Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Revisit to the base of Mt. San Jacinto near the windmills. Big surprise found up the hill. Part I.

This will be a pictorial with some comments under a few of the pictures. These
were taken yesterday while hiking close to where Hwy 111 and I-10 meet, at the last windmills to the right prior to the junction, in the Palm Springs area of
southern California.

The temperature was mid 70’s with very little wind. It was a perfect day for desert hiking, hill climbing, and exploration!
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Looking out over the wind “farm.”
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Long dead junipers adorn the steep hillside.
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Animal tracks were all over the sandy wash area and in the many animal paths.
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Looks like a cloven hoof, the walking stick base is in the photo to provide some sense of scale.
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A typical animal path or trail.

What happened? I have to shut this down and head off to the bus yard asap.
I will post more later today or tomorrow.

Here is a teaser photo.
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Morongobill

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Amazing how fast you can lose your inspiration.

While out in the Mojave National Preserve a week ago, it seemed that there
were lots of things to blog about. Something about being out in those wide
open spaces with nobody tailgating my car, or being out in the wilderness
with no one else around, it just seemed like it would go on forever- now I can
see how people like Ed Abbey could be inspired to pick up pen and paper
and try to express to the rest of us just how much it meant to them and to humanity to spend time in wilderness.

And how valuable it is to man, that we still have wilderness to go to.

It really was great while it lasted. While alone the whole time, I never felt lonely.

Now I am back in the great southern California megalopolis and not only am I
feeling lonely sometimes(with all this humanity breathing down my neck) but I
am also seeing the reawakening of my old issue, writer’s block.

So if there is a paucity of posts, you know why.

An interesting thing happened the other day. While wrapping up at Hometown Buffet, I focused on the music they were playing before I got up to leave. This
has to be one of the best 5 songs in a row that I have ever heard, played in the order that were.

First up was Stevie Wonder’s “Don’t you worry ‘bout a thing.”

A great start to a songlist.

Second up was the BeeGee’s 1979 hit “Inside and Out.”

I love these guys.

Next was “Oh, what a night!” This was by the Four Seasons and the lead vocals
were not done by Frankie Valli, but by the drummer, Gerry Polci.

Always one of my favorites.

Followed by Paul McCartney’s “Junior’s Farm.”

Great version!

Last up was Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes “The love I lost.”

What a way to end a songlist!

Wow, what a group of songs and the order played was just perfect, especially for my mood at the time. Hope you guys don’t mind me sharing.

Morongobill

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Just can’t get enough of the Mojave National Preserve- check out what I am reading this morning.

ScreenHunter_03 Nov. 22 06.32

Yes, I am reading the latest trip report from our friend at drycyclist.com. This particular page can be accessed here. I am really glad that he spent time in the Castle Peaks area and documented it on his site. I have always wanted to visit there but have been worried about the morongomobile breaking down or
getting hung up or something. The main site page for this trip made in May 2011 is in the link below. At the bottom left side of his main page are links to
other trips he has made there over the last 10 years or so.

http://mojave2011.drycyclist.com/main.php

I have traveled through the preserve off and on for about 15 years or so. But
my knowledge of the area, as they say back home, is a mile wide and an inch deep. This man has an intimate knowledge of the area, from the vantage point
of his Ten Ton bike as he calls it, traveling the main roads, mining roads, etc
to almost every nook and cranny of the preserve.

Did it again, couldn’t help going back to his pages, and reading- this picture is from a couple of pages further, as he made his way up to a small valley there between some of the pinnacles of Castle Peaks. I just love reading this kind of stuff.
ScreenHunter_04 Nov. 22 06.48

I like the little detail there, the name and scientific name of the plant in
the foreground. I probably would have called it a dandelion!

Alright folks, that’s all for me today. May I suggest that you join me
perusing the many interesting trip report pages on the adventures to
be found in the Mojave National Preserve?

You want even have to ride a Ten Ton Bike in, just enjoy it from the comfort
of your computer chair.

Morongobill

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Good news finally! Federal judge orders Mojave Cross case settlement talks. Will the cross be going back up for good in the spring of 2012?

As reported recently in the news links at the top of this blog page, the federal
district court judge has laid down the law to the parties involved in this case, as
directed by the United States Supreme Court when it remanded the case back down to the district court, per U.S. Department of Justice spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle.

It was ironic that this action occurred on the very day that this latest replacement cross was taken down by the National Park Service, with yours truly looking on from far in the distance up on the slopes of Kessler Peak. At that distance I could barely make out the white truck parked near Sunrise Rock,
and the photos were taken at max zoom- I just felt in my gut that the cross was being taken down, and from the fact that my car was parked directly across the road from Sunrise Rock, and that the truck parked in a couple different locations sitting, before finally staying in one spot for about 5 minutes, almost as if they were worried that there was a witness hiding in the Joshua Trees nearby with a video camera.

It didn’t take a phi beta kappa to figure out that the cross wouldn’t be up long,
it was built with quality but was of different materials, it was sure to be removed,
at least that was my feeling.

When I got down, I had to drive down to Cima Road and I-15 to get a cell and a cell internet connection, just to pass the information on and to get other
information. I didn’t have access to Lexus-Nexus or whatever the media uses,
hence my frustration boiling over and the call for an “Occupy Sunrise Rock”
situation.

Now after sleeping on this news for a few nights and letting my subconscious
work on this situation, it is obvious that the Mojave Cross supporters have
prevailed, at least in the courts
. From the news reports, the talks ordered by
the judge deal with the land swap for private land within the Mojave Preserve
now to be exchanged for the acre of land that Sunrise Rock sits upon. I believe
the Veterans for Foreign Wars will then own the land, after all they had the original one put up in the 1930’s, and since the land would be private, they could put the cross back up.

This is my wish. The original type cross should be put back up. My understanding is that Mr. Henry Sandoz, who built the one that was stolen last
year, has a replacement made and it is ready to go up, when the judge says it is okay. This is just the way it should be.

This news also means that there is no need to put up another replacement cross or to engage in any peaceful civil disobedience such as attempting to
put up another cross and then to try to prevent its’ being removed by the park
service, who are only doing what they are required to do as the judge has ruled. I understand people’s impatience as that particular trait is seemingly
hard wired into my own makeup sometimes. But this recent event with the court
is so electrifying, there appears to be no doubt that it is only a matter of time,
just months before the Mojave Desert Memorial Cross goes back up for good,
and for all time. Now, people of good will, should just wait and see.

The wait should only be for a few more months.

There have been calls to put up a giant cross and massive security, blah, blah.
None of that is necessary, nor is it appropriate to ensure the historical continuity. A simple Latin Cross, just like the original, sitting plainly atop its’ home, Sunrise Rock, will and should be good enough. Hopefully, the
VFW and others involved will not over- react to the original theft, and ruin the
natural beauty and setting of the area by putting up some garish fence and gate, with all the attendant security, such as big no trespassing signs, flood
lighting, and other such signs of the modern police state this country seems to be evolving into.

I don’t look for that happening, but the very thing I just wrote about is within
the realm of possibility based upon some of the news stories that I have seen this last year or so.

Long time readers may recall that I have said in the past that young people, veterans, or others could camp out near the rock for as long as it takes to insure the cross stays up, at least until the expected furor subsides. It is a
fact that some will probably take offense at the cross’s return; don’t forget that
with the full resources of the Department of Justice being brought to bear, they
still haven’t found the thief who took the original in May, 2010.

I have argued for a long time that the Mojave Desert Memorial Cross should go
back up at Sunrise Rock. I will always believe that. But that’s as far as I am willing to go. As it is and always has been, the simple, white cross stood atop
the rocks, visible as people drove by. It was not intrusive upon the area. Eight
feet tall on a rocky outcropping, you almost have to get right upon before you see it as you drive by. 
111411mojavecross 066 

A simple, heartfelt memorial to our long gone but not forgotten war dead of
World War One, just as it was in 1934, is as right for this modern time, as it
was all those decades ago.

That is my opinion out on the backporch. One man’s opinion as valid as any other with no claim to be any more right than any other.

I welcome your thoughts and thank you for reading.

Morongobill

 

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?
11192011kelsodunes 007

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.
11192011kelsodunes 011

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.
11192011kelsodunes 025

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.
11192011kelsodunes 026

This place was like an animal highway.
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More.
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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.
11192011kelsodunes 029

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.
11192011kelsodunes 036

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.
11192011kelsodunes 020

As promised here are a few pics taken of the trees at my destination dune.
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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)

11192011kelsodunes 035

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.

Morongobill

Friday, November 18, 2011

Big shakeup at the Sierra Club, carbonmentalist-in-chief, Carl Pope leaving, disciple Michael Brune taking over!

Boy, when I heard this news there was a resounding cheer that went out from the backporch. I am surprised that it wasn’t heard up in San Francisco at the
Sierra Club’s(solar panel free)rooftop on their national headquarters building!
Of course, it was a very short cheer, because reality quickly set in after reading
down the computer screen a little further and discovering the elevation of the
#2 carbonmentalist, Michael Brune, to be Carl Pope’s successor.

Some of you may be new to this blog, and may be wondering what a carbonmentalist is and why do I seem to be anti-Sierra Club which most people feel is one of the pre-eminent environmental/conservation groups, here in this country, as well as the world. And in particular why am I so anti- Pope and Brune.

It is a long story, I won’t delve too deep in the whole sordid mess, there are many, many posts in this blog devoted to the over-riding issues. But I will give
the bottom line.

First, I define a carbonmentalist as someone who believes so strongly in global
warming and climate change theory, that we must reduce carbon emissions
right now, no delays, don’t waste too much time doing environmental impact reports, never mind the small details, get all those giant wind and
solar plants built out in the pristine wildernesses, regardless of how many rare plant and animal species are bladed under. We can’t do all the things the activists want, there is no time to waste. Don’t they know the planet is heating up?

To quote Carl Pope,”If we don't save the planet, there won't be any tortoises left to save.”

To that end, the Sierra Club pretty much sat on its’ hands, in the view of myself
and others, while the decision was being made to steamroll over objections,
and to build the BrightSource/Bechtel Ivanpah SEGS solar power plant near
Primm, Nevada- forever dooming the northern end of the beautiful and ecologically important Ivanpah Valley to rampant industrialization and dooming
the endangered plant and animal species within, in human terms, for over a
hundred generations. The land may never recover.
111411mojavecross 026

Now, of course, another giant plant will go in next door to the rapidly growing Ivanpah SEGS, a part of which is shown above, along with 2 more giant solar
plants across the valley and a dry lake bed, as well as a high speed rail project, and possibly an airport a few years from now.

It is my deeply held belief that if the Sierra Club had filed a legal objection
to this project before the construction began, way before, these plants might not have been built and this strategic legal move might have forced
the industrialists and their backers, including everyone from President
Obama on down to the lowest level worker in the BLM, to go back to
square one, and really give local, rooftop solar and installations on degraded lands near the cities, of which there are hundreds of thousands of acres, a chance.

Why pave over wilderness when you can utilize all those rooftops cheaply, like
Walmart and other big companies are doing? I might not agree with a lot that Walmart does, but one thing for sure is they know how to make money and they squeeze a dollar bill so hard that the eagle cries and begs for mercy! But
that matters not a whit with the ruling class at today’s Sierra Club. No sir!

I said it here before and I will say it again, John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club, must still be spinning in his grave in dismay at what these men and their ilk have done to his beloved Sierra Club!

But fear not, ye carbonmentalists. Even though your new leader says he is bringing changes, and is already trashing Pope for the Clorox greenwashing
deal of 2008, saying the contract will not be renewed, said contract pushed through by Pope over the objections of the grassroot activists that are the backbone of the club, you can take this to the bank:

I predict that under Brune, big donations will still come in from the corporate donors, the club will still follow Pope’s lead, after all Brune’s
number one priority is his stop new coal fired plants initiative, you will
not be able to stop these plants without a large influx of power generation from somewhere else, and since the government and the giant utility companies are so hung up on maintaining the top down, central
power generating model, there will be many more of these giant desert plants getting built, and I predict the Sierra Club will not take any meaningful steps to take them on, and save the wilderness from further
destruction.

I think I have made my feelings clear about this so called change- there won’t
be any real change, but don’t believe me- look around and see for yourself
if I am off the deep end with this.

I will leave you with a few news links about this “change in leadership.”

http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1111/68705.html

Sierra club leader departs amid discontent over group's direction
This headline does give me heart.

http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/18/sierra-club-leader-will-step-down/

Just a few of the soon to be many news stories about this change in leadership
at the Sierra Club.

Hope to see you again soon on the backporch.

Morongobill

 

Going cross country in a Joshua Tree forest ain’t easy as I found out. Plus make sure you read my next post!

Tuesday morning after I left my wonderfully quiet hotel room at the Goldstrike
Hotel and Casino, and after stocking up on provisions at the Carl’s Jr. in Primm, Nevada, also known as stateline, I decided to head back to the Sunrise Rock area to see if the Mojave Cross was still up, and to try and get a hike accomplished.

Rolling toward the Teutonia Peak trailhead, I made a spur of the moment decision to keep going and park on the side of the road across from Sunrise Rock. Looking out across the Joshua tree covered valley, I decided to make my
way to Kessler Peak, and to try climbing toward the summit; as far as my feet
and legs could carry me up.

At first, it seemed easy as I only had to go around obstacles such as spine covered brush or rock outcroppings.
11152011mojavecrossgone 004

Ground cover like this isn’t too hard to go through, almost seemingly being able to straightline to Kessler Peak
way in the distance.
11152011mojavecrossgone 007

The above photograph is starting to show how the terrain is getting tougher. I am starting to see more
blackbrush, but you can still see a makeshift path going to the right as you approach the rock outcropping.
11152011mojavecrossgone 006

You might consider going around this type rock outcropping. By the way, watch where you put your hands and your feet
as you will regret it if you happen to step upon a mojave green rattlesnake.

Luckily for me, I had sense enough to bring my big hiking staff. It was a godsend to be able to push chollas aside, for example, to step through a small
opening between a blackbrush and the cholla. They actually are called
“jumping chollas” by some, and will inflict painful barbs into your skin, that
are very difficult to get out.

Yes, the stick really saved me a few times, especially coming back down the
steep slope. Besides the obvious use to stop a slide, it was also useful in
testing the rocky talus to see if the rocks I had to step on were loose or not.

Plus I figured that I might be able to use it on a mountain lion, if needed to prevent it from having me for lunch.


11152011mojavecrossgone 008

This gap near the ridgeline ended up being my ultimate destination. Below is a video made with the webcam of my
laptop as I rested while on the way to the destination.

The climb definitely is about to get steeper!

I finally got up to this point where I discovered that the gap was more like a succession of dry falls chock full of big boulders and a whole lot of vegetation.
11152011mojavecrossgone 011

At this point, being a solo hiker with no cell phone reception, the decision was made to start heading back down the slope, might as well go see if as I suspected, the white truck seen by Sunrise Rock way in the distance, was in fact parked there so that a park worker could yank down the replacement Mojave Cross. By the way, it turned out that I was right to be suspicious, in
fact while I was sitting there on the slope, the little dot I was seeing was in fact,
the cross coming down.

Here are some other photos looking around up there.
11152011mojavecrossgone 012

And another.
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That is Clark Mountain way in the distance, right side, and I believe that is the Kingston Range straight ahead, where
Horsethief Springs are located at.

Coming back down was a real treat, I was so happy that I brought that hiking staff, which was invaluable in using to slow down on the descent as well as checking on the condition of the talus slope. There was lots of loose rock, the smaller rock surface or scree, was much better to stand on. I also quickly discovered that the key is do switchbacks and not to go straight down.

Here is a video showing some of my descent.

Watch those loose rocks! You don’t want to roll all the way down the mountain slope.

Anyway I did make my way back down the side of the mountain and headed to the road, and back to Sunrise Rock, the now without a cross atop it Sunrise
Rock, and to my car.

I hope you enjoyed this post, make sure you read the next one with the shocking news that the longtime chairman of the Sierra Club, Carl Pope,
announced his departure from that post today.

Come back anytime you like, tell a friend about the hot cup of joe you got here.

See you soon.

Morongobill

Thursday, November 17, 2011

With a heavy heart and huge sense of loss, I must say that we have lost…. the Flying J Big Dog is no more!

Something that kept me going many a day and that motivated me when nothing
else would. Some may think that I am making too much of a minor thing, but
put yourselves in my shoes. Go out and hike in the desert heat, sweating rivers,
stomach growling like a hungry bear’s- wouldn’t you want to try a little of this?
ivanpahfieldtrip 042

What you are looking at is the now extinct Flying J Big Dog which has
been axed by their corporate office, probably by the bean counters. Today I
received this horrible news at the deli counter at the Barstow Flying J.

For those of you have never tried cuisine a la truckstop, this was at the top of
the taste pyramid, and a huge value at around $3.50 or so. This gargantuan
sized all beef hotdog was wrapped in a dough which was lavishly brushed with
garlic butter and baked(or broiled, I am no cook) and was always waiting to satisfy the most, dare I say, vigorous appetites. I liked it with Sioux City Sarsaparilla or an Arnold Palmer Half and Half(half tea and half lemonade)-
this combination while possibly leading to my gaining an ounce or two, was
always my taste champion!

Even though I must go through a grieving process, that may turn to anger soon. I believe I know why they did this. Let me clue you in, okay? I had to eat something so I got a double cheeseburger from their deli case and a 20 ounce coke, total $6.60. If I had got a Big Dog and the same drink, it would have been
a dollar less. Plus they took out their restaurant and put in a Denny’s instead. They are gentrifying the place- no more stuff truckers and bus drivers might like, oh no! We have to stock what the Volvo and minivan driving crowd wants!

That’s how I see it out on the backporch.

Feel free to disagree or agree via the comment section below. Thanks for dropping in for a visit out here at this little hot dog stand on the web.

Morongobill

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Never made it to the Kelso Dunes today, instead an attempt at Teutonia Peak. Plus some photos- far away- of Ivanpah SEGS.

With a noticeable lack of success, I must add, to both topics in the title.

But that’s okay, I had fun, just didn’t have any stamina in my legs, most likely
from attempting the climb up Kessler Peak across the way yesterday. I made to the point where the trail starts going up at a steep grade, with the rock steps
that look like they have been cut out.

Once I saw this spot, the day pack came off, and was dropped on a big rock and then I plopped down as well.
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How about the yucca growing together there alongside a juniper tree?
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Unfortunately I had to stand up to take this photo, the only thing missing was my big hiking stick.
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I have read online that the juniper berries are used to make Gin, so I crushed one and smelled it. It does smell a little
like Gin.
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There was a tiny ground squirrel sunning himself on this boulder, left side of the top part near the edge.
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The view from my shady spot looking out to the right end of Kessler Peak with the New York Mountains rising up way
in the distance. Mojave National Preserve, near Sunrise Rock, Cima, California.

Dear readers, contrast that view in the above photograph with a couple that
I took earlier this day. Yes, I am about to show you the latest landscape
photographs of the rapidly industrializing Ivanpah Valley, and yes, you are
right to immediately start thinking BrightSource/ Bechtel!
11162011mnp 004

From the vantage point near the I-15/ Nipton Road exit(west) you can see the huge expense expanse of Solar One
in the foreground, note this is only 1/2 of it as the rightside is cut off. Note the tower going up, soon it will be as tall as the sacred metamorphic hill in the background. To the immediate left is Solar Two’s tower in construction, and far left and up is the beginning of Solar Three I believe.
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Another photo from the same general location which shows more of Solar One. This is from about 2 miles or so away.
11162011mnp 007

This photo was taken roadside less than 1/3 mile from Nipton, what, about 6 or 7 miles away at least? Note how the Ivanpah SEGS site dominates the whole Ivanpah Valley there, and they haven’t even attached the mirrors to the poles or completed the tower yet, on just the first unit.

You know I thought that I was forgetting something. I made a little video while
I was taking a break alongside the Teutonia Peak trail today. Check it out, will you?

What an idyllic spot to kick back off the trail!

Morongobill

A ride up to Horsethief Springs and a surprising discovery!

Technically my first full day of vacation was Sunday and I used that as a travel day to get to my hotel at Jean, Nevada- yes I decided to give the Goldstrike Hotel and Casino another chance, and I am glad that I did. Spacious, quiet room with no problems, and a bus driver rate- 4 days and only $108 charged to my credit card. Hurray!

Monday was the day that I discovered the Mojave Cross back up, but prior to that I made a very enjoyable ride about 28 miles north up Cima Road to the Kingston Range Wilderness, destination Horsethief Springs.
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The road is not maintained by San Bernardino County so unless you have a
truck or other such heavy duty vehicle, you might want to take your time, 40
mph or less, watching out for the potholes and washes running across the road.
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The road up to Horsethief Springs and right up to the pass about a mile or so
farther is passable by passenger car, once you get to the mine stamping ruins on the right, the road becomes filled with large rocks, I would continue on only with a truck or suv type vehicle.

Here is the view as you get to the springs.
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Those cottonwood trees you spy around the curve are by the springs. There is also a ranch house there in a beautiful location.
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Looking down the hill at the ranch house snuggled in with the trees, what an awesome place to have lived and worked!
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There is the surprise that I told you about, more in a minute.
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The kiosk above may be new. Also further up the road after you crest the hill, the BLM has completely fenced off the right
side of the road, the Pahrunp Valley side. Probably to prevent what I found down the road as I went around the bend.
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Those guys were in the road, if I had flying downhill, I would have no option except to hit the cows or go off the embankment for a steep drop on the right side. Drive slowly and carefully up Cima Road when you cross a cattle guard, they are there because this is open range country.
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The exact spot where I took the cow photos.

The big news of this ride was the renovation that appears to be going on by
the BLM of the ranch house at Horsethief Springs. There were trucks there and you could see and hear the workers inside. They had new tin roofing up on the
roof on the side facing uphill and were redoing the inside it appeared. I also
noted the BLM fencing and a picnic table along with another kiosk and a vault toilet down the hill less than a mile from the house, where the hiking trail is. These are new to me, I haven’t been up here in at least 3 years, and are a welcome improvement, perhaps leading to a few more visitors.

Here is a video as I drove up to the springs, you come around a bend and there it is. Check out the view as I drive the Morongomobile over a cattle guard,
that is the view a cow sees and it scares them and they won’t cross one.

What a scenic area!

Folks I hope you enjoyed this post. I will put more video up on my youtube channel as time becomes available, just click on that youtube logo above and
it will take you to my channel there.

I am out of this hotel room and heading back to the Mojave National Preserve
where I hope to try to climb up one of the famous Kelso Dunes! So stay tuned, I will try to have another post up tonight. Here is a preview of coming attractions. This photo shows exactly how far I made it up Kessler Peak before turning around.
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Hope to see you out on the backporch again real soon.

Morongobill