By: Bob Greenawalt
TELESCOPE PEAK AND THE DEATH VALLEY ENCAMPMENT
It was a delightfully frosty morning as we met at Mahogany Flat to attempt the famous summit of Telescope Peak, high above the hundreds of campfires of the throngs of campers at the Annual Death Valley Encampment taking place in the Valley below. A light week-old snowfall lay at our feet.
The first western turn in the trail brought the 11,049' snow-clad spire into full view, and all cameras were put to immediate use, along with a well-earned rest stop. Arcane Meadows ahead gave a good excuse for another respite, where the hikers became better acquainted with each other, Lunch was spared 'til we reached our goal, shortly after noon. Two routes were used in the last mile. One, the foot-deep snowed-in switchback trail, and the more tolerable north shoulder. This latter cross-country way has become quite popular in late years. Both pass through some very large Bristlecone Pine stands. Twenty-five persons signed the register and a long lunch period was appreciated on top. Through the low lying cloud banks to the south we were able to see the tip of Mt San Gorgonio near Redlands! It was a weird sight to see all the troughed valleys full of fogs all to the west. Telescope was so named over a hundred years ago because nowhere had its visitor seen so far without the use of a telescope!
The mesquite thickets of Ballarat served as a campground for several parties as the Encampment activities were ablaze in town.
PS Ballarat is booming! An Oxnard party has bored a well, built a concrete block store, and is developing a trailer court. The 300'+ well yields potable water, though it has a brackish taste. To remedy the situation a pilot solar still has been erected. If successful, a large scale still will supply the trailerites with distilled water for drinking... Leaders of the Saturday hike were Miriam Myhre and Bob Greenawalt. Incidentally, Miriam has sought higher ground and is teaching school and living at Clear Creek, above the city lights. Her new address is: P0 Box 246, La Canada, Calif 90019.
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