Rebecca Wilks

Rebecca Wilks; Photographer, Teacher, Yarnellian, Do-Gooder

Sunday, March 6, 2022

Winds of Change


The Raven at the edge of the wilderness

I’ve really said enough about the wind in the Mojave Desert.  Blah blah blah.  I’ll just say that the sprinter is much more wind-stable in camp, which leads to a better night’s sleep.

A month or so ago I contacted the Needles CA BLM office and had a lovely conversation with a ranger there.  She helped me plan a boondocking visit to the edge of a wilderness area in Mojave Trails National Monument which had been on my list for years.  She was generous with her time and knowledge as I followed along with her on Google Earth.  She even invited me to call if I had more questions, which I will of course.

Cactus Detail, Mojave Trails NM

I wanted quiet places, and we got them.  We could hear the trains, but otherwise I’m sure there was nobody within 10-15 miles of us. These areas are a little stark, photographically. In my world, that’s nothing more than a fun challenge.

Streambed geology, Mojave Trail NM

The first night we were at my Ranger friend’s pick, a quiet spot with fascinating geology.

Bonanza Spring, Mojave Trails NM

Then we moved on to a small perennial spring.  I was staked out in the viewing area for hours, expecting (as dry as the weather has been) to see wildlife, but saw just a few small birds and heard the distant yip of coyotes just before dawn.

Speaking of dry weather, in three nights we didn’t see a single wildflower.  The first spot has fairly heavy growth of brittlebush, but not a single bloom.  I’ll need to go back there in a wetter year.

Mid Hills area, Mojave National Monument

The temperature got up into the 80s that second day, and we decided to go to a higher altitude for our last night.  We’d tried Mid Hills Campground in the Mojave National Preserve before, but had turned back on the muddy roads on the way in.  This trip we only needed to brave the washboards.  We had a spectacular campsite in the piñon juniper forest with views. The wind had abated and at 5600 ft elevation it was a great day for reading and exploring. 

The family, Mojave National Monument

Three entirely new places and some soul-cleansing peace; what more could a girl want? Change is good; wind not so much.

As always, there are more images on the website.

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