Last Chance Canyon or Red Rock Canyon?

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Posted by Jim on April 06, 2002 at 21:59:51:

In Reply to: Re: Manly/Rogers escape routes posted by Last Chance Rand on April 06, 2002 at 00:23:23:

"Either way, wouldn't it seem that Last Chance Canyon is well hidden from Homestead by Black Mountain?" - I agree that Last Chance Canyon would not seem to be the plausible route Manly and Rogers took. I base my assumption on my intimate familiarity with this region and suppositions made from Manly's own account: In "Death Valley in '49...", Chapter IX - California At Last, Manly describes their final trek out of Death Valley with the Bennett-Arcane families. His description of their camp near The Homestead mentions the Walker Pass trail as "near here" and further mentions "standing columns of rock" "to the north of us, a few miles away". My assumption that the columns of rock are Robber's Roost, which would confirm The Homestead as that camp's location. The Homestead is actually some miles south of Indian Wells and the base of Owens Peak. (Earlier in this chapter, Manly writes of becoming discouraged to find no snow runoff at the base of "the great snow mountain" (Owens Peak), and then describes the trail branch to Walker's Pass south of that peak.) Manly goes on to describe the next morning's route "down the canon" to reach the "bunch of willows" previously attained. When night overtook them, they went to camp at the "mouth of the canon". Manly then writes: "This canon is now called Red Canon.", and "This was on an elevated plain, with a lake near by, but as we had been so often deceived by going to the lakes for water, and finding them salt in every instance, or poison on account of strong alkali, we did not take the trouble to go and try this one." Since Koehn Lake, in Fremont Valley, is directly south of the mouth of Last Chance Canyon; and their route to the "bunch of willows" would have taken them across the West end of that dry lake, I have surmised that it was, in fact, Red Rock Canyon that they travelled through. Of course, the exact route of these brave men will probably continue to be the substence of conjecture......

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