16-May-2004 -- Fellow confluence hunter Shawn Fleming eMailed me a while back about attempting 37N 118W. The day before the confluence I did a little geodashing around the Eastern Sierras.
The paved road from Highway 168 out of Big Pine, CA, Death Valley Rd was nice with a few sharp curves. The dirt road known as Saline Valley Road was bumpy in spots, but generally a typical hard-pack road. A couple spots around 10-15mph but 35mph generally.
I reached our campsite Saturday late afternoon. I met his lovely family, discussed the route and we hunkered down for the night. Early the next morning we started out to the confluence. Relying heavily on Jack Frickey's account, we didn't think it would take 6 hours to hike 6 miles roundtrip. Considering it was a wash.
How wrong we were. The first 3 miles was fine, no problem. But, the last quarter mile or so was brutal. The hike itself was easy, the brush and thicket in the wash near the confluence is another story. It took a good 45 minutes to traverse the last quarter mile. With the use of gloves and a hand saw, we were able to reach the point. Well, I was scratched up and had blisters like crazy. So I opted for "close enough" I stayed in the wash at 90 meters from the confluence. I took my pics while Shawn made it up the side of the canyon and zeroed out his GPS.
One interesting note is the fact that we saw footprints in the wash leading in and out of the area. They seemed pretty fresh and it's a good possibility that someone had reached the point not too long before. Now, while we didn't see the footprints near the confluence, near the confluence the was was not as sandy.
Coming back we made a little better time I think. The 4WD path lead us out of the wash and back to the road and camp. We saw a headless Kangaroo rat, plenty of poppies, deer bones and leg, glass jars, rusty metal cans, the footprints and a chainlink fence along the northern bank of the wash with only 3 posts spanning from the bottom to the top of the wash.
When we came back to camp, rested a little, cleaned up, re-hydrated and parted ways with the Fleming family. The trip back to Big Pine seemed to be quicker than coming in. I kept driving and decided not to stop until I got home.