Re: Redlands Canyon
Posted by Marek Cichanski on December 11, 2001 at 02:37:27:
In Reply to: Redlands Canyon posted by Hikerca on December 11, 2001 at 01:17:20:
Redlands Canyon is a neat place, and I'd say that it's well worth a hike.
When I was doing my grad school field work in the southwestern Panamints, I had occasion to hike the length of Redlands a few times. This was mostly in '94, before the Briggs mine (which is at the mouth of the canyon) went into operation. At that time, it was easy to get around Manly Fall on drill roads and then hike up the canyon. In fact, the first time I ever saw Butte Valley was by dayhiking there from Panamint Valley. It was kind of a surreal experience.
Now, of course, Manly Fall doesn't exist, and the mine is pretty big. Back in about '98 I was able to once again hike up the canyon, because I knew the mine geologists. It was quite surrreal to drive my truck up wide, baby-bottom-smooth roads to a point that had once been above Manly Fall.
It's too bad that you can't hike the canyon that way, because it made for a neat trip. The lower part of the canyon, below Redlands Spring, is carved in fairly hard granitic rocks, and is kind of neat to scramble through. Nothing technical, just some smooth rock steps. The spring itself is quite a large area of tules and catclaw. I once saw about a half-dozen bighorns on a slope above the spring.
Depending on how the wind is blowing, it's remarkable how close you can sometimes get to the mine without even hearing it. You could walk right on to it, although I can't imagine that they'd exactly be thrilled about it. (And strolling through areas of active blasting might not be the smartest idea, either...)
Above the spring, the canyon eventually widens out some. There are some fairly spectacular craggy sections, and then the sides become somewhat less steep, but it's obvious that you're in a very deep canyon. It's really an enormous slice out of the western half of the southern Panamints. There are some neat deformed pillow basalts and diamictites (ancient glacial deposits, from a time when the entire planet may have been frozen over).Redlands is one of those really little-visited places, where you're exceedingly unlikely to run into anyone else. I think that the 49ers went through here on their escape, but I'll have to defer to other people on this list who probably know more.
The road in Redlands didn't amount to much, at least in 98. The 7.5' quadrangle gives the impression that you can drive all the way to the spring, but this isn't really true. I think there are some steep steps above the spring, if I remember correctly, Many sections of the road in the middle part of the canyon had been washed fairly heavily, but I suspect that a good-sized party of jeeps could re-establish a jeep trail with a little effort, and may already have done so. I wonder how many people have driven down Redlands Canyon, thinking it's Goler Wash?