Photo:Jef and team on the ground in Death Valley in search of the ancient cave system.
Several years ago, we reprinted an article originally printed in the San Diego Union on August 4, 1947 entitled;â€ť Ancient Civilization Beneath Death Valley? EXPEDITION REPORTS NINE-FOOT SKELETONS.
This was a rather prominent article of the time concerning the alleged discovery of an ancient cave complex located in Death Valley which contained remnants of an ancient civilization and nine foot giants. The story eventually disappeared from the papers but we were able to find some possible collaborative evidence in the form of a mention of the discovery in a government archeologistâ€™s papers.
In recounting the discovery, one of the principals; Hill claimed: “These giants,” said Hill, “are clothed in garments consisting of a medium length jacket and trouser extending slightly below the knees. The texture of the material is said to resemble gray dyed sheepskin, but obviously it was taken from an animal unknown today.”
S8int.com also included a number of other articles concerning the same cave system including descriptions of the area. With the advent of Google Maps and satellite photos of the area, those interested in the story have tried to find the location of the cave system. Weâ€™ve since had a number of updates about these aerial, virtual searches. Since our original article s8int.com has added nothing to the story but has only served to print comments and additional stories by others interested in the Death Valley Caves, if they exist.
The search has recently focused on an area known as the scorpions, near Panamint Springs in Death Valley. There is a belief by some that the aerial maps of the area have been “airbrushed”. Scott S. who has supplied some updated material is a guy who has spent some of his vacations searching for the caves for up to a week at a time. He says he only lives 1,000 miles away. Disneyland is closer, I’m sure.
Recently, Jef Anderson, another adventurer and some of his compatriots took the possible coordinates of the cave system and set out for Death Valley. Here is an account of their journey.
Panamint Mountain Scorpions
Who says thereâ€™s no Intelligent Design?
Dateline: 2/14/11 â€“ by Jef Anderson
All Photos and Text Copyright Jef Anderson, 2011
36 31 23.67 N, 117 03 54.90 W
Below, Left: Bing Maps
36 31 23.67 N, 117 03 54.90 WAs near as I can tellâ€¦ these images started appearing on all three major satellite mapping websites at approximately the same time â€“ On January 14, 2009 Wouter W. of The Hague, Netherlands found this Google Earth image (the first image), which has since been removed from the Google sites, but can still be found by inputting the Long/Lat coordinates into the other map services.
Itâ€™s an extremely curious image, seemingly a massive geoglyph of a pair of Scorpions (or maybe Lobsters) positioned in the heart of the Panamint Mountains, in Death Valley California, and only visible from satellites or high flying aircraft, which would make the size on par with the Nazca geoglyphs.
On February 12, 2011 a group of 7 men set out to reach those GPS coordinates. The demographics of our group was comprised mainly of Educators, a few of them being former History teachers, all with Masterâ€™s degrees. Most of the members are experienced High Sierra outdoorsmen, having conquered several 14k peaks, with years of experience heading into extreme conditions.
This experience led us to choose February as the time to attempt this trek. We had great weather, temperatures ranging from 32Âş to 78Âş. Sudden thunder storms are really the only danger at this time of year, but we had blue skies and little to no wind. This window of temperate weather only occurs a few weeks every year before the legendary heat returns.
We decided to seize the opportunity.
Armed only with satellite maps and handheld GPS units, we set out from Salt Creek. There are no trails or paths heading toward the Scorpions, so we struck out across the one of the most inhospitable deserts in the Americaâ€™s. The trackless journey took us across many types of terrain, rolling sand dunes, suddenly deep ravines, rocks ranging from gravel to boulders, and the ground covers with all manner of small cactus and nettled brush. The trek toward the coordinates was a steady climb of about 15Âş beginning under 200 feet below sea level.
Our base camp was Furnace Creek campground and we tented it, finding the National Parks service campground a nice one (although dealing with the Rangers is always a pain, and 12 Sax was not exception).
At about 6:45am and just before the sun shone down into the Panamint Valley we drove north up Hwy 190 toward the Salt Creek Trail parking lot, arriving around 7:10am. After quickly donning our daypacks, we set the compass and struck out at a heading of 220Âş. Our first waypoint was Trellis Canyon, though the way was obscured by a sharp, rising ridgeline bordering the salt creek.
What follows is the log of the expedition.
07:15: Salt Creek Interpretive Trail Parking lot: 36 Âş 35â€™ 26.8N, 116 Âş 59â€™ 24.3W
- Sunrise, approx. 50Âş temp
- We climbed a small, steep ridgeline due West, then followed rolling desert
- Heading: 220 Âş
- Elevation: -200 ft.
07:45: 36 Âş 34â€™ 45.7N, 116 Âş 59 49.3W
- approx 55 Âş temp
- Now we encountered steep broken ravines cut into the rising desert floor, we were forced to pick our way down into the ravines, often traveling along them for a time before climbing out again, trying to maintain our bearing. Willâ€™s foot issues force him to turn back â€“ very bummed.
- Heading 200 Âş
- Elevation: – 200 ft.
08:15: 36 Âş 34â€™ 22.9N, 117 00â€™ 6.9W
- Approx 60 Âş temp
- We are now through the ravines and face a slope rising North by Northwest. It consists of softball to bowling ball size rocks, making the footing difficult. Theyâ€™re too big to get flat footing and too small to â€śboulderâ€ť across, very annoying. In the distance we see two possible canyons that may be Trellis, so we split the difference between the two, heading toward the center.
- Heading: 200 Âş
- Elevation: -150 ft.
08:45: 36 Âş 33â€™ 43.9N, 117 00â€™ 46.8W
- Approx 60 Âş
- Still on the long climbing slope of rocks, we pass power lines and talk about what a miserable job installing those must have been
- Heading 220 Âş
- Elevation: -50 ft.
09:15: 36 Âş 33â€™ 17.3N, 117 01â€™ 33.4W
- Approx 60 Âş
- The angle of the slope has significantly increased, though the rocks become smaller, with many places very gravelly. We begin to think that the Northern canyon is indeed Trellis, so adjust out bearing and head that way.
- Heading: 240 Âş
- Elevation: +283
09:45: 36 Âş 33â€™ 7.7N, 117 02â€™ 34.0W
- Approx 65 Âş
- The bugs appear. These are little gnats, virtually invisible and SUPER annoying. What could they possible live on when they canâ€™t get humans? Weâ€™ve seen no wildlife or water. We take a break in the shade of first set of uprising rocks that will eventually form the canyons, but the gnats are everywhere and we donâ€™t stay long.
- Heading 310 Âş
- Elevation: +938
- We enter Trellis Canyon. Weâ€™ve been shooting for 36 32 55.1N, 117 03 19.11W coordinates and pretty much navigated to the spot, once we decided the Northern canyon was our mark. The bugs are still present but as long as we keep moving they donâ€™t bother too badly. The mouth of the canyon is about 200 yards across with several large rock formations that are evident in the satellite maps.
- Heading: 190 Âş
- Elevation: +1212 ft.
10:45: 36 Âş 32â€™ 13.2N, 117 03â€™ 35.2W
- Approx 65 Âş
- We kept working our way back into the ever narrowing canyon. The walls squeeze in, emphasizing the height of the canyon. The outer canyon walls much reach 3000 to 4000 feet up, with the ones we can touch easily over a 1000 feet. At one place in the â€śNarrowsâ€ť I can touch both sides of the walls at the same time and yet the canyon towers about 2000 feet straight up â€“ Itâ€™s an awesome place, and by the gps coordinates we know weâ€™re getting close to the Scorpions.
All along this part of the canyon, we can see â€śhanging valleysâ€ť open up above us in the rocks. All of them are at least 50 to 100 feet up from the riverbed that weâ€™re walking on. The evidence of water erosion is significant, and itâ€™s easy to see how this canyon was formed, being cut so sharply by the flash floods that race down the narrow canyon. One of these hanging valleys is easy to spot when we climbed a rock wall across from it.
There is now a shear rock wall that must be climbed in order to really see into the valley, but from our view itâ€™s clearly evident that it has a lot of square acreage. Itâ€™s now absolutely inaccessible without a 3 or 4 rated climb of over 100 feet. And itâ€™s not alone, we see several places were areas open up, but theyâ€™re all very high up in the canyon walls, some 1000 to 3000 feet up. We didnâ€™t plan on climbing, knowing that we wouldnâ€™t have the time. But climbing there is the only way to really explore the mysteries of the place. We believe the coolest stuff is now high up in the canyon walls, and can only be reached by climbing.
- Heading: 190 Âş
- Elevation: +1524 ft.
11:36: 36 Âş 31â€™ 23.67N, 117 03â€™ 54.90W
- Approx 65 Âş
- THE SCORPIONS, we reach the coordinates a little after 11:30am.
The narrow sliver of sky we see is still bright blue, with golden sunlight reflecting hard off the towering canyon walls. We however are covered in dark shadow. Itâ€™s evident that some places within the canyon never get sunlight because the extremely high walls. Iâ€™m not just spouting poetic imageryâ€¦ this is the point â€“
The Scorpions are created by shadow. There are so many twisting, turning corners to the canyon that itâ€™s easy to see how the Scorpions are formed.
Iâ€™ve been so mystified by the darkness of the Scorpions, when every other shadow on the satellite images are a lot softer. But now, standing in these impressively high and narrow canyons, the darkness of the images is obvious. The contrast of the light and darkness is extreme and the blackness of the shadow in such close proximity to that of the brightly lit rocks, no doubt creates the deep blackness of the satellite photo images.
Weâ€™ve found no caves or caverns at ground level, but as Iâ€™ve stated, weâ€™ve seen the potential for both high up in many places along the canyon. We also havenâ€™t seen any geoglyphs or any evidence that humans have ever been in this place. BUT, itâ€™s also very obvious that the canyon get scoured by flood waters and has (relatively) quickly sunk down many dozens if not hundreds of feet since the time people may have lived here.
If people did once inhabit this place, the evidence for them wouldnâ€™t be down at the current ground level, but up much higher in the canyon walls and in the suspended/hanging valleys that would have been much closer to ground level long ago.
- Elevation: +2169 ft.
This picture (top article photo) was taken at precisely 36 31 23.67 N, 117 03 54.90 W â€“ the coordinates given by all three satellite map services, showing the Scorpions
The fact that the Scorpions exist in the satellite images is, in my mind, evidence of the awesome creativity that God shows in his creation. No one can deny there are images on the satellite photos, images that are created by shadow and light, yet clearly form recognizable, symmetrical shapes; shapes that donâ€™t happen randomly in nature. It seems this place is marked specially for some reason and though evidence wasnâ€™t observable at ground level, who can guess what kinds of things may be found higher up in the canyon walls.
Weâ€™ll be going back, with climbing gear
Prior Articles on this Topic