Field Notes of Annie Alexander and Louise Kellogg Were Annie and Louise in Fourth of July Canyon, or in Caruthers Canyon?  

Tom Schweich  

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Other Articles: 1940 Field Notes: 0501055 Annie Alexander and Louise Kellogg: Which Canyon?

Locations: Caruthers Canyon. Fourth of July Canyon.  

I believe Annie Alexander and Louise Kellogg were collecting in Caruthers Canyon instead of Fourth of July Canyon. On May 28, 1997, I read their field notebook at the UC and Jepson Herbaria at UC Berkeley.

Locations: Ledge.  

On May 3, 1940, Annie and Louise "... drove from Needles to 4th of July Canyon in the New York Mountains, 60 miles, stopping near the railroad station of Homer to collect and again on a sandy wash through hills at 3450 ft. At Ledge, we enquire about the road to Keystone Canyon and are told it is washed out and that we would find 4th of July Canyon, 6 miles distant fully as attractive..." They then go on to describe the area.

Locations: Caruthers Canyon. Fourth of July Canyon. New York Mountains.  

Along the south side of the New York Mountains, there are two canyons, Caruthers Canyon and 4th of July Canyon. From Ivanpah Road, Annie and Louise would have traveled west about 6 miles to Caruthers Canyon. 4th of July Canyon is another 4 miles farther west.
      On May 5th, Annie notes mention that they "... find that limestone formation cuts across the lower end of 4th of July Canyon and some plants may be confined to this ..." Limestone is usually unmistakably different from granite. Annie and Louise were experienced field workers and unlikely to mistakenly misidentify limestone, especially to mistake granite for limestone. I am familiar with limestone in the mouth of Caruthers Canyon. There is a sliver of limestone in the Cedar Canyon fault zone that crops out as several small rounded hills. I have not seen limestone anywhere in 4th of July Canyon, which I find to be exclusively granite. This is confirmed by geologic maps of the area. See, for example, Jennings (1961).

Locations: Giant Ledge Mine.  

On May 7th, they "... drove up the canyon ... to the old road to the Giant Ledge Mine ..." However, the Giant Ledge, and its associated mine, is in Caruthers Canyon.
      May 11th, "... drove up the canyon to the bottom of the road leading to the camp of the Giant Ledge Mine ... after leaving the camp we followed up the narrow canyon to a limestone-like formation above the granite ..." Limestone occurs on the east ridge of Caruthers Canyon, not the west side, nor in any part of 4th of July Canyon (Jennings, 1961). Therefore they would have to have been on the east side of Caruthers Canyon, and the opposite side of Caruthers Canyon from the ridge which it shares with 4th of July Canyon. This is, by the way, the location of their collection 1461, Frasera albomarginata, which seems to be a limestone endemic. The label on this collection, which is at UC, reads "4th of July Canyon." In my opinion it was collected on the east side of Caruthers Canyon, and not in 4th of July Canyon.
Full Size Image "Balanced Rock" in Caruthers Canyon, 2000. Full Size Image "Balanced Rock" in Caruthers Canyon, 1940.     The picture opposite page 57 of Annie's field notes shows a granite outcrop in Caruthers Canyon. This rock has a unique phallic form and has been featured in articles about Caruthers Canyon and the New York Mountains. In Annie Alexander's field notebook, a photograph of this rock bears the notation "Balancing boulder in 4th of July Canyon."
      I think we can be fairly certain that either the miners at Ledge or Annie and Louise were mistaken about the name of the canyon, and Annie and Louise collected in Caruthers Canyon rather than 4th of July Canyon, May 3-15, 1940.
      I don't think it is likely that Caruthers Canyon was formerly known as 4th of July Canyon. However, my only evidence is a picture of Mr. and Mrs. Caruthers on horseback in a San Bernardino County Museum publication. My presumption is that Caruthers Canyon was named for these people, and the horses indicate a pre-1940s date.

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Date and time this article was prepared: 12/24/2004 11:54:16 AM