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Message #2798 of 4034  *NEW*
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Carol  
Kelso Dunes and Lava Flow Petroglyphs - Mojave National Preserve Trip Report - Part 2
2/23/06, 8:41am (Last Edited: 2/23/06, 8:48am)
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Kelso is the site of a railroad depot that’s been restored and converted to a visitor center. It was here that I discovered that my wallet was missing! I figured I must have left it at the gas station in Newberry Springs and so I called them and thank goodness, someone had turned it in! Jeffry and I toured the depot visitor center and bookstore and talked to one of the rangers about petroglyph sites in the preserve. She told us of one site near the lava flow north on the Kelbaker Road and so there we went. We explored the lava flow for a while before we started to spot the petroglyphs. Jeffry also found a plant that I was not familiar with, a coyote melon. A strange plant to be growing in the desert, I thought, it looks like a small watermelon! Apparently, though, it is not good to eat.

We then drove back down to Kelso and then on to the Kelso Dunes Trailhead. Kelso Dunes are one of the largest dune fields in the west. They cover about 45 square miles and the tallest dune is about 700 feet tall. They are also very unique as they’re one of only about 30 dunes in the world that are “booming dunes.” At times when the sand avalanches down a steep side of the tallest dunes a low, resonant booming noise is created. It is caused by the extreme uniformity of the sand grains and the dryness in the air. Jeffry and I climbed the tallest dune that afternoon and after enjoying the view and playing in the sand for a while (I have a great video sequence on my camera of Jeffry doing sommersaults down the dune!), we went down the steepest side, sort of running down to try and create the boom. Sure enough, they’re not making it up, the sand dune sings! And not only do you hear the “boom”, you feel it vibrating up through your feet and your legs. It was one of the neatest things I’ve ever experienced! You have to try it if you ever find yourself out at Mojave NP!

After we hiked back out of the dune field we drove northeast and ended up camping off of the Cedar Canyon Road. Just as the sun was going down we found a nice campsite next to a couple of juniper trees. As I started to set up the tent several groups of coyotes started singing! It was magnificent to watch the sun set into the western sky and to hear their howling at the same time.

Jeffry set out to make a fire as it was to be another chilly night. We made dinner including my fabulous grilled cheese sandwiches and Jeffry’s wonderful s’mores. I retired a little before Jeffry and I slept very soundly that night. I woke up just when the sun was coming up and again the coyotes were singing. Seems they like to sing at sundown and sunrise!

Jeffry went for a morning hike and saw a herd of mule deer. Then after eating bagels for breakfast and packing up we drove towards Hole-in-the-Wall passing through an area that burned last year in what was the Mojave Desert’s largest wildfire in recorded history. The fire burned through Pinyon pine and juniper woodland as well as the edge of the largest Joshua Tree forest in the world.

More pics here http://www.tarol.com/mojave_kelso.html

And stay tuned for Part 3!

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The mountains are calling and I must go. ~ John Muir ~ www.tarol.com
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Message #2800 of 4034  *NEW*
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Larry Levy  
Re: Kelso Dunes and Lava Flow Petroglyphs - Mojave National Preserve Trip Report - Part 2
2/23/06, 9:44am
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Amazing pictures!!!

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" I lift up mine eyes to the hills, whence cometh my help.", Psalm 121
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Message #2805 of 4034  *NEW*
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Larry Levy
Carol  
Re: Kelso Dunes and Lava Flow Petroglyphs - Mojave National Preserve Trip Report - Part 2
2/24/06, 8:47am
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>Amazing pictures!!!

Thanks Larry!

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The mountains are calling and I must go. ~ John Muir ~ www.tarol.com
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