Mysterious "man trap" hole in Middle Park playa


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Posted by Marek Cichanski on March 11, 2004 at 12:50:58:

After posting about the foot trail that climbs northward from Redlands Canyon / Butte Valley, I got to thinking about other odd things I'd seen on foot in the Panamints over the years...

Several years ago, after my main dissertation work was done, I spent a spring break week camped up by Rita's in upper Pleasant Canyon, doing a little field work. Lily-livered as ever about driving the roughest roads, I elected to leave my truck at Rita's and get into the "Altiplano" area (=headwaters of Big Horn Canyon, south of South Park) by mountain bike. I'd push my bike up over the road south of Rita's, ride across Middle Park playa, and then across South Park and into the upper BHC washes.

While riding across Middle Park one day, (I stuck to the roads while on my bike, although goodness knows the burros don't) I found this strange hole in the floor of Middle Park. It was perfectly round, several feet deep, and the rim was rounded off, like the end of an old musket. I called it the "man trap", because if you fell in, it wouldn't be trivial to get back out. I couldn't figure out why anyone had dug it. It didn't go to bedrock, and wasn't anywhere near a bedrock outcrop, so it didn't make sense as a prospect pit. It wasn't near any cabins or other structures. It didn't have anything in the bottom of it that I can remember. Just curious if anyone else has ever run across this thing.

I might have a slide of it somewhere, if I find it and get a chance to scan it, I'll post it.

Head-scratchingly,
Marek


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