You’d think growing up in Southern California that I would have seen just about everything within a few hours of the place, but you’d be wrong about that. I didn’t know about Mojave Preserve until several years ago, when I convinced my roadtripping Jedi master, my Dad, that we should take backroads from Hemet to Vegas to visit my sister. One of those backroads ran through Mojave Preserve and we were both amazed and delighted to find some amazing geology as we drove from Amboy to Kelso to Baker.
I vowed to return to Mojave Preserve when I had my trailer, and while it took me more than three years to get back, I finally made it. And, boy was it worth it! I stayed with friends at Hole in the Wall campground for four nights and fell in love with the whole of the Preserve.
This was the view from my campsite one morning. Seriously beautiful.
Here’s my Alto (on the right) and my friends are right next to me. The campground is in a beautiful area for hiking and photography and just sitting outside enjoying the silence and the views. And the jackrabbits and desert wrens, too. (Stacy, I remembered the name of that bird after all!)
The whole area was, about a zillion years ago, a hotbed of volcanoes, which blew tons of ash into the air, but little lava. The ash settled, with air trapped inside like bubbles. Time, wind, and water worked their erosional magic and the rocks today are beautiful in their details.
One day, I drove to the other side of the mountain range with my wide angle lens, and got this shot. Sand dunes, snow-topped mountains, wide open spaces with joshua trees – Mojave Preserve has amazing diversity and although it was a 4 hour drive, it was worth every minute to see all those things.
I don’t often show my campsite, but here you go. I could have cleaned up the clutter a bit but then it wouldn’t really show what things look like on a normal day!
If you find yourself driving down Interstate 15 coming south out of Vegas or north out of the LA Basin and you see a brown road sign that says “Mojave Preserve,” think really hard about diving for that exit. You won’t regret it. (But do fill up with gas before you start exploring, there’s no gas stations in all that wide open space!)
Night poured over the desert. It came suddenly, in purple. In the clear air, the stars drilled down out of the sky, reminding any thoughtful watcher that it is in the deserts and high places that religions are generated. When men see nothing but bottomless infinity over their heads they have always had a driving and desperate urge to find someone to put in the way.”