Goler Wash - trip report

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Posted by Vidas on November 26, 2001 at 11:06:10:

On Thanksgiving weekend our group of 4 vehicles (my TJ, 2 Grand Cherokees and Chevy Blazer; all stock) planned some 4 wheeling in DV. This is a trip report.
We gathered on Thanksgiving eve in Panamint Springs
campground. Next morning at 9am we left for Goler Wash.
We stopped in Ballarat to check on road conditions.
Some large groups of 4x4s (mostly CJ, Wranglers, and
Suzuki Samurais) left RV capmground at Ballarat and
headed to Goler Wash. We followed them. Weather was
perfect. This plus Thanksgiving extended weekend resulted quite a traffic on Goler Wash/Warm Springs Rd. We encountered more than 4 large groups ranging from 7 to 15 rigs.
Road conditions were good. We have never gone this
route before, so that I don't know how bad it can get,
but some places were quite challenging for our stock
vehicles. We needed a spotter more that in one place.
To my surprize the rout was challenging to better
prepared off-road vehicles. One lifted YJ on 35" Good
Year Mudders broke its drive shaft U-joint in front of
us and caused over 25 rigs to line up behind.
Fortunatelly, another group had a spare U-joint.
Because we left 1 hour later that planned and
heavy traffic we were behind our schedule by 2 hours.
We reached Stovepipe Wells in dark and decided not to
go deep into Cottonwood Canyon as planned. We camped
on a flat 8.2 miles down the trail just before the
road drops into a wash.
We needed to adjust our schedule for tomorrow and
we decided not to go over Hunter Mt to Saline Valley
but rather explore Cottonwood Canyon and Marble Canyon.
I think it was a good decision because on Saturday it
started raining which could have caused some snow on
Hunter Mt. Alright so we went all the way up to Marble
Canyon when the drizzle turned into rain. On our way
up we didn't see any tracks and I have to scout for a
path. We expected to follow our own tracks on the way
back, but rain changed our plans. It got muddy and
boulders got wet and slippery. Anyway, we made it back
without problems and decided not to stay another night.
Overall it was a wonderfull trip. Considering that
our group consisted mostly of first timers and we did
not lose a single tire, we all thought that it was a
success. All first timers caught a bug of off-roading.
We didn't go to Hot Springs but we decided to to it
next time which I hope will be soon.
One "bad" thing that happened was that broke my
roof rack on TJ. I now see that construction is prone
to braking and will have to find other ways of packing
up. Any suggestions from people who drive Wranglers with 4 people (2 kids) on/off road?

Couple of questions to experts:
1. Is there a campground near Ballarat?
2. I wonder how Samurais make it with big tires and
stock 1.3l engine. Do they have engine swaps?

p.s. I will be out on business next two weeks.

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