Footlose and unfocused in the Mojave and Sonoran Desert Dec. 8-10, 2020

John Morrow

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Joined
May 22, 2015
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606
After freezing my kiester at 4000ft in Mojave National Preserve, I really had no clear idea of what I wanted to do next. Covid killed my usual holiday plans so I was beginning to think I was in it for the long haul down here in the desert. At least by my standards. When temps get into the low 20s and my water bottle freezes solid outside of the tent, it is time to lower my base elevation. Corn Springs, with its rock art and hiking potential, had been on my radar. A longish drive, yet lower in altitude and latitude, and surrounded by the Chuckwalla Mountains Wilderness, made the drive worthwhile. Plus, I'd be quite close to Joshua Tree National Park.

The petroglyphs are fantastic. The site is considered to be on a prehistoric migration/trade route from the Colorado River used by the tribes such as the Chemehuevi inhabiting the lower river corridor. Typical elaborate geometric abstract style of those tribes.


DSC05939
by John Morrow, on Flickr


DSC05956
by John Morrow, on Flickr


DSC05997
by John Morrow, on Flickr

My goal was to find a few summits that I could link with some enjoyable ridgerunning and have some big views of future potential trips.

I chose a couple unnamed peaks leading to a known and oft scrambled benchmark. Fine scrambling on the southeast ridge of Peak 2827 led to a long ridgewalk over Peak 2927 and then onto Corn Benchmark 3149' After the summits I descended a west ridge of Corn BM to a really nice waterpolished canyon trending south back to my start about 2 miles west of the campground (good road for decent clearance passenger vehicles).


first sun
by John Morrow, on Flickr


ridge looks nice
by John Morrow, on Flickr


granitic solid
by John Morrow, on Flickr


On to Peak 2927
by John Morrow, on Flickr


Corn Benchmark next
by John Morrow, on Flickr


Corn Springs below
by John Morrow, on Flickr


unnamed canyon descent
by John Morrow, on Flickr

After a taste of the Chuckwalla Mountains I decided to save other explorations for another trip and move on to Joshua Tree.

In Jtree I did mostly either trail hikes or easy crosscountry walks up easy summits.

CA State reclosed campgrounds so I was left to fend for myself. However, JTree NP has a great rule that backpack camping is allowed just one mile from any road.

After wasting most of the day getting oriented to the park on drives and picnicking I managed to get up Mount Inspiration for the sunset. An easy trail mile from Keys View parking.


crazy rays
by John Morrow, on Flickr


Setting sun on Inspiration Point
by John Morrow, on Flickr

Time to find a camp so I drove in the dark to Pleasant Valley and backpacked a dark mile along the dry lake to a fine camp. Against my better judgement I found myself above 3000 feet again and a cold below freezing night ensued. Low 20s cold.


1 mile backpack
by John Morrow, on Flickr


dry lake JTree style
by John Morrow, on Flickr

Returning to my car, I drove the Geology Loop (High Clearance required!) and moved up the road to a parking pullout for an easy walk up Malapai Butte.


Up Malapai Butte
by John Morrow, on Flickr


return from the Butte
by John Morrow, on Flickr

Lots of daylight left, and less energy, left me seeking one more easy hike. Something called Negro Hill fit the bill. By walking it from the east and descending north gave me a nice loop through Joshua Tree forest.


ubiquitous
by John Morrow, on Flickr


typical JTree scenery
by John Morrow, on Flickr

Though I left tons to do in JTree, I wasn't looking forward to more cold camping and backpacking to find a site. So back all the way to the Colorado River I went. Wasting gas and wearing tires...by my standards, but it was pulling me there.
 
Last edited:

Titans

Member
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Joined
Aug 18, 2018
Messages
1,102
Thanks for sharing John, right now a walk in the sunny desert among Joshua trees and cacti looks like a dream!
 

Reef&Ruins

Colorado Plateau is calling...
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
536
Love Joshua Tree. Some really cool mining relics can be found there.
 

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