02-11-16 through 02-14-16 HI N LO Annual El Pasos Trip Report:
Well, wasn’t THAT a party! Woot Woot!
Slickrock Steve, my dad and myself headed up to Holland Camp Wednesday night 02/11/16, Steve arriving some 2-3 hours ahead of my dad and I, to secure the location for the weekend…a weekend that would prove to be one of the best in quite a while with a great turnout! Arriving, we were blessed with the surprise of our brother AKL (Aron) having already been there keeping Steve company and all set up for the weekend!
Once at camp, getting the fire pit lit and things set up for the night, the rest and relaxation overtook the evening with feet up and a beer or two. The skies are incredible out there, with the blackest of backgrounds sprinkled with the whitest and brightest of stars! With the sun slowly coming up, it is a beautiful reminder of just how amazing the sunrises are out there as well! The weather was incredible for February, which somehow always seems to happen out there at least long enough for our trips. Overnight temps were about 40 or so and the daytime highs in the mid-seventies! No wind, just a very tiny breeze occasionally. It was comfortable in shorts and short sleeves during the day! Perfect! Thursday morning was rather lazy; with breakfast around what I think was 9:00 or so. Who cares because we are not on any time schedule and have no demands other than to rest, relax and explore…at our own pace! That’s precisely what we did.
This trip proved to be a little bit on the busy side for me as I toss these together myself. Even though everyone is handling their own stuff, etc. I do feel a sense of responsibility to make sure everyone is safe and arrives without distress, heading down EP11 on a few occasions to lead our new arrivals back up to camp to keep it simple. I had people meeting us up there on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. That dictated when I could go explore and for how long at some times, so I guess I had “some” schedule to maintain, even if slightly. But, I loved every minute of it. I made sure those who did not have radio communications prior to the trip DID with loaners before heading out. When I’d hear someone on their way up call out for me, I knew it was all coming together.
That is it was all coming together with the exception of one good friend and camper whom experienced some possible transmission misfortune, aborting his trip in the name of vehicle damage and expense before even getting close to camp as he was coming from some 200 miles away. At least it wasn’t pure pandemonium this time! Too bad though because I was looking forward to the visit. Next time my friend, next time!
Speaking of communications….We had two friends come up with loads of radio equipment. We helped him set up a base station with multiple frequencies from CB to a handful of various ham bands. His mast some 25’ tall with another 10-11 meter antenna atop that! He set up numerous other antennae arrangements over the weekend, talking all over the country.
Over the course of the next few days, right up through Sunday on our way out, we adventured. Much of the group had been in at least some of the area before, so they enjoyed re-visiting the region. The rest had never been to The El Pasos so had the chance to enjoy the wonder that is this area for the first time. We went from Holland down and over EP15 all the way over to Bonanza Gulch, checked out the Joni Jack, passed the post office and as Jeff mentioned, went up to the old abandoned Charles Hartfield camp where back in the day Charles hand built a moderate stone dam at the base of a rather small canyon like (extremely small for a canyon) opening near the base of the mountain, in hopes to collect anything valuable that may wash down and in order to dis-allow the “good stuff” from making its way down Bonanza Gulch. The area has a couple foundations and debris. The dam is still there and a pretty cool site to visit. It’s hidden in the background well enough that until you’re right in the area, you’d never know it was there, save for knowing the story prior. Closer to camp, we also headed up to Sheep Springs (sometimes called Sheep Creek Springs), WNW of Holland Camp. There are some amazing colors and natural formations in the canyon leading up to the springs. Once at the springs, there are various concrete foundations and some residual hardware for some sort of well and other apparatus. I made my way up to the springs twice, leading different folks on the two occasions.
Prior to the trip, Steve had made arrangements with Ray of So-Cal Krawlers to cruise through Last Chance Canyon from Red Rock Randsburg Rd up through the beautiful landscape, up and over Graduation Hill and on to Bickel Camp for a break. Steve, I and our bud Tim all tagged along. That was a wonderful trip with some super cool people!
Over the course of the trip, we hit numerous trails. We spent loads of time on EP15, using it as the off road thoroughfare it truly is to gain access to many other shorter spots to play. Closer to camp, I found myself along with a few others taking the northern most end of Goler Gulch and cruising around on more of the EP11, EP146, EP26….Great times!
Then on Saturday night I get this from Jeff…while he’s at home…in Ridgecrest…
Finished off back at camp and cracked open a cold one. Stoked the fire and visited with amazing people with great conversation and countless laughs and smiles! Sadly, Jeff had to get home but we had a blast while he was there. Jeff is one of my favorite people in this world, given our thus far short friendship.
Sunday, after breakfast and cleaning/packing up, we had a few visitors and headed out. We made our way down the canyons, exiting in near Goler. We double checked our loads (I had a flatbed trailer loaded up) and made our way home.
Little is more depressing than staring at the pavement after a good trip. And THIS was an amazing trip.
Thanks to all my friends, old and new!