04 January 2019

Table Top

Mojave National Preserve

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Off to another mountain! This one took a little time to find parking, but eventually I found a bit along something I wasn't sure was a real road. It takes a bit of a jump of about 4 feet up quite suddenly which a few users have found a way around, then looks a bit like it is trying to be a camp site, then settles into being a road going on and on towards whatever it might desire. It is even on my map. It is easier to pull off to the side of than the main road so helpful as parking before that sudden up. From here, it should be a jaunty walk across the fairly flat desert followed by a general attempt to go up quickly, but not so quickly as there is a cliff to try to scale. Like the other peaks in the area, this one has a number of cliffs to ring it.

rough stuff on a bit of questionable road
Rough stuff doesn't bother the people who come here. This is the Mojave National Preserve!

I follow the road a little bit, but its direction is far too much to the south for my taste. I am going east to get to the base of Table Top, mountain of extraordinary mesa shape. It is two miles to the east with something smaller to get around first.

some sort of flat topped peak
That doesn't look far ahead, so it must be the something smaller.

rather wider flat looking mountain
Wild Horse Mesa, also holding up the terms of looking like a table.

03 January 2019

Cave Spring and roadside lava caves

Mojave National Preserve

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I noticed there was a spring marked on the electronic map not more than a mile from my campsite and decided to see what it may hold. Probably the cows know about it and it is just a mess. Certainly man knows about it, it's on the map. Probably it has been piped for the cows. Zooming closer, a name appears. "Cave Spring" probably means it's another mine that hit water. Anyway, I resolve to stride out across the desert and see it, then wander back along the ridge it is nearly on and see the road side caves on the way back.

near edge of Wild Horse Mesa
The spring is supposed to be on this close ridge of Wild Horse Mesa. It is around a couple corners from here.

Setting off, there is very quickly a cow path going my way. I follow it across the desert edging around the side of the ridge, until it gets lost in an area of cow sitting about. I just go on for I am not quite ready for sitting about. Cow paths develop under me again as I climb over a low rock ridge using a break in the rocks. Up on a far wall, there seems to be a spot where the rocks have been dug like for a mine. Maybe that is my destination.

large bones including leg and back
Cows live here and they die here.

more of the edge of the mesa
The spring should be in the right hand canyon. There is something that looks like diggings ahead.

01 January 2019

Hole-in-the-Wall: Rings Loop and Barber Peak Loop

Mojave National Preserve

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The Hole-in-the-Wall visitor center for the Mojave National Preserve has a little notoriety to its local trails because one is set with rings to help travelers traverse a couple spots that otherwise would be somewhat difficult climbs. There are two loops possible to combine with the short rings loop, one to the south known as the Rings Loop is about a mile, one to the north known as the Barber Peak Loop is about six miles. The Rings Loop heads out from the south side of a parking lot near the visitor center and returns through the Hole to a picnic area on the same spur road but past the visitor center. There is a sign to show the start. This sign also explains the trail markings that are put up frequently along the route to that it is more easily distinguished from washes, cow trails, random abundances of human footprints off trail, and whatever else might exist to get folks lost.

Hole-in-the-Wall visitor center
The visitor center in front of Barber Peak and, not visible, the hole-in-the-wall.

trail in the desert
A bit of the trail in the desert. It can quickly become hard to distinguish from the rest of the desert and the rest of the trails.

Woods Mountains and Tortise Shell Mountain
Looking at the Woods Mountains and Tortoise Shell Mountain across the main road.

The trail navigates to the side of a couple washes and already it is easy to wander off in the wrong direction if not looking for signs. Ultimately, it just follows a rather flat route around the base of the mountain that happens to have a slot through it that is the hole-in-the-wall. As I get a bit further off into a wash that was not meant to be followed down the middle so much as down the side, I notice an information sign that also serves to show where the trail is. This one happens to shout out some petroglyphs that can be found on a few of the local rocks.