikers including Dave Green's brother, Al and Don Brown's nephew, Malcolm Cross who joined us for the first time. Hope to see Al and Malcolm again next spring.
The fall hike this year traversed the Ibex Hills and several of the talc mines scattered throughout the region. Our hike began a few miles west of Salsberry Pass on Highway 178, and proceeded southeast over a saddle to the New American Mine just beyond. From there, we picked up the head of Buckwheat Wash and followed it down through some minor twisting narrows. Buckwheat Wash opens to a broad tilted drainage heading south terminating at the floor of Death Valley. By late afternoon, we arrived at the Ibex Mine on the west side of the wash with an old tin cabin and talc mining ruins. Don, Malcolm, Gene and I hiked up to the mine and surveyed the old mine drilled deep into the mountainside and the rusted rails leading to nowhere. We all camped southeast of the Ibex Mine in the broad drainage of Buckwheat Wash as the long afternoon shadows turned to dark.
Sunday morning we continued southeast over the low hills to the backside of the Moorhouse Mine and down to Ibex Spring and several old structures that surround the palms and dense vegetation at the spring. Must have been quite a place in its day.
After lunch, we continued in a southerly direction through the Old Ibex Pass and the sand dunes wrapping through the low hills. We visited the Pongo and Saratoga talc mines on the west side of the hills heading south and finished the trip hiking past the beautiful pools of Saratoga Springs and our awaiting cars beyond. The Ibex area is beautiful for the brilliant white colors of exposed talc mineral and the scattered sand dunes and drifts pushed up against the hills.
This year marked 10 years of hiking and leading trips with the DVHA. Thank you for your thoughts and gifts. I would also like to thank Darrel "Ole Creosote" Tomer who led the DVHA hikes in the early 1990's along with me. I owe a lot to him for my appreciation of the desert today.
Have a great Holiday Season and New Year. See you all next spring. Details to follow.
Regards, "Grubstake" George.
Saturday Morning Group, Saratoga Springs in the background .
Saratoga Talc Mines
View across the valley from the Ibex Talc Mine
Spectacular views from the top of the Moorehouse Talc Mine
Claudia, leading group out of Buckwheat Wash
Hiking down from Moorehouse Talc Mine
Head gear at the Saratoga Mine
Leaving Ibex Springs after Sundays lunch break
Slow Sunday afternoon hike thru the sands of Death Valley
The remains of Death Valleys Mining past
Grubstakes new desert ride.
A big thanks to Grubstake, from all your friends for leading us on hikes throughout Death Valley National Park. We're very grateful for your leadership, knowledge, and navigational skills. Without you, Death Valley Hiker Association would not be what it is today!