Mojave Rallly

Hole in the wall 1Hole in the wall 3Hole in the wall 2Hole in the wall

The Cuatro Estados Mojave National Preserve Rally began on Thursday, October 16,
2014. Those attending were Carol & John Herr, Becky & Bob Coulter, Joyce & Bill
Williams and Diana McVey. The Rallymasters were Jann & Barry Engleman. The rally
was held at the remote Hole-in-the-Wall Campground within the Preserve. After
everyone arrived on Thursday, we had the typical happy hour, heavy snacks and good
conversation.
On Friday, we walked to the Hole-in-the-Wall Visitor’s Center and took the 1.5 mile Ring
Loop Trail around the south end of the Hole-in-the-Wall area, into Banshee Canyon and
back to the campground. The highlights of the hike were the very unusual rock
formations and a climb through a slot area of the canyon up some large rings drilled into
the rock to aid hikers in climbing back out of the canyon. In the afternoon, we drove
down the 4X4 Macedonia Canyon road to check out the site of the old Columbia Mine.
Then we again enjoyed a happy hour with a potluck dinner at the Engleman’s coach
and made plans for the next day.
Saturday the Park Service had a ranger walk scheduled at the Kelso Sand Dunes so we
decided to take advantage of this event since we had planned to visit the sand dunes
anyway. We stopped at the Kelso Depot on the way to the dunes. The depot was a
very attractive train stop for the Union Pacific Railroad which has been restored to
include a visitor’s center, museum and gift shop. The dune walk with the ranger didn’t
start until 11:00 am and the day was warming up rapidly at the dunes area. Our plan
was to walk with the ranger and then continue climbing the dunes as far as anyone
wanted to go. The sky was bright blue and the sun was heating up the sand to where
climbing would have been difficult so we all eventually decided to return to the parking
area where we had lunch. We all did our own thing for the rest of the day and return to
the campground for another happy hour and snacks. That evening, we went to a ranger
talk at the Visitor’s Center. Ranger Roland gave us a very interesting talk.
Sunday we were off to an area called Rock Springs. We actually went a little too far
before realizing we had actually passed Rock Springs. This mistake turned out to be a
plus because we got down into this valley where some of the largest Joshua Trees we
have ever seen were right along the road. We got some good pictures of these big
trees and then u-turned back to Rock Springs. One of the attractions was an old stone
house they now call the Bert Smith Rock House. It was built by a World War I veteran
who had been poisoned by mustard gas in the war and was not expected to live a full
life. He came to the Mojave thinking the climate would prolong his life. He actually lived
in this desert location for about 25 years. An artist named Carl Faber lived in the same
rock house in the 1980’s, selling his art work to travelers on the Mojave Road. The
Rock Springs area included a loop trail which we hiked. On the trail, we saw some
pictographs, the actual spring and the location of Rock Springs Camp, an old military
outpost. Sunday evening we had another happy hour and potluck followed by a fire.
The agenda for Monday was to drive to the Cima Volcanic Field which includes 40
cinder cone vents and a large area basaltic lave flow within the Mojave Preserve. We
did a short hike to the entrance of a lava tube and we all managed to climb down into the underground tube with the help of a rigid ladder placed there by the Park Service.
The tube had several holes in the roof which allowed light beams to enter. The light
beams became very pronounced as we stirred up dust in the cave. After the lava tube,
we traveled another 20 miles on the Kelbaker Road to Baker, CA. We had a good lunch
at the Mad Greek Restaurant and some of us followed with ice cream at DQ. Since we
were camped in a pretty remote location, this was the only time we made it to a town or
restaurant during the entire rally. We took I15 and Cima Road to get home. We
stopped at the Teutonia Peak Trailhead which we planned to hike the last day and the
Herr’s discovered their Jeep had a flat tire. While changing the tire, one of the weird lug
nuts broke when the flat was still on the car so we couldn’t get the flat tire off. Long
story short, a service truck finally came out from Baker to get the lug nut off. Some of
us went on home. Bob & Becky stayed with John & Carol until the service truck arrived.
It was almost dark when they finally got back to the campground but we still managed a
late happy hour with snacks.
We all decided Tuesday was a day off. Bob, Diana and Jann went for a hike right out of
the campground which included the rings again. Barry went picture taking on Barber
Peak. Everyone enjoyed their day off in their own way. Happy hour, potluck and good
company at 5:00 pm was, once more, the evening event. We discussed our plan for the
next day which was a 6 mile hike on the Barber Peak Trail right out of the campground.
Becky suggested we leave at 6:30 in the morning (arg!) to take advantage of cooler
weather. And, Becky’s plan prevailed.
Wednesday morning at about 6:45 we are on the trail. We did some strategic car
parking to cut down on the 6 miles and we got the distance down to about 4 miles for
those not wanting to do the rings again and 5 miles for those did want to include
Banshee Canyon and the rings one more time. It was a very nice hike around Barber
Peak. Bob, Diana and Jann won the “ring” prize for climbing these rings three times
during the rally. We were back in camp by about 11:00 am. Since this was our last day,
Bill and Barry decided they wanted to still hike the Teutonia Peak trail where you walk
through the densest Joshua Tree forest in the world. Most of the crew decided they
also wanted to do the hike so after lunch we headed for the Teutonia Peak and Cima
Dome area. This was also a very nice 3-4 mile hike through these amazing Joshua
trees. We made it to a great overlook near the top of Teutonia Peak where we could
see the Cima Dome. It is a round-shaped dome of granite which rises about 1500 feet
above the Cima Volcanic Field where the lava tube was located. Ranger Roland
explained it as magma that got close to the surface but never erupted. We concluded
our rally by returning to the campground for one more happy hour and food.
Jann & Barry really enjoyed hosting this rally and we hope everyone in our small, but
mighty, group enjoyed the Mojave Preserve Rally as much as we did. It truly is a place
well worth visiting, especially with the almost perfect weather we had. IMG_2210 IMG_6237 10690118_10203520177618277_2445584507608412024_n 10646625_10203520168298044_4540139535047531468_n 10639616_10203992131742001_1627813010342046173_n 1604778_10203992132262014_7300994026771523351_n