Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Going back in time, 2-14-2011 visit to the rock house at Camp Rock Springs, Mojave National Preserve.

My visit occurred on a cold, gloomy February day and the only thing suggesting
that this was the 21st century were the vault toilet, park bench, and this placard
in front of the house, along with the trail signage.
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That’s Bert Smith, the world war one vet who built the rock house on the left. He figured he would only live
for a few years, but thanks to the dry desert climate and clean air, he lived here for about 25 years. Similar
anecdotal evidence can be found at 29 Palms, of veterans of World War One moving there for their health
and living many years.

Here is the dirt driveway leading up to the rock house.
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This is a very scenic area, here is the view across the valley from near the picnic table set up by the park service for visitors. A view little changed from
when the troopers were stationed here back in the 19th century.
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Talk about your never ending desert views.

I walked around the rock house photographing it from all sides, here is one of those photos.
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I read that Bert Smith built this house by hand with rocks brought up from the springs. Now that was a major effort
as you will see.

After hanging around the rock house for a while, I decided to try the mile long
scenic trail down to the springs and back. Here are a few of my photographs from that hike.
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The photo above shows the route going toward the springs, yes, you end up “bouldering.”
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The only place I saw running water, maybe the springs were nearby, I was too busy trying to find my way back
to the rock house and closing the circle.
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When you see the tree below, you are almost home. Turn right and head up the hillside toward the rock house.
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Once I made it back up to the rock house, I took a breather here where
I discovered something interesting looking up.
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That is a wooden cross beam with the old chain still attached. I figure
it was used to hoist engines from cars or to dip a butchered hog, etc into
a vat of boiling water, with a pulley attachment. I just looked up and almost
dropped my sports drink bottle when I saw this.

This is also where I sat and thought that I should go visit the Mojave Cross
while I was up in the preserve, so I decided to go visit it the next day.

All in all, this was a fun visit, here is a retake of my original backporch photograph.
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Guess I will keep the old one. Until next time.
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Views like this can be found everyday at the Mojave National Preserve.
Hope to see you out on the trail.