ADVENTURER HIKES PERILOUS PATHWAY.Byline: Jim Skeen Daily News Staff Writer
For the next 30 to 35 days, Lee Bergthold will trek across northwestern Nevada and then head south to Death Valley, a journey of some 350 miles.
Bergthold will retrace trails used in the 1800s across rugged terrain that includes a geothermal badland extending from Nevada's Humboldt River Humboldt River
River, northern Nevada, U.S. Rising in Elko county, it flows west and southwest for 290 mi (467 km) to Humboldt Lake (also called Humboldt Sink). Named by John C. to Walker Lake Basin. From there, Bergthold will continue south toward Badwater in Death Valley.
``This is the way I hone my skills,'' said Bergthold, a lean, fit 61-year-old former Marine Corps survival instructor. ``This is what I do.''
The trek is the latest adventure for Bergthold, a photojournalism instructor at Antelope Valley College Antelope Valley College is a comprehensive community college located in Lancaster, California, USA. It is operated by the Antelope Valley Community College District, with a primary service area of 1,945 square miles covering portions of Los Angeles and Kern counties. who has spent 40 years hiking the deserts and mountains of the Southwest. Bergthold spends 50 to 60 days a year in the backcountry back·coun·try
A sparsely inhabited rural region. .
In 1989, Bergthold and companion Jerry Freeman of Pearblossom traveled 125 miles from Badwater, the lowest point in the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. at 282 feet below sea level, to Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the continental United States United States territory, including the adjacent territorial waters, located within North America between Canada and Mexico. Also called CONUS. at 14,492 feet.
``We had 110 degrees on one end and 50 below on the other,'' Bergthold said. ``We got hit by a terrible blizzard on Mt. Whitney. It nearly blew us off the mountain.''
In 1993, Bergthold and Lancaster attorney Terry Baird hiked 50 miles from Pasadena to Acton - straight across the San Gabriel Mountains San Gabriel Mountains, S Calif., E and NE of Los Angeles, running c.50 mi (80 km) westward from Cajon Pass. San Antonio Peak (10,080 ft/3,072 m) is the highest of the range. Citrus fruits are raised on the southern foothills. - to see if commuters stranded by an earthquake could hoof hoof, horny epidermal casing at the end of the digits of an ungulate (hoofed) mammal. In the even-toed ungulates, such as swine, deer, and cattle, the hoof is cloven; in the odd-toed ungulates, such as the horse and the rhinoceros, it is solid. it back into the Antelope Valley This article is about the Los Angeles County region. For the census-designated place in Wyoming, see Antelope Valley-Crestview, Wyoming.
The Antelope Valley .
Bergthold ended that trek with this piece of advice: Don't try it.
This past winter, he completed a 6-year effort to locate Hungry Bill's Ranch in the Panamint Mountains in Death Valley. A century ago, the ranch was a supply camp where fruits and vegetables were grown and taken over a mountain pass into miners in Panamint City.
The Panamints are rich in lore, an area where a number of miners were killed in disputes and by nature, Bergthold said.
``You won't like my ghost stories. My ghost stories are true,'' Bergthold said. ``These places where men and women die seem to have an aura about them.''
During Bergthold's first attempt six years ago to find the ranch, one of his companions, a Lancaster woman named Reney Enguita, wrote in her journal that she was followed by a strange figure for seven days on the trek. Enguita died of heart failure two days after the trek.
Bergthold plans to return to the Panamints to further explore Indian worship towers he encountered during one of his expeditions.
Bergthold was born in Bakersfield and raised in Fresno. As a teen-ager, he worked as a firefighter and did trail construction work with the U.S. Forest Service.
``All I wanted to do as a kid was be in the mountains,'' Bergthold said.
After serving as a survival instructor in the Marine Corps from 1953 to 1956, Bergthold first studied ergonomics - the science of adopting working conditions to suit the worker - at the University of California, Santa Barbara History
The predecessor to UCSB, Santa Barbara State College, focused on teacher training, industrial arts, home economics, and foreign languages. Intense lobbying by an interest group in the City of Santa Barbara led by Thomas Storke and Pearl Chase persuaded the State , and then photography at the Brooks Institute of Photography The Brooks Institute of Photography is a for-profit college based in Santa Barbara, California and Ventura, California. Brooks offers four majors. The Still photography program is based in Santa Barbara, and the Visual communications (Graphic Design), Motion Picture/Video and .
Since then, Bergthold has merged photography and his hiking adventures. His photographs have been featured in Backpacker magazine and in gallery exhibits, include the Lancaster Museum/Art Gallery. For the past 20 years, Bergthold has been an instructor at Antelope Valley College and run backpacking expeditions.
On this latest adventure, Bergthold will first travel from Battle Mountain to Walker Lake Basin - a path taken by emigrant EMIGRANT. One who quits his country for any lawful reason, with a design to settle elsewhere, and who takes his family and property, if he has any, with him. Vatt. b. 1, c. 19, Sec. 224. wagon trains in the mid-1800s. At Walker Lake Basin, pioneers, including the ill-fated Donner party Donner Party, group of emigrants to California who in the winter of 1846–47 met with one of the most famous tragedies in Western history. The California-bound families were mostly from Illinois and Iowa, and most prominent among them were the two Donner , went west to the Sierras.
The Donner party - 87 men, women and children - was caught by heavy snows in November 1846 at a mountain pass near Truckee. Blocked by snow, the party settled at a nearby lake for the winter. Thirty-four people died and survivors resorted to eating the flesh of the dead.
At Walker Lake Basin, Bergthold is heading south to Death Valley.
``It's a survival route the Donners could have taken instead of plowing into the Sierras,'' Bergthold said. ``They could have gone south.''
Bergthold will backpack with a 10-day supply of food. Support workers will drop off supplies every 10 days. Bergthold chose to hike in winter because of the possibility that rain and snow will provide water.
Photo: Backpacking expert Lee Bergthold has trekked through some of the most forbidding terrain in the state, like these Panamint Mountains.
Photo courtesy Lee Bergthold