Pleasant Canyon - South Park Canyon Loop - October 5, 2001
Posted by David A. Wright on October 05, 2001 at 20:55:03:
A buddy and I drove the Pleasant Canyon - South Park loop today. We went in his '97 Wrangler, stock 4-cylinder engine and 5-speed transmission; modified with a 3" lift, larger tires and ARB locker on the rear. He also has a Warn winch, 10,000# rating, but we didn't need or use it.
We drove up Pleasant, crossed over to South Park on the crest road, then down South Park Canyon. The road was like this:
1.) Pleasant Canyon - Fine from Ballarat to the riparian area. Through the riparian area growth completely impinges on the road. In some spots it was nearly impossible to see 20 feet. Expect heavy "desert pinstriping." Water flowing along the usual course of water flow in the road, normal amount of flow. Usual bedrock roughness through here. Just above the first thick riparian area, there was a stretch about 75 yards of large bedrock protrusions, some appeared to be 24" or more. Definitely lift, tires and lockers through here, we smacked down a couple of times. Above the riparian area, the road was normal. Through the trees above Rita's Cabin approaching the summit there was some channeling in the road, but not deep nor rough. Latest logs at the "Hotel California" October 1 before we put our log comments. We took a detour to the warning rock on the Porter Mine road. A bit rougher, but not damaged. Weston's are in. We saw two adult burros at the bathtub with one colt, the only wild critters we saw other than one ground squirrel (don't tell the Center of Bio-Perversity!)
2.) Panamint Summit Traverse - No problems. Dropping down to the junction with the South Park road had one short spot where people attempted to climb south to north and dug in. No problem going north to south.
3.) South Park Canyon - Normal from crest to South Park. Some water damage just above and below Coulter Spring. Sharp turn into the chasm normal. Drop over the bridge to Briggs normal. One modified CJ at Briggs, no other vehicles as of 2:30pm. Below Briggs in the narrows has two bad spots. If coming up canyon, expect a challenge, as it appears that those who came up before dug in in a couple of places, making soft pockets among the bedrock on the steepest climbs. The dark bedrock protrusion at the narrows seems to stand a bit taller. Climb up out of the canyon normal. Road below shows signs of water damage. Worse below the two rock cairns on south side of the road. A couple of places in the lower switchbacks have cuts and some undermining. Normal at bottom last short stretch to junction with the Panamint Valley road.
Louie and Phil Butler thought we may have trouble, but we didn't. Just be sure you have a properly set up 4x4 and know how to use it before trying this road soon - disclaimer :-) By the way, Phil's now driving a new white Wrangler for the last three weeks. Looks civilian until you see the government plates and then the shilloute of the shotgun between the seats coming up from the rear, then the BLM sticker on the side (we passed him coming down below Slate Range crossing). It's a Sahara model, sporting blue and red flashers on the grill, a winch.
My buddy participates in geocaching. We planted three caches along the way. If you're into that, www.geocaching.com. Look up JeepRod at 93555 zip code. He'll likely get those coordinates in tonight or soon.
Enjoy our backyard.