January 10, 2011

1/8/11 - Mojave NP

Mojave NP--this time it’s not Natl Park, but Natl Preserve!  We’d never heard of this one until I saw pictures at a lunch stop in Baker, CA.  I was looking at postcards by the cashier’s counter and all the interesting pictures were all of Mojave.  Then when we were in Pahrump, we talked to some folks who had volunteered there for 8 months one year, and they said it was definitely worth the trip back to California when were in Las Vegas. 
Mojave NP has more Joshua Trees in higher density than Joshua Tree NP.  We stopped first along side the road by a really interesting old lava flow, where I clambered up on the rocks.  When you look at this picture, it looks like George is out in the rocks—nope, I climbed downhill and he stayed on top. 
We visited the Kelso Depot Visitors Center—which is the old Union Pacific train station.   It’s been renovated to just like it was in the 1940s.  We took turns taking pictures of each other inside the remains of the old strap-steel jail out by the parking lot.  then hiked the Kelso Dunes. 
 We didn’t make it all the way to the top, but went farther than anyone else that parked around us.  It’s 700’ to the top of the highest dune, but you don’t just go up a hill.   You walk to a dune, climb it, then go down it so you can repeat with the next dune—and the next, and the next, and the next.  Some of them are pretty high—and you can’t even tell there’s another one behind it until you get to the top of the dune.  We never did make it to the very highest one.  Eventually we realized that we had to make it back to the truck, and we were a long ways out.
We stayed longer there than I’d planned so we didn’t get to go to some of the other places in the park.  Another time, I guess. 
We took a different road out of the park—a really lousy road, actually.  It’s pretty obvious that Mojave National Preserve is not at the top of the list for upkeep and maintenance.  George stopped so we could wait for sunset and I could get a silhouette of a Joshua Tree against the darkening sky.

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