posted: November 25th, 2014 | by:Bert
©Bert Gildart: Several days ago Janie and I made a trip in Death Valley National Park that we’ve wanted to make for years. We rented a jeep, then made a 200 mile, 14-hour loop drive from our campsite here at Furnace Creek. About 120 miles of the trip was on a blacktop road, and that portion took us to Stove Pipe Wells, up over Towne Pass and then to Ballarat Ghost Town. There’s where the four-wheel drive jeep tour started.
After leaving Ballarat, this section (probably about 80 miles) took us about 30 miles through a narrow canyon where it then reenters Death Valley. At the point there’s a sign pointing to Barker Ranch, the ranch where the FBI captured Charles Manson.
Not much is left there today, as the ranch burned several years ago, but Barker Ranch is in the news because on the weekend of the November the 15th, Charles Manson, who is now 80, got married. The man is still in jail for murder, so I’m not sure how nuptials will play out, but, locally, the site is generating some interest.
L to R: Ascending Gower Gulch out of Ballarat; four-wheeling through boulder field; approaching Mangle Pass with monument to Mangle.
DEATH VALLEY GOLD SEEKERS
Essentially we made the trip to recall the rugged country Manly and Rogers traversed in their efforts to rescue the Bennett and Arcane families back in 1849. This country is rugged beyond belief and to successfully navigate it in a jeep requires a spotter (Janie) and patience in selecting an appropriate route through the maze of rocks. Hopefully images reflect the challenges and show the country going up and going down as well as the rugged Mangle Pass. Hopefully, too, they project the excitement Janie and I shared as we traveled through this park’s seldom seen back country splendor.
NOTE: Janie has always said she’d like a Rubicon jeep, but I think last week’s trip cured her of that notion.
DVNP WEATHER: Weather the past few days has been brutally cold, with day-time temperatures never rising about 72.
THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:
4th ed. Autographed by the Authors
Hiking Shenandoah National Park
Hiking Shenandoah National Park is the 4th edition of a favorite guide book, created by Bert & Janie, a professional husband-wife journalism team. Lots of updates including more waterfall trails, updated descriptions of confusing trail junctions, and new color photographs. New text describes more of the park’s compelling natural history. Often the descriptions are personal as the Gildarts have hiked virtually every single park trail, sometimes repeatedly.
Big Sky Country is beautiful
Montana Icons: 50 Classic Symbols of the Treasure State
Montana Icons is a book for lovers of the western vista. Features photographs of fifty famous landmarks from what many call the “Last Best Place.” The book will make you feel homesick for Montana even if you already live here. Bert Gildart’s varied careers in Montana (Bus driver on an Indian reservation, a teacher, backcountry ranger, as well as a newspaper reporter, and photographer) have given him a special view of Montana, which he shares in this book. Share the view; click here.
$16.95 + Autographed Copy
What makes Glacier, Glacier?
Glacier Icons: 50 Classic Views of the Crown of the Continent
Glacier Icons: What makes Glacier Park so special? In this book you can discover the story behind fifty of this park’s most amazing features. With this entertaining collection of photos, anecdotes and little known facts, Bert Gildart will be your backcountry guide. A former Glacier backcountry ranger turned writer/photographer, his hundreds of stories and images have appeared in literally dozens of periodicals including Time/Life, Smithsonian, and Field & Stream. Take a look at Glacier Icons
$16.95 + Autographed Copy