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Panamint City (Cabin Maintenance Thread)

17232 Views 40 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Tribesfrim
My wife and I are planing to spend a few days up there and were wondering about consumables and maintenance.
Is there anything that we could help stock the cabins with that anyone knows of? We were just wanting to give something back to the Cabins and the visitors. I cant remember if there were propane stoves in the hilton, hippy or sourdough Cabins or not? Any other stuff that we could do to help out Maintenance wise?

Any recent visitors that saw something that needed attention? Please post up.

I also thought this may be a good continuing thread for visitors to check in on and post what they may have done or brought to the cabins and what could be brought by future visitors.
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I just got back, last night, from a week trip. Stayed at Briggs cabin.
Last Saturday the Texaco in Trona had no fuel. Yesterday they had fuel again, including diesel.
The weather is still good, T-shirt and shorts in the valley, sweat shirts and pants in the higher up elevations.
If you talk to Rocky at the store, ask him about "Tannerite".
We gave him a small show.:nuke:
Well, I'm back in town...long story short, we changed our plans at the last second when we heard a large group of about 15 people was headed to Panamint City this weekend. We ended up hiking up South Park Canyon to Briggs Camp instead.

For the record...the hike up South Park is significantly more difficult than the hike to Panamint City. Wow, did I under estimate this one! Total distance on foot (tracked on the Garmin 62s) was 9.08 miles from Ballarat to Briggs Camp...4 miles down Wingate Rd to the turnoff, then 5 miles up South Park.

It stayed at a pretty constant ~100 degrees until after 8pm sometime, then the needle very slowly crept 1 degree at a time down to somewhere in the 80's by the time we went to sleep. Overnight low reached 69-70 or so, but stupid me packed a 20-degree bag. lol.

Cabins were full, but the party in Stone let us sleep on the porch and were gracious enough to share their food with us too. We had a good time. They let us put some rounds through some toys they brought...including a Ruger Blackhawk .44 Mag, and a scoped Mosin-Nagant (packs quite a wallop...effective range of 800 yards easily w/ scope!). I'm not a huge gun person, as I'm about 75% city boy and 25% rural - but it was just plain fun. :)

The party in Briggs Cabin had at least 1 hot-headed moron, and they were the kind of people you'd like to think don't share this area with us. I can't recall their names, but someone who reads this, PLEASE CHECK THE BRIGGS LOG BOOK for their info and look out for them in the future!

Here's the short version...we get up to camp (2 people, 1 dog), all of us completely out of water and obviously worn out and in need of shade and drink. We saw there were people in Stone, so we limped past to Briggs just to check. We saw it was occupied but headed toward the porch. A man and woman greeted us, and I asked if there were any extra bunks...they said no. No worries I said - mind if we grab a spot of shade and maybe some water for a few minutes? He said OK, but then saw the dog - "Is he OK with other dogs?" he asks.

"Oh yes, he's friendly with everything, including burros." I reply. So we head into the patio with the couple and a couple smaller dogs come to investigate us. One of them snarls and snaps at my dog, and so naturally, my dog does the same in return...not a big deal at all, as dog owners know it's a pretty common thing and it's not hard to separate them. My dog is VERY calm (10 year old lab/newfie), and to anyone who knows animals, it was clear my dog wasn't trying to hurt anything, just standing his ground.

Well, in comes Mr. Hot Head...I want to say his name was Fred? He lives in Hawaii, and was wearing some sort of Hawaii Forest Service garb. Well, he rushes over when he heard the snarl, and comes up to me and my dog with a golf club in one hand, and the other hand palmed the handle of a good sized knife on his hip.

"I don't think that will be necessary..." I said to the guy, indicating his temptation to use weapons to separate the dogs (which were already separated easily about half a second after it started...it wasn't anything at all, the other guy just picked up his little dog...I think it might have been a Basenji).

Mr. Hot Head: "Man, you can't just sneak up on us like that. You surprised the hell out of me. You don't just barge into someone else's camp."

Me: "Actually, we've been standing here in full view for about 5 minutes now, talking to two other people in your party who had invited us in..."

Mr. Hot Head: "And I didn't know you had a dog, we have small dogs in here."

Me: "Yes, I noticed...one of those small dogs was the aggressor, not mine. My dog is trained and well socialized."

Mr. Hot Head now sees the U.S. military rucksack, and the butt of a revolver sticking out of my bag...

Mr. Hot Head: "You in the service?"

Me: "Yes."

...at this point, one of the women there who was friendly had kind of asked to no one in particular, "can I fill this for them with the water from the tub?" Mr. Hot Head heard the woman say this and instantly barks, "NO, that's MY tub."

Then he says to me, "Well, no shooting around here. I've had enough with guns. I don't need those anymore. If you want to shoot, go down to Suitcase."

ME: "Listen, I'll go below Stone. That's far enough. I'm a little tired to walk miles down the road to fire a .22"

This guy was pushy, drunk, and short tempered. He also acted like he owned the joint. He proceeds to tell us they had been there for TWO WEEKS.

And get this...there were 5 people in their party - 3 men, 2 women. They had initially tried to take BOTH CABINS for TWO WEEKS...the 2 women in Stone, and the 3 men in Briggs. They "graciously" agreed to let another family stay in Stone cabin, though, after the other family was about to leave in disgust at how selfish this group was.

Anyway, we befriended the group at Stone - a very nice family from Simi Valley. Grandpa (Ret. Navy), Dad (Ret. Air Force), his son, and a friend. When they heard what kind of welcome I had over at Briggs, they instantly asked "let me guess - the jerk with the knife on his hip?!" Turns out they had a similar encounter.

We had a great time with the family in Stone, and we slept on the porch. The only side trip was up to Suitcase, and we hiked all the way past it to the peak of that hill. The rest of the weekend was just relaxing, napping, and a little bit of shooting (they drove down to the bend near the road to Suitcase to appease the jerk in Briggs).

I will NOT be doing that one on foot again - I think I'll wait until I have another 4x4, hopefully in time for Fall Haul. Depending on work schedule, I should be able to get out there again sometime between September and December. Until next time!
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I am sorry people have to be like that. It sounds like you still had a good trip.
Until their is a major rain, you don't need much to get to Briggs.
Example from 2011:
Stock tires.:lmao:

Bone stock KIA!^^^^


Upgraded KIA!:lmao:

Rock sliders on a KIA!
He hasn't finished them yet, but still!

If you took any pictures, please share them.
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You know what, I was actually looking at those Sportages, but they're out of my price range. LOL! My quandary is that I'm trying to find a "fuel efficient" 4x4. The hardest stuff I do is the PV area and maybe Deep Creek/John Bull, so I don't need anything extreme.

I was looking at Samurais/Sidekicks and Sportages, but then started looking at XJ's, ZJ's, and Monteros (even though they aren't good on gas, I'm more familiar with them).

I prefer an enclosed (SUV) body...if you have any other ideas, shoot them to me here or via PM! ;) Thanks!

Oh, almost forgot...no camera this trip, we were packed too heavy as it was! :shaking::grinpimp: Next time!
The only thing I know about that KIA, is that it has an actual low range in the t-case. That is a plus. He lifted it since last year, but I have to admit, I never inspected it. I do know he burned a quarter tank, while every one else was filling up with gas cans.
If I remember, I will e-mail him for more info.
I got a question, in reference to the 2 week campers. When does camping become squatting and what could be done if a group of folks just decides to move into one of these old places?

Does BLM have a 14 day rule like the Corps and National Parks do? Who would enforce it? Do rangers/game wardens actually make it out to these places on a regular basis?

Would suck to lose a place to tweakers or other social dropouts.
My wife and I will be headed up this fall at some point. Anyone been up in a while? How's the rodent problems? Decon and bleach are on the list but wondering about plumbing parts or anything else.
I have a tentative trip on my calendar for next month but its starting to look like Im gonna have to push it a little.

As far as whats needed up there, I havnt heard much in a while. The bleach is always good, but I feel personally that the d-con is pointless. Look where you are. Theres gonna be rodents. Best thing (I feel) is to keep the place clean and fill holes with steel wool or cover them completely with hardware cloth.

Haul out trash. Especially the wine bottles that seem to collect on top of the cabinets in the kitchen in the Hilton. :D

I have a tentative trip on my calendar for next month but its starting to look like Im gonna have to push it a little.

As far as whats needed up there, I havnt heard much in a while. The bleach is always good, but I feel personally that the d-con is pointless. Look where you are. Theres gonna be rodents. Best thing (I feel) is to keep the place clean and fill holes with steel wool or cover them completely with hardware cloth.

Haul out trash. Especially the wine bottles that seem to collect on top of the cabinets in the kitchen in the Hilton. :D


I agree for the most part on the rodent issues and know they will be there. But killing as many as possible helps keep them in check. I grew up on a ranch and if we let the mice population go in the barn it got insane! If they have food and shelter it's game on, population explosion. If their food is decon= less rodents. But I totally agree the filling holes and keeping them out is the most ideal.

Top for the fall crowd going up. Updated us on stuff you did or needs to be done. Share what you gave back to Panamint.
Justin, I'm not sure if I sent this to you back when it was compiled, it's a little dated but might be of some use. 5/12 from "Tom"

cabin info

The Hilton
Toilet may be cracked OR wax seal has failed, also toilet rocks badly
from front to rear. There s/b no rock at all. I saw no obvious
crack. Plywood may be weak from previous water damage. The (garden
style) faucet is missing. so any re-plumbing needs more plastic
pipe & adapters, couplings, etc.

My assumption is that the wax seal is broken. My local hardware
store has a better than wax option: A $9 FluidMaster 7500 toilet
bowl gasket. I do not think the T-shaped bolts to flange need to be
replaced as they are about 2 years old.

No water at kitchen sink faucet. There is a 5 gallon, white plastic
container on sink. Water flow at maintenance shed is great.

I hiked up a used but working faucet to install, but old faucet needs
a vise grip which opens to about 1 inch as flex hose has no hex
flats, just a knurled area to grip. I assume 1/2 inch pipe threads
at both ends of flex hose. Flex should be reusable. My faucet needs
qty 2 of 8-inch crescent wrenches to install.

I did NOT try to turn on water supply faucet on north side since
bathroom hose has no faucet.

Green plastic storage container, stove and refrig have been moved
from kitchen to stone compound

At refrig location, there is now a make shift table (which is ok and
seems stable).

Rodent control: the cabin mouse uses an opening at top of counter
backsplash to get to counter-top. I sealed with silver duct tape. A
can of expanding foam insulation for use at backsplash and under sink
& cabinet would greatly help.

Window screens
All windows could use screens. Home Depot has screen, pieces.
Qty location size
2 living room 22.25 x 33.5
3 all others 16 5/8 x 34 5/8

Living Room
Floor is a little worse than my last trip.
Kerosene lamp has broken flue. Try Electronics, Cars, Fashion, Collectibles, Coupons and More Online Shopping | eBay for "chimney flue, 3
inch base"

Some trash outside, but mostly ok.

Privy: since the Hilton toilet is not available, someone has dug a
narrow, long trench in front of maintenance shed, cider blocks for
toilet seat support, and a piece of plywood for a cover. Reasonable,
but not a great long term solution.

The Castle
Kitchen faucet now has water.
Front door latch drawbar is broken, requires welding.
Side door needs outside eyehook; a set of qty 2 eye-hooks at 2 1/2
inch length, ACE hardware 76473, are at Hilton on closet shelf, but I
had no tools to install. I suspect that a pilot hold needs to be
drilled in door and jam.
The second eyehook could be used on front door.

Water supply: a visitor reported that hose just uphill needs qty. 2
of hose clamps to stay attached at a joint. I did not verify. He
may have used nylon cable ties from Hilton closet shelf.

The cabin is in really sad & bad shape.
Front door
The wood on the door for the lower hinge is completely rotted away.
Door is held in place by table. The door also needs a much better
door jam.

Rodent droppings are everywhere. Any cleanup would need heavy-duty
dust masks.

Front door suggestions
(32 5/8 x 78 inches)
Hinges are 2 x 3 1/2 inches

Option 1: repair
Just replace rotten 2/4. This may be difficult as exterior skin may
be very hard to remove and reuse.

Option 2: new door
Completely replace door. I would not want to minimize the effort
that this would require. Battery powered drill and sawzall, drill
bits; misc items such hammers & chisels, etc.

Wood on cabin side appears ok. The stone compound has several studs
which could be removed without harming structure. Plywood pieces in
interior can also be removed and cut to size. Also, in short tunnel
adjacent to Lewis tunnel is a piece of 1 1/8 inch T&G plywood in
great condition. Door latch is a problem.

Option 2:
Repair windows, and then set up to use doors in storage shed.

Needs new window glass
qty 1 at 8 x 8 5/8
qty 1 at 8 x 8 5/8
wood edge to wood edge
be sure to allow more than normal creepage since opening is not quite square.

all of the 4 windows (3x3, 2x2) need points and glaze. That's a lot
of glaze. The larger size windows seem ok.

storage shed
The external door is open; floor near door has holes. The interior
door is open, but will close and seal; also needs an eyehook to help
stay closed.

water supply
no water at kitchen sink. Shawn & I did not find the main water
shut-off valve, but I later did. It is on the north side, buried
under or covered by a piece of sheet metal, which is covered by
rocks. Some work is needed. There is only a pee sized stream
exiting plastic pipe.

Water supply pipes
a 1 inch white plastic pipe exits from dirt. a 3/4 inch metal pipe
(which is about 1 inch OD) is jammed inside the plastic pipe. This
3/4 inch metal pipe attaches to a gate valve with 3/4 inch threads
(which leaks badly when closed). Downhill side of valve has a 3/4 to
1/2 inch adapter, then an 90 deg. elbow, a shortish nipple which is
not threaded into elbow (appears to have been just pushed into
elbow), then another elbow / nipple / union to connect to cabin
pipes. I do have a camera photo of pipes.

Water supply pipes suggestions
The goal is replace existing kludge (from plastic pipe to union) with
as much (slip joint) plastic as possible, not break open the union,
and make last connection as solvent joint via slip joint.

Process, hacksaw required: to 1 inch plastic pipe, add a (slip
joint) coupling and a short 1 inch pipe (Hilton closet); a 1 inch
slip to 3/4 MPT adapter, a new gate valve (on Hilton closet shelf), a
MPT to slip joint adapter, 90 deg. slip joint elbow, nipple, 90
deg. slip joint elbow. slip joint to FPT, then to union.

The Hilton has qty 2 of 1 inch coupling, a 3/4 gate valve (2 pipe
wrenches needed to remove LARGE adapter). Slip-joint solvent on
shelf may be OK, may be iffy.

The gate valve is 3/4-inch size threads, but plastic pipe adapter
with 3/4 MPT would only thread in about 1 1/2 turns. Strange.

Bow saw needs a screw or 1/4 inch bolt to attach blade to frame.
Some trash outside, but mostly ok.

added info on overflow cabin
Option for Overflow Cabin
Have visitors use the storage shed doors instead of repairing the
main door. My memory says that the interior door will close, seal,
and can be latched.

There may be a small hole in cabin floor between kitchen area and
living area. I do not quite remember. A small piece of sheet metal
and some wood screws should work.
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Awesome, great list with good detail.

I wish I could get confirmation on the water line at the castle. Last winter a guy said he had a group coming up and said make him a list of need to do's. He said they were going to pack in a bunch of black tubing to replace the PVC from the spring to the castle. And fix the toilet in the Hilton. Not sure if they ever did anything
We are headed hack soon, probably thanksgiving. Any scoop on what needs fixing?
There's a few things that could use some attention. Sent you a PM.

Headed back in a few days. Getting ready to do some work up there. Bringing 3 folks for a couple days of cabin wrenching.
I am thinking about checking out Barker Ranch. Anyone know the condition of Goler wash road? Coming in from the Ballarat side (west side)
Should be fine in a stock 4x4.

Should be fine in a stock 4x4.


Thanks for that. I will report back on that road as well as cabin maintenance once we get back into service.

Hey Justin,
Names Alex. I'm heading up to Panamint with five people this Friday. Bringing in some repair supplies as well. Nails, bleach, wood glue, 1.5" repair couplings. Will try and pack out any trash we find too. Anything you can recommend bringing? Are you staying in the Hilton? We were going to head to the castle if it's open. But id be willing to make other arrangements if need be. Just let me know.
I am thinking about checking out Barker Ranch. Anyone know the condition of Goler wash road? Coming in from the Ballarat side (west side)
It was fine during Panamint Valley Days - the first waterfall area might require a little more effort for a stock 4x4, but the rest was reported to be ok.
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