Posted by Bob Manes on August 08, 2003 at 22:47:53:
In Reply to: What's the bottom line? posted by G.U. on June 23, 2003 at 19:16:00:
Although I am not a 4-wheeler, I too am concerned about the outcome of this treasure. My grandfather and uncle took me many times to surprise canyon when I was 14-16 (1974-1976). I have many pictures with George Novak and myself in front of his ore rendering operation at the base of the canyon (Rocky was working a ranch). George gave me gold and silver ore which I have to this day. I continued to visit the area until I left for the Air Force in 1980. I look forward to being able to take my children there some day (ages 8 and 14).
I brought George a six-pack of beer on one trip and we put it in his "pond" near his trailer. I came back a few months later and every single can was still in the pond. Only a few years before, "Shotgun Mary" still lived in the area, protecting her mine. I have square nails I found at the smelter (chimney) site that I still have. There was only 1 waterfall, which seems to still exist as I have pictures of a heavily-moss-covered fall that I can match to my polaroids of 1977. Has anyone seen the infamous "Fishworms - A Buck Apiece" sign at the end of the road near Ballarat? Wild burros were absolutely everywhere and very brave at that - they would walk right through camp.
As for driving easily in the 70's? I think this is relative. Not being a 4-wheel enthusiast (no boos, please), we found it fairly time consuming to travel the approximate 6 miles to Panamint City, especially passing by the abandoned Mack truck partially blocking the trail.
If any one has pictures of George as he looks now, I would be very happy to trade my pictures of old for them. My grandfather fondly remembers George and he (my grandfather) is 86 this year. I would love to spring the photos on him as a great surprise!
Thanks for letting me stand on my soapbox.