Lonesome Miner Trail
By: Ron Jones
There wasn't much interest this year in this Inyo range backpack so I won't go into too much detail about this partial repeat of last year's Inyo Traverse. Only one San Diego Chapter DPS member and a few guests who enjoyed desert hiking. We started and ended this trip from the Saline Valley and after the above normal winter and spring rains, both the Saline Valley and the Inyos were ablaze with wildflowers; the most flowers I have ever seen in the northern ranges. We backpacked up the excellent Keynot Ridge trail where I saw 8 bighorn sheep at about 7000 feet. We stayed a couple of days at the Beveridge cabin, climbed Keynot Pk in snow, explored the interesting old cabins on the ridge and the next day descended to Beveridge Canyon via the Cove Springs trail. We stayed a couple of nights at Frenchie's cabin and read John and Carols entry on May 4 from last year's trip in the cabin register: "signed out of the DPS trip due to exhaustion. The hike over from Bighorn Spring was the hardest day I've ever spent with a full backpack and Carol says it was the worst day of her life ever. Too much rock and not enough trail made for 12 hours of scrambling... .Our bodies couldn't go on. We plan on spending the next couple of days, hopefully on the trail, getting to our car at Cerro Gordo--John McCully & Carol Smetana". It snowed on us this year, the last night while we were at the cabin.
This year (1995) we had pretty much the same route to hike, but in reverse from north to south, on the same rocks, but now covered with 6 inches of new Snow: It was hard again, but because Robert Hayes and I knew where the route should go, the route went easier. We camped at Big Horn Spring and the next day got an early start out and down the very good but steep trail along Little Hunter Canyon and we were back at our cars at the mouth of Hunter Canyon by noon. A long backpack in the stark beauty and solitude of the Inyos is a great trip for anyone who loves the desert. My thanks to Gail for providing a lot of goodwill and for serving as a great assistant.
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