Gary - I can see the Panamints from my place (about 50 miles away) and it looks like the snow level and amount of snow of snow is lower (and more) than on this eastern end of the Sierra, so some warm boots are a good idea.
Thanks for the invite. I arrange hikes for a "Wednesday Group", and this week will be up on Malpais Mesa via the Santa Rosa mine route, which is near the western edge of DV, off the Saline Valley Road west of Father Crowley's. The mesa overlooks Owens Lake. There's evidence that native peoples spent much time up there, and our group's conjecture is it would be a much cooler area in mid-summer than down near the lake (and there was a big lake prior to the DWP). If that were the case, how did they get the children and older people up there? There's a rather thick basalt band to the west, just below the mesa itself, with no obvious route thru it. Our first two attempts to find a "grandmother route" involved hiking up a canyon dividing Malpais and Conglomerate Mesas, looking for a moderate approach to the mesa above. While we managed both times to get up on the mesa, neither of the routes were anything you'd take your grandmother on. Next Wednesday we're going to try a different approach. We'll hike to a location where native peoples frequented, and then follow a drainage west, hoping that its drop thru the basalt layer will be moderate enough for travel by youngsters and oldsters alike (plus some moderate oldsters like ourselves...)
You'll be in good hands with Mr. Pickering.