Starbuck's Exploring

Hiking and exploring backcountry locations of the Western United States.

Category: California (page 1 of 19)

Covington Falls Petroglyphs

There are a couple of very faint petroglyphs and pictographs out at Covington Falls. I think most hikers walking the route walk right passed them without noticing.

The petroglyphs are located at a granite dryfall that collects water after a good rain. This is a scenic spot. Shaded by pinyon pine trees, it makes a pleasant spot to rest or take a lunch break. The Native Americans must have thought so too.
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“Three Bachelor’s Camp”

We found a small prospector’s camp out in the wilderness of the Death Valley region. I call it “Three Bachelor’s Camp” because there are three cabin tent pads scattered around the site.
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Joshua Tree “Cowboy” Petroglyphs

A few weeks ago, we wandered out to this remote corner of Joshua Tree to check out an unusual set of petroglyphs. Unlike most of the abstract petroglyph panels I come across, these had a few human figures. A couple of them are a horse and rider, and another appears to be a woman in a dress!
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Par Value Mill

Late autumn of 2017 found us tracking down a very unusual stamp mill high in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. The mill was a unique hammer design called a Pratt Ideal Stamp Mill. Very few of these mills were ever put into use and even fewer (if any!) still exist in the wild, so we were very interested in finding it.
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“Mojave Car Wash”

This is an interesting little corner of the Mojave. I was surprised to see so many old junked cars out here. It is pretty unusual to see so many in one place but why are they here? They all seem to be missing their engines and drive-trains. One engine could have been used to power equipment at the mine, so why six more?
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Cary Ranch Pictographs

A few years ago, my friend Rick and I were invited out by Dick Cary to visit his historic Cary Ranch and examine some of the pictographs there. The ranch area was first inhabited by the Mountain Cahuilla indians. The site is near a natural pass and an old indian trail that connects inland Southern California shrub lands to Anza Borrego country of the Sonoran Desert.
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Summit Mine

High up in the spires of the Sierra Nevada there lies a hidden and seldom visited mine where a trail goes through the mountain.

To get there, you have to follow a steep trail across jagged granodiorite cliffs. A thousand feet below is the old mining camp of Lundy and the views of 13,057 ft (3,979m) Mt. Dana across the canyon are quite spectacular.
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“Pleasant Valley” Pictographs

While hiking in the backcountry of Joshua Tree over the winter, the good folks over at Peregriff and I came across this small pictograph site. There isn’t much to the site, just a simple rock shelter with a handful of red pictographs on the ceiling but it is an intriguing find. As far as I know, it was unknown to the Park Service at the time of discovery. It is in a remote and difficult to reach spot.
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Adamson Mine

At 12,990′, the Adamson is the highest mine in the Sierra Nevada. And as you might suspect, getting there is no easy feat. It is a strenuous 8.6 mile (one-way) and 3,670 foot climb up the rugged Wheeler Ridge to reach it. This is the top of the Sierras. Altitude sickness is a real concern here so be aware of headaches and fatigue. Turn around and head down if you feel sick.
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Jayhawker Spring Petroglyphs

The Jayhawkers are famous for their harrowing journey through the unexplored lands of Death Valley in 1849 on their way to reach the fabled gold fields of California’s Mother Lode. They made it, but only after burning their wagons and ditching some of their possessions. They are likely the first white people to set foot in the vast alkali valley and are credited for giving Death Valley its name.
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