Pleasant Canyon - South Park Loop Update

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Posted by Last Chance Rand on September 27, 2001 at 14:23:16:

Hey boys, this route is really beat up right now. A little bird told me about a severe but extremely localized storm in the Panamint Mountains earlier this month and encouraged me to check it out. It took me couple of weeks to get around to it, but it is still really beat up.

Ascending Pleasant Canyon, straight up the road behind Ballerat, you'll find that the riparian section is a blinding rock crawl along its entire length. Blinding because the brush is severely overgrown cutting visibility to only a few feet. Note, the Rover looks funny with pinstripes along only one side...

The final obsticle at the top of the creek required every bit of my rear locker, then after that, particularly in the upper wash, the trail was in fair condition past the cabins to the top of the ridge.

Not wanting to traverse the same stuff, I figured South Park would be an easier descent. So across the south ridge I went to the lookout at the end, then made the easy ride down to the Lightning Camp in the southeast corner of Middle Park.

I then drove west across the park and through the entrance of South Park Canyon. Though rough, the road maintained its regular and normal appearance through the upper wash, past Chicken Rock, and across the bridge, down to the fabulous Briggs Camp.

By now it was twilight, and I was tired of that 16oz beer taking up so much valuable space in my cooler. What a perfect opportunity for end-of-day relaxation, resting on the cool bermuda grass lawn behind the cabin. After all, the tough spots were now behind me now, and Ballarat was just around the corner.

Boy, was I wrong.

The lower wash, through the narrows, was brutal. Particularly in the dark, even though I had some 500 watts of light on the subject, it was demoralizing to see waterfall after waterfall the entire length of the narrows. I'm sure many of you have spoken these words: "I sure hope I don't have to go back up this later..."

Finally, I arrived at the long-awaited section where the road climbs out of the wash to begin the winding, but usually easy coast to the Panamint Valley floor. You guessed it -- it too was beat all to hell. I continued in 1 & 2 gears of low range across deep washouts and ruts, and around numerous fallen boulders too large to straddle, the ENTIRE way to the intersection with the Ballerat Road.

After nine hours of bonejarring, it was now time to make the drive home...

The only way to improve the condition of this route is for some of you to go out and drive it! I encourage you to do so, but be especially prepared for trouble. You'll need good offroad tires and lots of clearance under the doors and diffs. Leaf sprung rigs without a lift may be hampered by lack of articulation.

And most of all, come back here and tell us all about it!

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