Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Mojave National Preserve (not yet a National Park), CA

And thus begins our trek back east! We leave the California Coast and busy highways of Los Angeles behind to seek solitude in the desert. This is the exact spot where we camped in January 2011 (our first season RVing) and where we met our friends from Quebec, Jean et Denyse. This is our view of the Kelso Dune.

After a day and night of rain, we awake to thick fog, which starts to burn off at about 7:30 am. The dune crests are just peaking over the top of the rolling fog, with more fog behind them.

The mountains to the east behind us with the fog spilling out onto the valley floor.

Kelso Dune is about 600 feet high, the third highest in America. This is the American Thanksgiving long weekend and many people come to climb and sand board. Yes, that's a person standing to the right of the peak.

On our first night, we are treated to this beautiful sunset.

An artsy photo of the shifting sands and the swirling impressions left by the wind and grass.

When we were here before, we didn't climb the highest dune. This year we are determined. It's a very, very, very difficult climb in soft sand that rolls you back half a step with each step you take. That's me, slowly making my way to the top (I actually crawled on hands and knees part of the way to save my aching feet!) Did I mention it's a very, very, very difficult climb?
Success! Me finally making it to the top.

This family is enjoying sand boarding with the kids and dogs. They sure have a lot of fun.

Can you find our trailer in this series of photos from the top of the dune?
Ahh, there it is!

Brad loves playing in the sand. This is the way down, which is a LOT easier than the climb up!

The first scorpion we've ever seen on our trips. We've seen tarantulas and many snakes, but never scorpions. He is very tiny, about 1/2 the length of my baby finger, maybe a bit more. Not sure what kind he is though, even after a bit of research on the internet. Apparently, they all look alike! This one is hiding under a rock that Brad moves (of course!) and immediately takes an attack posture. He is ready to kick Brad's butt!

No Grady! These huge holes are all over the desert and Grady would easily fit. We figure they are fox dens, although we see no wildlife other than a few birds (cactus wrens?) and the scorpion above. But there is much evidence of wildlife with small, mouse-size holes and these. There are also numerous ant hills in the sand, but they are all abandoned. Strange.

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