One of our primary goals is to help people understand the importance of learning how to leave these vital places the way we find them to ensure they will be open to future explorers for generations to come. By practicing the tenets of TreadLightly! and having respect for the challenges presented, we hope to help our viewers understand that it is possible to fully enjoy the outdoor adventure experience while minimizing its impact.
After a few hours, we finally reached the base of the mountains and began our fabulous exploration of the harsh lower elevations of the Mojave Desert! We found ourselves in the desolate, yet gorgeously painted sandstone walled canyons and some of the most historical areas of the Gold Rush of the 1800’s. At the beginning of the day when we awoke, the temperature was near freezing – now it was well over 100 degrees and our production crew was feeling the strain of lugging our big high definition cameras and sound gear around. This was a herculean effort and the results are evident in the fabulous footage we were able to record for your enjoyment.
This day’s adventures where focused in the historic area of the Mojave called the Bonanza Gulch where hundreds of prospectors lived during the late 19th century. All were vying for their share of wealth and riches in the last years of the California Gold Rush. We visited many of the points of interest of the area; the Holly Ash Cleanser Mine that provided soap for much of the Wild West during the 1800’s, the Bonanza Gulch Post Office – the original building of the post office remains that served the local inhabitants, the Open-air Mining Museum at Walt Bickel’s Camp (www.bickelcamp.org) where we found a wonderful display of antique mining equipment at the unique, open-air museum, The Burro Schmidt Tunnel – this is the legendary testament to perseverance. The tunnel took one man (William Henry “Burro” Schmidt) over 38 years to dig by hand! It was to be a service shaft for local miners to have easy access to a local oar processing mill at the now ghost town of Garlock. Unfortunately by the time he finished his labors, the gold rush was over!
The very last leg of our journey took us down the Last Chance and Opal Canyons crossing some hazardous obstacles well known by local Jeep and 4×4 clubs all over Southern California – one of the more beautiful parts of our route with open mine shafts littering the canyon walls.
Eventually, as all good things, the trip came to an end. We spared a few moments to follow up with our participants to discuss their experience with us, and what if any lasting affect it will have on their lives before we drive off into the sunset.