November 2008 Fall Hike
                    Goldbelt Springs to Ubehebe Mine
Or what to do on a  Sunday morn, with snow, lighting, rain, wind and cold temps.
Saturday morning and the gangs all here at Goldbelt Springs.   Front row left to right:  Skip, Claimjumper, and Red.  Standing left to right:  Dusty, Standune, Cactus Pete, Jeff, Gene, Kevin, DV Doug, Andy, and Jim.
                       Andy's photo of the Petroglyphs in a shelter area near Sand Flats.
Heading northwest and up and out of the Sand Flats area.
Saturday afternoon and heading into the southeast corner of Hidden Valley
Andy's photo of the playa in Hidden Valley.  Who knows maybe in another 10,000 years it will be Hidden Valley Racetrack.
Sunday mornings weather was a surprise.  I remember taking a peek out of my comfortable sleeping bag at about 2:30 am.   Pissed that I needed to get up and take one.  Do remember looking up at the stars and a small patch of dark clouds coming in from the north.  Just happy to get rid of Kevens double shot of Kessler as were my kidneys and liver.  Sunday morning was a total shock.  Wind from the north, spitting snow, supercharged lightning on the Cottonwoods to the east and then it got worse, changed over to rain with a bitter cold driving wind.  So those that were left had to make the call.  Abort, every man, women, and crazy hiker is was on their own.  All least the friday night campsite was only a mile and a half north of our present location.  About a quarter of a mile from the campsite we saw a vehicle coming south, but ever so slowly.  It turned out to be Grubstake and Claudia to the rescue.  They picked up the soggie cold hikers and returned them to camp.  Spent Sunday morning watching the rest of the storm pass through the valley and to the east of us.    Towards late afternoon the weather was breaking up with a promise of  clear skies on Monday.   Several of the group decided to drive out early just in case this was the beginning of something far worse in weatherman talk.   
Red's photo of Dusty, Claimjumper, Drycamp, Standune, and Keven at the                                                         Hunter Mountain Cabin.
Spent monday evening at a local watering hole in the desert.  Watched many vehicle pass us by on their way in and out of Saline Valley.  Comfy, clean, and the rack rates are great.  
Fire danger from the old and dead arrow weed has not been changed in over 12 to 15 years in some spots at the Lower Warm Springs.  Lizard Lee asked me to remove a really bad section behind the shower area and book library area.  It took about  3 days, with help from friends.  Ran across,  4 scorpions, one snake and I don't want to know what that other thing was.  This is the before picture between the library and shower area.  
This is the after view.  What it does is to allow more sunlight into the area for not only the forbidden palms, but also for the new growth of arrow weed.  This year I tried a new experiment on the in deadly missile toe.  It has devastated many areas in the southern Mojave desert that Grubstake and Cactus Pete and I have hiked through.
Over the last several years of visiting the springs I watched it invade the Mesquite trees on the southeast lower area of the lower springs.  Checked online for some helpful hints, to no avail.  Its was either cut the branch off and leaving an open wound or spray it with a deadly chemical from Monsanto.  Neither of which are a good option.  After several years of pondering this dilemma I came up with an idea that may or may not help.  My thoughts wrapped around the idea of:  If you can stop the photosynthisis of the invasive plant growth then just maybe you can kill the missile toe plant that is killing its host.   Did not bring in this easy remedy with me but did ask Lizard Lee if he had any.  He did not, but suggested that I ask around the camping area.  Found a couple from Germany that had some.   Next morning this wonderful couple presented me with two aerosol cans of spray paint.  One black and one brown.  Chose the black one and sprayed several killer plant growths.  Only time will tell.  Its a fine balance in the desert.  One that I can't interrupt in my short life time.  But if I can prevent this green natural monster from killing the Mesquites, then I will wait and see what the results are in the near future. 
All I can say is thanks Major Tom and thank you Standune for taking the picture.  This is an unbelieveable spot in the desert.  This is man's hopes and unbelieveable efforts to conquer  mother nature and her raw land.  Shit it was scary for me to sit back ten feet away from that 90 foot ledge to oblivion.  The road continues over and around to three if not four extreme rock slides.  Just to think this use to be the old south pass.  I'd be scared.  Thanks Stan, just to think about it we were going to turn back if it wasn't for that last five minutes of desert time.
To all,   I want to thank you...  For being there and just visiting a far off place in the dirt.  The hike was abreviated by the weather.  No biggie!!!    For those that stuck with it , we viewed some amazing sites.  Thank you all for an epic trip into the desert, called Death Valley.   Thanks to Andy, Standune, and Red for the photos without you it would be just a bunch of words.....
Link to all of Photos taken By Andy, Standune, dusty and Red