East Mojave Desert - March 2015

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DaveK
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East Mojave Desert - March 2015

#1

Post by DaveK » Mon Mar 23, 2015 8:54 am

The East Mojave Desert is a spectacular place to visit. Before the Mojave Preserve was created, that general area was known as the East Mojave National Scenic Area. Both the Preserve and the area surrounding it have a rich history to explore and fabulous scenery to enjoy.

We set out to see a few of the highlights of the East Mojave and successfully saw each one. They included a hike to the top of Table Top Mountain, the Mojave Lava Tube, a hike to the top of one of the cinder cones in the Cinder Cone Lava Beds, Cow Cove, the Amboy Crater, and a visit to Roy's Cafe in Amboy.

Roy's Cafe is an interesting place to visit and it is even more interesting to know it's history, (see: http://www.rt66roys.com/). It is located on a very active part of the old Route 66 Highway that sees a lot of activity on weekends. Today, Roy's is a "Cafe" in name only as they cannot serve any food until they abate the asbestos in the building. It does serve as a lonely gas stop for those traveling Route 66 and who are willing to pay north of $5 per gallon. But, since it is the only gas for many miles around and its a great place to visit, it's worth the trip.

We had originally planned to see the Kelso Train Depot, in part because they were supposed to be serving food and beverages. Since they have closed the concession (and no food or beverages are available) and since everyone had been there before, we skipped it. If you have not visited the Depo, it is worth the time to check it out.

It would take years to see most of what the East Mojave Desert has to offer, but we had a good start. For those who want to enjoy the Desert, there are a few bits of advice that will help to ensure your enjoyment.
  • 1. This area is massive and getting from one place to another will take time and a lot of gas. Everyone in our party was carrying 10 extra gallons of fuel and for some, it was not nearly enough. If you run low, there are no gas stations that are nearby.
    2. There are very few established campgrounds, but they do exist. The best camping however is dispersed or wilderness camping. This means that you will need to bring everything that your camp site requires, such as tables, chairs, and water. Water is one of those things that is difficult to find in the desert (unless you know where to look). Bring plenty!!!
    3. Even in the best of times, the weather in the Desert is unpredictable. Be well prepared for big changes, when you least expect it.
The trip was a huge success, due in large part to Travis, Sara, Steve, Shelly and Bruce. Good friends and good cooks make for a great time. Thanks everyone!

Here are pictures of the areas we visited:

Hike to the top of Table Top Mountain Table Top is about 6100 feet and the climb to the top requires some effort. The views at the top however are well worth it!!!.
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Hike to the Amboy Crater
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View of the Caldera
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On the Rim
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Lava that overflowed the cone
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The Mojave Lava Tube
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On top of the tube
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View from the tube
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Hike to Cow Cove Cow Cove contains a large number of petroglyphs - here are a few.

On the way
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The petroglyphs
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DaveK
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NotAMog
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Re: East Mojave Desert - March 2015

#2

Post by NotAMog » Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:38 pm

Dave,

Thanks for the writeup and posting the pictures. I thought I'd add a few of my own.

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We saw lots of these curious silk nests at several of our stops.

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On closer inspection they appear to be home to these small catapillars.

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There were plenty of signs of the fire that swept through large areas of the Mojave Preserve in 2005. It was easy to see that the burned areas had many more Juniper and other large trees and bushes than today.

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We did stop briefly at the Kelso Depot on the second and third days.

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Here is the old lunch counter nicely restored.

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Another view inside the lava tube.

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A nice picture of our group inspecting the inside of the lava tube.

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Access to the lava tube has been made very easy with these metal steps.

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From the lava tube we saw a cinder cone with a curious notch in the rim so we decided to head over to it and hike up. Here is a view looking down at our vehicles.

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The notch in the rim was carved out to make a road. It was difficult to tell why someone would go through all of the trouble to build a road up the side of the cinder cone and cut a notch out connecting to a very steep road on the other side.

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From of the top of the cinder cone you could see another nearby cinder cone that burst out spilling lava across the desert floor.

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Hiking back down along the spiral road.

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A visit to Roy's in Amboy. It was pretty cool to see this location that has been used for many movies and commercials. It looks like the new owner is slowly restoring the site.

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Its about a mile hike from the Amboy Crater parking area to the crater itself.

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The area between the parking lot is strewn with rough volcanic rocks and has collected some deep sand over the years. There were many small critter tracks apparent in the sand as we hiked out.

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The preferred trail to climb Amboy Crater is through a breach on the west side of the cinder cone.

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Its clear to see that some folks were having fun with the rocks at the bottom of the caldera. At least their art work is easily removable.

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A view of Amboy from the rim of Amboy Crater.

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The rim is actually quite narrow at the top. This was one of the wider spots. Other areas were just wide enough for a single pathway around the top.

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We spied one of the critters that was leaving tracks in the sand while returning to the parking area.
Bruce Berger
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brentbba
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Re: East Mojave Desert - March 2015

#3

Post by brentbba » Thu Mar 26, 2015 2:16 pm

Nice report and pics.

Those notches up on top of the cinder cones aren't just for a road. It's how the lava rock miners 'tested' the cone for quality of the lava rock from what I understand.

Did you get back to the lava rock mine out the same road as the lava tube? It's long been inactive, but loads of old equipment out there and still stacks of the mined lava rock stacked by size.

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DaveK
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Re: East Mojave Desert - March 2015

#4

Post by DaveK » Thu Mar 26, 2015 5:24 pm

brentbba wrote:Nice report and pics.

Those notches up on top of the cinder cones aren't just for a road. It's how the lava rock miners 'tested' the cone for quality of the lava rock from what I understand.

Did you get back to the lava rock mine out the same road as the lava tube? It's long been inactive, but loads of old equipment out there and still stacks of the mined lava rock stacked by size.

He y Brent!!

We passed what looked like an active cinder mine operation. It had, as you say, many piles of lava rocks, all sorted by size. I understand that it is used (or used in the past) as road base. The cinder cone we climbed, was near, but not on the same road as the lava tube.
DaveK
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mtngote
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Re: East Mojave Desert - March 2015

#5

Post by mtngote » Sun Mar 29, 2015 6:56 pm

Dave, Thank you for a great trip... We had a great time! Just love the Mojave ! Great scenery, fun hikes, Good Company...


Shellie and Steve

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Nix
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Re: East Mojave Desert - March 2015

#6

Post by Nix » Mon Apr 06, 2015 8:23 pm

Thanks for trip report. Such a great area to explore!

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