High Desert Memories - A Hometown Journal Commemorating Ridgecrest California
Looking back toward Ridgecrest from the climb up Nine Mile Canyon to the summit.
As a youngster of about 7 years old, I made my first trip up to Nine Mile Canyon with my Dad and at the top was a camp or motel called Bales Camp. They had several cabins a store that sold campers basics and a little fishing tackle, there were also a few head of horses. I presume in years gone by they used to run pack trips on horses back into some of the isolated accesses to the Kern River.
When we got there, there were only a few horses and the Bales' kids were riding them bareback. I never did find out much about why they weren't renting the cabins anymore or why there were no more horseback trips into the back country but I got the impression that due to the war there just weren't enough customers to make a go of it. On many return trips the Bales' were still there and we always stopped and my parents would sit out on the front porch of the main house and shoot the breeze while I went out to do some bareback riding and playing about. We went on over to Kennedy meadows every once in a while and it was kind of a camp for bear hunters and other hunters out to bring back somethings carcass or head. I didn't get interested in hunting until several years later and never was interested in deer hunting.
Several years later, I went back up there with Mr. Byrd the Superintendant of schools and another man whom shall remain nameless. We hiked back to the Kern River for about 3 or 4 miles and I spent 3 of the most idyllic days I can remember fishing and camping. We caught some nice sized German Browns and Mr. Byrd went up on a high creek and brought back some Goldens.
I noticed as we passed the Bales' place that it was deserted and there was no more stock there. I guess they just gave up the ghost and moved on to greener pastures.
Nine Mile Canyon was one of those places where you could go and escape from the desert heat and dryness. It was ok for a while but I was always glad to return home.
Looking back toward the valley from the road up to the Nine Mile summit. You can see the LA Aqueduct about mid picture on the left side. This view is taken from only 3 miles up the canyon ascent.
Nine Mile Canyon