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Loafing Along Death Valley Trails

William Alexander Caruthers

Book Overview: 

William Caruthers was a retired newspaperman who spent 25 years listening to stories told by the inhabitants of Death Valley. This 1951 book collects those stories; the printed version has many interesting pictures. ''Of the actors who made the history of the period, few remain. It was the writer’s good fortune that many of these men were his friends. It is the romance, the comedy, the often stark tragedy these men left along the trail which you will find in the pages that follow.''

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .awned his watch and hurried home, arriving at midnight four days later.


The next morning a stranger came and something about his attire, his equipment, and his explanation of his presence didn’t ring true and Searles was wary even before the fellow, believing that Searles was still in San Francisco announced that he had been sent to find a man named Searles to look over some borax claims. “Do you know where they are?”

Searles thought quickly. He had not as yet located his monuments nor filed a notice. He pointed down the valley. “They’re about 20 miles ahead....”

The fellow went on his way and before he was out of sight, Searles was staking out the marsh and with one of the most colorful of Death Valley characters, Salty Bill Parkinson, began operations in 1872. Incorporated under the name of San Bernardino Borax Company, the business grew and was later sold to Borax Smith’s Pacific Coast Borax Company.Read More

Community Reviews

Outstanding Read!

What an informative read! Anyone interested in the history of Death Valley and the characters that helped make its history will love this book! If you have been to Death Valley and the surrounding area, this book sheds a lot of light on some of the historical towns the old prospecto

Excellent but no illustrations.

This is a Death Valley classic but it lacks the photos that show the characters you are reading about. This is a firsthand account by someone who met the prospectors, Charlie Brown who later became Senator Brown, and the people who settled DV, hunted for minerals and

Interesting history of the area with a very local feel

Summer is a time to read about the desert; one should go through the topographical maps marking routes, measuring elevation gains and distances, calculating the brutal water logistics that essentially control desert backpacking. Then in the fall or winter or spring you can park the pick-up at a remo