info on Ward Walters and Bob Calkins cabin

of Death Valley and vicinity
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Hayduke
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info on Ward Walters and Bob Calkins cabin

Post by Hayduke » Tue Apr 04, 2006 10:40 pm

I was in the Denning Springs area last week and came across the cabin in salt basin. Anyone know where I can get more information on Walters, Calkins, or the cabin?

Hayduke
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Post by Hayduke » Tue Apr 11, 2006 10:48 pm

Here is a picture of the cabin
Image

zzyzxhomeboy
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Bob and Ward's cabin in Salt Basin

Post by zzyzxhomeboy » Thu Feb 07, 2008 8:09 am

I first stumbled across this cabin about 1979, and have frequently visited it with family and friends over the years (I live about an hour away from it).

In 2001, my wife and I used it in a Christmas card (with the cabin decked out in lights and us posed "American Gothic" style in front). I sent that card to an address for Bob Calkins posted in the cabin, and got a very nice letter in return. I've excerpted it below.

"A little history: Ward and I "discovered" the cabin in 1977. Half of the roof was missing, as well as most of the east wall. It was also leaning about two feet to the north. We just couldn't let the place crumble, so for two years we worked on it until we brought it to its present condition."

"During this time we did a lot of research and found htat the cabin was built in 1909 and was only one of many that stood in the immediate area. We have a photo of the cabin taken in 1915 showing other structures there too. Apparently mining activities out there were finally abandoned in the 1950s."

"in 1980, Ward and I filed two placer claims on the cabin and surrounding 40 acres. The claims are officially recorded as the Bedsprings #1 and Bedsprings #2."

"We have continued to make "civic" improvements to the place ever since, such as adding the outhouse, and the front porch, and Ward made those wonderful rocking chairs over twenty years ago. We don't know who put up the flag pole, or the fire pit in front of the cabin."

"Throughout the years pople have been so kind to us, and are very protective of the place. I even got rousted out of bed one time at one o'clock in the morning by someone who was afraid that I might vandalize the place!"

Bob passed away later that year in 2002. I finally met Ward during a gathering at the cabin of folks to memorialize Bob. Ward then passed later in 2003, almost exactly a year after Bob (which is interesting, because they were born only ten days apart). I've posted photos of the cabin and surrounding area at [http://picasaweb.google.com/zzyzxhomebo ... WardSCabin]. Someone recently made a wonderful set of crosses in memory of Bob and Ward, which are set next to the cabin. You'll also notice that target practice is a popular past time up there. If you go there, remember to latch those doors and windows before you leave! Oh, and thanks to who ever put the outhouse back up after it blew down last year.[/img]

Deals7
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Where is Dennings Spring?

Post by Deals7 » Fri May 20, 2011 7:19 pm

Hi, We're venturing out to the Avawatz next week. Is Dennings Spring area and this cabin nearby?

Thanks, Scott-

zzyzxhomeboy
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Bob and Ward's cabin and Denning Spring

Post by zzyzxhomeboy » Sun May 22, 2011 7:39 am

Scott - Bob and Ward's cabin and Denning Spring are both in the western Avawatz Mountains area. You can view a Google Earth image showing the location and some directions to the cabin on my photo-hosting site. Go to http://robatzzyzx.smugmug.com/ and click on the "Bob and Ward's Cabin and Salt Basin" gallery.

Basically, go west on Harry Wade Road from Hwy 127 (historical monument at junction) about 6.5mi and then go left on a route going south towards the Avawatz. This route is about 0.6mi past the turnoff to Saratoga Springs, which is signed. From there, follow my instructions on the Google Earth image to the cabin in Salt Basin.

The short way to Denning Spring from the cabin is find the route exiting the cabin area on the west. This will take you WNW to NW to a large wash in less than a mile, and then crossing that wash, it will turn almost due north along the top of the bajada (alluvial slope). It will eventually intersect a route going NE-SW. Lake a hard left here, and this new route will enter a large wash into a canyon in a short distance. Once it exits this canyon, it will turn south out of the main wash and go up a long bajada, gradually turning SW until it rejoins the main wash at the entrance to another canyon. Continue through this canyon, and as it exits the canyon the road splits: one going eastward and hugging the mountains, and the other continuing roughly southward. Take the latter, and Denning Spring is less than 0.25mi farther.

The quickest way to return to the Harry Wade Road is to reverse the route, ignoring the cutoff going back over to the cabin, and continuing on NE down the bajada. Go right on Harry Wade Road to return to Hwy 127. Hope this helps. You'll love B&W's cabin, and Denning Spring is a very historic place (important spot along the Old Spanish Trail).

BTW, another interesting spot to visit in the northern Avawatz is the Sheep Creek Springs cabin and area, where the water of Sheep Creek flows above the cabin - home to a population of Red-spotted toads. The route to this cabin goes south from the Harry Wade Road about 1.9mi from the highway. As it gets to the mouth of the canyon, take a left into the canyon and the cabin is a short distance up. There are the remnants of a talc mine on and just over the west ridge of this canyon.

Deals7
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Thanks for the help and the suggestion.

Post by Deals7 » Sun May 22, 2011 2:25 pm

Thanks a lot Rob! Sure do appreciate the suggestion to hit Sheep Trail, I had it on my list but wasn't sure if it was worth seeing.

By the way, I did some work at your place, Zzyzx back in the mid 80's when I lived in Baker.

Last few years I've been RV-ing in the area once or twice a year and try to ride out to Zzyzx and to Blue Bell mine across the freeway from you.

Maybe we'll stop in and say hi one of these times.

Would you happen to know what the mine is out near the rd. that leads to Ft. Irwin across Silver Lake, that hangs a left at the early man-Cairn site?

Thanks again,

Scott-Image

zzyzxhomeboy
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Mine across Silver Lake near Ft. Irwin

Post by zzyzxhomeboy » Thu Jun 02, 2011 12:17 am

I've been told that it is a limestone quarry, likely used in the manufacture of cement, perhaps at one of the Oro Grande plants. I've been as far as their locked gate. Not absolutely sure.

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Morrie
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Post by Morrie » Fri Jun 03, 2011 10:05 am

Aw shucks, now the secret's out. I discovered it by accident just last month. It was one of the nicest, best-maintained cabins I've seen in the Death Valley area. The outhouse was exceptional, complete with toilet paper, baby wipes and reading matter. I actually enjoyed using it.

We stayed there for 2 nights, but with the nice weather we actually didn't go in much, other than to look around. We slept outside under the stars and used the deck and rocking chairs for lounging around out of the blazing sun.

The mud hills all around it made for wonderful little hikes. At night we raised our LED "candle" lantern on the flagpole as a beacon that we could see from long distances on our night hikes.

Because it's such a popular target practice area, shells littered the ground, but I'm used to that in DV and that didn't bother me. Otherwise the area around it was very clean so it's obvious people generally respect the place.

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ETAV8R
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Post by ETAV8R » Mon Nov 07, 2011 8:22 pm

This looks like a great place to check out and gives me reason to explore the southern portion of the DV area. Thanks for the info.

Disco2Guy
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Re: Bob and Ward's cabin and Denning Spring

Post by Disco2Guy » Thu Feb 16, 2012 1:11 am

zzyzxhomeboy wrote:Scott - Bob and Ward's cabin and Denning Spring are both in the western Avawatz Mountains area. You can view a Google Earth image showing the location and some directions to the cabin on my photo-hosting site. Go to http://robatzzyzx.smugmug.com/ and click on the "Bob and Ward's Cabin and Salt Basin" gallery.

Basically, go west on Harry Wade Road from Hwy 127 (historical monument at junction) about 6.5mi and then go left on a route going south towards the Avawatz. This route is about 0.6mi past the turnoff to Saratoga Springs, which is signed. From there, follow my instructions on the Google Earth image to the cabin in Salt Basin.
Hi, I just joined this site and have been having a great time reading all about DV. I'd like to visit Bob and Ward's Cabin, but I don't see the Google Earth photo with the last bit of directions. Could someone please post a link or the directions?

Thanks!

tagriffith
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Re: info on Ward Walters and Bob Calkins cabin

Post by tagriffith » Thu Feb 26, 2015 1:40 pm

Hayduke wrote:I was in the Denning Springs area last week and came across the cabin in salt basin. Anyone know where I can get more information on Walters, Calkins, or the cabin?
I realize this is a very old thread, but Bob and Ward were best of friends for many many years and found that cabin while on some sort of adventure.

They were my Mother's best friends. I have passed this link to her and I am hoping she will shed some light as to the history. She spent time out there with them and the place is dear to her heart.

N0 02
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Post by N0 02 » Thu Feb 26, 2015 3:34 pm

A very old but very interesting thread. Thanks for a great read.

Hope it still stands and is well taken care of.

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Candace_66
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Post by Candace_66 » Fri Mar 06, 2015 6:22 pm

:cool: place! Another thing for the "to do/to find" list.

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