Visiting the Mojave National Preserve has - unconsciously - become a traditional "last trip of the year." For three years now, the pull of the desert sun has drawn us south - out of the gloomy grey of the Pacific Northwest. This year the trip would center around foot travel - something that had been uncharacteristically difficult on our last visit - allowing us to immerse ourselves in our surroundings. Over the course of a week - at the end of this most unusual year - we'd take advantage of every moment of daylight to discover the solitude, history, and beauty of the rocky terrain.
A Tough Year at Alaska Hill - Mojave 2020 #1 - With just over a week to explore the Mojave National Preserve, our spirits were high as we headed south out of the gloomy Pacific Northwest towards a forecast full of sun and warmer - during the day - temps. We'd made a similar pilgrimage last year and had a great… Convergence of Canyons in the New York Mountains - Mojave #2 - Even sheltered in the pinyon pines, the wind rocked the tent for hours - though in our sleep-deprived state, we barely noticed. Things calmed down significantly after midnight - enough that I removed my earplugs and continued to snooze soundly until my alarm went off at 5:45am. If that seems… Into the Dome Fire - Mojave #3 - Unlike the previous night, the wind at the mouth of Carruthers Canyon never abated, making for the worst sleep of the trip. Tossing and turning as the wind buffeted the tent, I was glad when my alarm went off - simply because it meant I could be done trying to… The Devils Playground - Mojave #4 - Waking up near Aiken Cinder Mine turned out to be glorious. The calm night meant plenty of sleep, and I was well-rested when I climbed down the ladder to greet the orange line creeping up behind the old crusher. The next hour went by quickly as I walked around the… The Thrill of the Hunt - Mojave #5 - I awoke not to my alarm, but to the distant sound of a diesel engine. Excited, I hurriedly pulled on my clothes and scampered down the ladder, grabbing my camera and tripod as I sprinted toward the train tracks. "How lucky was I," I thought to myself, not only was… What is the Mojave Megaphone? - Mojave #6 - We'll get to the "megaphone" in a bit. Relax. First - as you'll recall - we fell asleep on our last night in the preserve, under the stars, and in the shadow of the Granite Mountains. We were, however, reasonably near a paved road, and traffic continued through the night…
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