Saturday, September 24, 2016

Nice and Easy Visit to Frazier Park

Last weekend I was feeling mopey, and sick, and being sick of being mopey I accepted my friend's offer to do a quick day trip to Frazier Park, north of Los Angeles.

Because there was only the two of us and Lucy the wonder dog, we took his Jeep which has a solid top and doors and power windows.  it may not have the charm of Rough Rider, the official Bundu Trek Jeep, but it sure is more quiet and comfortable!

Let me just say I was sick that day and got even sicker the next day.  If the end of the world as we know it ever occurs yours truly will be one of the first to go from some usually benign flu bug.  

We first headed for the abandoned fire lookout station near Frazier Park.  We had visited this site sometime in the past when it was in much better shape.  I don't remember the commo array being located there and the tower was fit for walking on the extended outside platform back then but no longer. 

 We went up anyway.

A ham radio group was conducting some sort of long distance radio transmission competition when we arrived.  They weren't very friendly but they may have merely been suffering from excessive geekitis, an affliction that occurs when too many geeks are within close proximity to each other.

For comparison, this is a lookout tower on Butler peak near Fawnskin-Big Bear California.  Still in use.  Quite a view from there!

A survey marker at the foot of the tower.


What remains of the inside of the structure

Looking out as the Forest Service watchers did so many years ago.  I remember a Wonderful World of Disney show when I was a kid about life in such a tower, although more remote. It has always stuck with me.

Looking back towards my valley.


Eating is always an important part of our expeditions!

Starting down a rather steep trail to the bottom of the mountain


This area had burned sometime not too long ago



A well running stream was flowing through this area near the Miller Jeep trail.  A surprise considering the extended drought and time of year

Wide open spaces....

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Mojave Desert Trifecta

This weekend Bundu Trek accompanied  two other off road vehicles on an exploration of Last Chance canyon and the surrounding area.  Our goal was to find the Rock House, a geocache location that had been visited last year in May without the Bundu Trek crew.  Little did we know that we would visit not just one homestead ruin, but three!

The weather was sunny and warm, reaching somewhere around 90F by midday, not bad by desert standards.  We followed the number one directive in off-road desert travel, never travel alone!  Two vehicles is acceptable, three is better.


Reducing air pressure in the tires just after leaving pavement.  Lower air pressure gives a broader tire 'footprint' in loose soil and sand and better cushions the bumps and battering of off road travel.



Slow and steady and in low range for best control in these conditions















Time for lunch!

Our lunch spot near the sparse ruins of a long abandoned mining operation.  

The Bundu Trek crewman exploring the blasting magazine across the wash from the mining building pads








On the trail to the Rock house



The Rock house blending in the the boulders surrounding it.

The back of the house.  Whoever built this place had poetry in his soul.  The front of the house overlooks a vista that is breathtaking in its majesty.

The geocache. We updated the log and left something for the next visitor

The front door and window of the Rock house

Seeing this every day could never become ordinary.  From here we spied another ruined homestead on a far mountain.  We were determined to find it after we finished here.













Bundu Trek crewman with the trip mascot 'Lucy'

On the way to the other homestead we stumbled on yet another abandoned mining operation

One of several buildings on the grounds



The ruin of a substantial single room building.  It appeared to have burned long ago.

Notice board, perhaps this was the office for the operation?

Water!  green and a bit slimy but water in the desert.  A trickle was coming from the pipe into the trough.

The mine, partially collapsed.




We traveled across the valley and up a trail to the ruin that we had seen from the Rock house.  It turned out to a place we have visited a couple of years ago with a ruined shack and horizontal mine shaft.  It begged to be explored, something that is not recommended by Bundu Trek for amateurs.



The mine shaft

View from the shack

Looking back at the Rock house we noticed the glint of something shiny in the distance.  I used my 10x50 binoculars to make out a solar panel along a trail.  Very interesting and worth a visit!  It was to be our next stop.




The solar panel was powering a tectonic plate observatory that remotely sends information that reports on plate drift.  A very cool find!



From the plate observatory the ruin that we left from could be made out.  Can you see the red circled dot?  That's where we were when we saw the reflection of the solar panel!

Fellow trekkers examining some of the observatory equipment







We saw many jack rabbits on this trip and took pictures of two of them:







It was a great trip and a perfect trifecta, three homesteads finishing first, second, and third in best ruins found in the Mojave!