It's funny how one thing leads to another. When we read Colin Fletcher's The Man from the Cave while doing research for our hike to Chuckawalla Bill's cabin, we came across a comment by one of Bill's friends. He mentioned that whenever Bill was out prospecting and camped at Cottonwood Spring, he always made it a point to go visit Lee Lyons, an old prospecting buddy, "who had built himself a cabin over at Conejo Well, about ten miles away, and had lived there for about three years. He had three burros and would get a little gold, not much, from up behind his camp." He then went on to say, "I remember that Bill really liked Lee's camp. Thought it was one of the most beautiful places in the desert. And it was a beautiful place he had there, right enough. Water piped down and all that." That image got lodged in our brains and eventually curiosity got the better of us. What does the Conejo Well area look like today? Is there anything left of the idyllic camp that Lee Lyons built there? There's only one way to find out!
This morning we've grabbed a campsite at Cottonwood Spring to serve as our base camp for the hike. Our packs, which sit expectantly on the picnic table, are heavy with water and camping gear since it's just a little too far to hike out to Conejo Well, have plenty of time to explore it, and then hike back all in the same day. Also, since we're going to be out there, we've decided that we want to do a bit of a detour to check out another prospect. That will add a couple more miles to the total. Camping overnight at Conejo Well seems like the only solution and should be a lot of fun. Mohave Blake is going to arrive at our base camp campsite later this morning and keep an eye on the Jeep in between his hikes to Cottonwood Spring, Wood Spring, and to explore a surviving section of the old wagon road that bypasses the water fall below Cottonwood Spring. We'll be looking forward to seeing him tomorrow afternoon when we return from our adventure.
So, are you as curious as we are about what we'll find? Let's hit the trail then and take a hike back into the past! Just click on the photo link below to get started.