Panamint Valley trip report, Part 3 – Defense Mine/Cummins Cutoff

Fortunately the boys (Scout, DD and Wild Bill) left some beer for the rest of us at PSR. We returned from Goler to find that Bill was already done for the day (nite). The plan for Wednesday was Defense Mine/Cummins Cutoff, which is fairly close to PSR. I figured that Bill, etc might be hard to wake up but they were raring to go first thing in the morning. We left Mike Navone and the big diesel in camp, as this trail would have made quite the mess of it. Cummins Cutoff is the alternate route up to Defense Mine – it goes thru some rough washes parallel to the Minetta Rd and then crosses the alluvial fan from the canyon and meets up with the Defense Mine trail at waterfall zero. We got everyone thru the boulder scramble at the waterfall – noone seemed interested in trying out the ‘bath tub’ obstacle at the top of the waterfall. Maybe next time. About a 1/4 mile up from there is the last part of the Cummins Cutoff. Its a fun route up a fairly rough wash with several waterfalls and boulder piles to traverse. At the next to last obstacle, I tried to spot Lisa thru and totally brainfarted in directing her “passenger, passenger, passenger” when I really meant “driver”. Oops. Bill got video of all this when she looked sternly at me and the cliff I was directing her towards and announced that I was a “shitty spotter”. Ah well. I hope the nickname doesn’t stick. We got everyone thru without incident and up the last section to the Defense Mine. The last 1/2 mile was pretty beat up. Most everyone opted to take a flashlight tour of the mine after lunch and then it was back down. Bill/Scout, Tom/Carmen, DD & Susan peeled off on the way back to find a place to go shooting. Somewhere along that adventure, there was some incident with an attack cactus or otherwise carnivorous plant. One of them should have pictures :-). Lisa, Mike Kline and I headed back to PSR to get a head start on beer and food.


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