Last Chance Canyon or Red Rock

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Posted by Lara on April 07, 2002 at 22:59:34:

in reponse to Jim's thought >> I still believe that it isn't practical that they would journey almost due East for several miles to enter Last Chance Canyon when his writings suggest a more Southerly course. <<

The Johnson's explain the confusion in Manly's directions several times. He thought he was going westerly when he was really going southerly, etc.

Last Chance is supported thus:

"From Coyote Holes, the boys followed the well-worn Indian trail and the tracks of the Asa Haynes party just ahead.

"Passage through the El aso Mountains was via Last Chance Canyon (map 6 ) as the canyon traversed by the Indian horse theif trail (Calif. Department of Parks and Recreation 1971:78). Frank Latta told us that in the 1940's the horse thief trail going into and out of Last Chance Canyon was visible from the air. Dune buggies and trail bikes have since obliterated most signs of this trail, but we found it (and an arrowhead chipping site) north of the mountain's crest.

"Many people have assumed the emigrants traversed Redrock Canyon because Manly said 'This canon is now called Red Canon.' Since he was not in the area after the stage route was put through Redrock Canyon, he may have assumed the stage route followed the heavily used horse thief trail athat the emigrants followed. Possible his writing assiant added "Red Canon" as a point of clarification assuming, incorrectly , that the stage route was in the same canyon as the horse thief trail. The red and pink cliffs bordering Last Chance Canyon are called Red Buttes. In the western ones are located the Cudahy Pumicite Mines. ...

"Freshwater spings in Last Chance Canyon are the main reason why the horse thief trail traversed it rather than Redrock Canyon. We have hiked all the canyons in this area and have found several unmapped potable springs in Las Chance Canyon. ...

"A spring in the lower reaches of Redrock Canyon is unofficially called 'Mother-in-Law Spring' because of its arsenic content. Another, called Tufa or Sullivan Srping, is 1 air mile due east of Recardo. Howerver, it does not fit Manly's description of being at the bottom of a 'very steep canyon.'

"Other support for Last Chance comes from Sheldon Young's log. 'Went eight miles through deep canon and came into a valley alkali bottom. Went five miles South-west. Found grass, water and plenty of willows.'

"Had he exited Redrock, he would have gone 3 miles southeast, not 5 miles southwest to arrive at the willow corral no know as Desert Spring.

"Later in this account, Manly's mileages give additional support for Last Chance. He said they went 8-10 miles down the canyon and 4 miles further to the spring.

" 12-14 miles back up Last Chance Canyon [from Desert Springs] you find a spring that fits Manly's decription. We call it 'Forlorn Hope Spring' where Manly and Rogers caught up wih the Asa Haynes contingent. It is located in a small side canyon that heads into the main ridge. An old stone house stands at the head of the canyon. Below the springs is a narrow spot, but today it is not as narrow as Manly desribed. Large blocks of the soft white rock are strewn below the narrow portion. It is easy to visualize them in their orignial positions thus narrowing the gap to more nearly the size Manly describes.

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