By: Roger Mitchell
Butte Valley Exploratory Four Wheel Drivers
In one of the more unusual types of Desert Peaks activities, a small but enthusiastic group of 4-wheel drive fans met at 10 AM at the Ashford Mill ruins in the southern end of Death Valley. Our caravan made its way up Wingate Wash with a stop for a brief conversation with a party working at the 478 mine. After lunch we turned north and started into the Panamint Range. We were in a wash and had to constantly dodge boulders. Our route can be traced as a single line on the Manly Peak quadrangle topo sheet.
As we entered the mountains, the hillsides turned green with grasses and other vegetation not usually associated with the desert, and of course the wild flowers were out.
The pass coming into the upper end of Goler Wash got a little steep, but it would have been much worse going in the other direction. At the Myers Ranch we ran into three hippies, trying successfully to escape from civilization, and later on at the Lotus Mine we found four older men, they too successfully, trying to escape from their wives. Both groups seem surprised to see anyone in Goler Wash.
Camp was made near a small stream just above Sourdough Spring. After doing a little roadwork on Sunday AM we were able to get all the vehicles over Mengel Pass and into Butte Valley. From here on the return trip into Death Valley was relatively easy.
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