Escape Trail

Share information or ask questions about the history of Searles Valley and nearby locations.

Re: Escape Trail

Postby cactuspete » Tue Apr 12, 2016 6:34 am

tronagirl: I don't know a lot about who put up the Escape Trail signs, but I have also heard that the Gossetts were somehow involved. Most of the signs along the route are shown at which you can get to by clicking the Death Valley Plants link at the top of the page.
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Re: Escape Trail

Postby wildbill » Sat Feb 11, 2017 8:32 pm

California Trails Desert Region
This looks like it might be a good book. It was published in 2006. Here's a short excerpt pertaining to the Escape Trail.
From Panamint Valley, they crossed the southern end of the valley to camp in Fish Canyon in the Slate Range. Just a month earlier, another forty-niner named Father Fish died here in an attempt to escape Death Valley. Fish had been a friend of Manly's, so respects were paid before they departed up the canyon. Reverent Brier, who was Fish's travel companion, referred to the tight canyon as "a silent sepulchre of dismal appearance." He noticed Indians observing them from above the canyon rims and he was concerned about the possibility of an ambush.

Anyways, the Bennetts and Arcanes found Fishs' body and buried it. This was during February of 1850. Once over Manly Pass the party went down the middle fork of Isham Canyon. BTW, Isham Canyon is named after a guy named Isham who apparently died there before Fish died in Fish Canyon. From Isham Canyon they crossed Searles Valley and according to this book went to Indian Joe Spring, although I heard that they went to Christmas Tree Spring in Wilson Canyon, which they called Providence Spring.
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Re: Escape Trail

Postby JanuaryJones » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:16 am

wildbill: I'd heard that they wound up getting water in Wilson Canyon also. It doesn't seem likely that they would have ventured up Indian Joe Canyon since I don't think that trees would be visible from the valley, but I could be wrong. Then again I'm not sure if Christmas Tree Spring is natural or not and so it might not have been there back in 1850.
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Re: Escape Trail

Postby desertrat » Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:14 am

JanuaryJones: There's that other spring about a half mile before Xmas Tree on the south side of the canyon. It's obvious from all the vegetation that there's shallow water there and I'm sure settlers knew how to spot a source of water like that. Of course, how would they know if it had arsenic or not? A few years ago someone had dug a tunnel at that first spring, but what I heard is that the BLM caused the tunnel to collapse and then they buried and hid it so that no one else would dig it again.
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Re: Escape Trail

Postby dzrtdwg » Sat Nov 07, 2020 7:02 am

The problem as I see it is that there is no water from the time they left the bottom of the Panamints until they got a couple miles up Wilson Canyon. There were no roads back then and the terrain was rough with lots of obstacles. Going up over the pass by Isham Canyon and across Searles Valley would have been slow going. Once they made it to Wilson Canyon they would have been in decent shape for water as there are a couple springs on the other side. Not easy going, but at that point they would have made it through the toughest spots.
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