Sunday, November 20, 2011

Morongobill attempts the Kelso Dunes+ almost gets done in on the freeway enroute!

In the single most reckless thing I have ever seen in 40 years of driving, yesterday while in the slow lane of Interstate 15 around the area before the Afton rest stop, and in a line of cars all doing 60-65 mph in both lanes, out of the blue, in my rear view mirror I see 2 cars come over the little hill moving at least 80 mph+, barreling down upon us. I mean they closed in at extreme speed.

Somehow the car in the left lane slowed enough, but the dark blue suv/crossover at the last second went around me on the shoulder, without slowing down, merged in front of me then into the left lane, found an opening
and was gone. I immediately attempted to call 911 and to give out this Nevada
license plate# 301 X—, but was unable to, because my Virgin Mobil phone
would not make the call, nor call the operator, in other words, I was locked out
by the system, a little fact that I will be definitely calling them about asap!

About 2 minutes or so later, I was pulled off the freeway, parked on the shoulder, as the cars flew by, and made the call on the freeway callbox. Believe it or not, it took about 4 or 5 minutes to get through to the Highway
Patrol operator who said she would pass on the information to the units in the field. Wow, what a system, from my cell provider to the callbox- sure hope that
nobody pulls a gun on me.

I just wish that I had one of those drivecams hooked up in my car- awesome video for my blog- or evidence for the prosecutor’s if I had been killed. Speaking
of Drivecam, why don’t you view this footage for a scary crash caught on tape.

My company uses this system, wish I had it in the Morongomobile yesterday!

So continuing on, I decided to head over to the Kelso Dunes and finally, for
the first time, check the dunes out in person.

How could I forget this major event that occurred on the way up?
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Hopefully I will be able to get to at least 300,000 miles on the old girl before she kicks the bucket.

The trip to Kelso Dunes was perfect. Clear roads with hardly anyone traveling
on Kelbaker road but me, once I stopped and parked on the shoulder looking
out upon the vastness of the Mojave National Preserve for about 15 minutes
and not one car drove by. As a matter of fact, only one vehicle passed me, right before I got to the Kelso Depot. It was perfect, and sure not like driving
back in the big city that is southern California.
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Above is a view of the Providence Mountains in the distance. Photo taken near the Kelso Dunes.

Folks here a few photos taken from my hike at the dunes. My goal was not to
try to get to the top, but to make it over to the trees growing on the flanks of the dunes. I did make it but due to the full memory card, I was only able to
photograph those with my poor cellphone camera. Ouch! You see as usual, I got carried away with the video function of my Canon digicam. Underneath each photo will be my comments.
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The view of the closest dunes to the trailhead. By the way, this part of the trail is not too soft, so you make good time here.
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I had heard that there is abundant animal life in the dunes area. I have never seen so many animal tracks in the Mojave National Preserve as I did here this day. The only other place that I can recall seeing so many tracks was at the Ivanpah SEGS site, walking along those broad washes. Too bad, the place is now off limits to animals I guess.
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This place was like an animal highway.
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I  am not sure but that they may be a mountain lion(cougar) track above. There don’t appear to be any claw marks as in a
large dog track. And the toes appear to be splayed. Who knows, dogs on leash are allowed in the area. I do know from
personal experience that the area is home to Bobcats as well. My brother and I spotted a Bobcat several years ago crossing
Forshay Pass Road as we neared the Vulcan Mine vicinity.
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Look at the perfect concentric circles created by the winds which blow almost around the clock and from all points,
causing the grass stems to draw these perfect lines. I spotted these all over, more obviously away from the madding crowds
tromping everything.
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Amazing that grass is growing here, isn’t it? I just read that in the outlying dunes, the sand is damp just centimeters
below the surface, but not in the larger dunes, which along with their unusual shape and composition, cause them
to boom under certain conditions, such as a person sliding down the side of one from a point at the ridge top, for example.
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As promised here are a few pics taken of the trees at my destination dune.




Coming back down, I got a chance to practice my tracking skills. I followed
someone’s tracks exactly, I wish I had taken a photo, as he seemingly meandered along the interconnected ridges on his way down. I very quickly
realized that this person was a skilled hiker and he very shrewdly walked
where the sand was the firmest, therefor less tiring to walk on.

I thank the mystery hiker for this lesson which I so badly needed to be taught.
Folks, I have to tell you, this hike was the hardest that I have done in years.
I was easily 2-3 times more exhausted by this than my Kessler Peak hike the other day. Looking back, after having time to think about it, I will attempt the
Kessler Peak again, soon, whereas I may never rehike these sand dunes.
They are beautiful to look at, but I am not sure that I really look forward to repeating this ordeal again, anytime soon Winking smile.

I have looked over my videos made this day and believe that this is the best one
to show you guys. The others of course will be up at my youtube page, you can
actually watch them there by clicking on the youtube link here inside the viewer. Hope you like it. Unfortunately, I was abruptly cut off when my sd card
ran out of memory.

What a time to run out of camera memory!

Here is a link to a page that I consulted trying to identify the large tracks in that
photo I posted earlier.
How do I tell the difference between cat (cougar, bobcat, domestic cat)

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Well, the vacation is almost over, only my normal weekend left, and yet even
with a rain coming in, I still feel this strong urge to head back out for one more day of picture taking out in the wilderness. As a matter of fact, I feel like returning to the Whitewater Preserve and hiking a spell, maybe meeting up
with that big trail, the Sierra, I believe it is. Check back here, I may have another
report tonight.

Let me close with a personal note, my friends.

Many times I have said that visiting wilderness will reinvigorate a person, that
we humans need wilderness like we need air to breathe, and this short little
vacation away from the stresses of the big city has reiterated that belief of mine
and others. May I suggest you do the same? It could be a forest you go to or a grassy plain or a desert, whatever, just go! Just do it as the ad says.

You will not be sorry you did.


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