Saturday, February 6, 2010

East Mojave Redux

We got walloped by another major rain storm yesterday, which continued into today. There was a break this afternoon, from around 3-5pm, but now it's BAAACCKKKK!! Our local forecasters seemed to have downplayed this one, and now several hundred of those poor folks in the burn areas in LA County are either out of house and home due to mudslides, or have been forced to evacuate. Evacuation is critical under these circumstances, but I can feel the homeowners' frustrations. The last storm was actually worse in terms of rainfall totals. During storm #1, many residents were forced to leave their homes by edict but, in the end, nothing happened. This time around, however, most of the residents seemed to be caught off guard. By all predictions, this current storm wasn't supposed to dump the 4+ inches that it has dumped so far and, to date, more than 43 homes have been damaged by mudslides and 800 homes evacuated in the areas of La Crescenta, Altadena, La Canada, and Acton.

In our neck of the woods, a portion of the Ortega Highway (State Route 74 from Lake Elsinore to Orange County) has been washed out and the westbound lanes closed.

So now, I'm sequestered indoors, with not much to do except putter on the computer. In the process of scanning & uploading some of my old pictures onto SmugMug, I waxed nostalgic over some of our bygone trips to the California deserts.

In our heyday, Gilbert and I were certifiable desert rats, and one of our fav destinations was the East Mojave National Preserve. Why? Peace and serenity, without the hordes of seasonal tourists, goths or meth heads.

Here is a retrospective of our past travels to the East Mojave:

10/4/1997 My sister, Elaine ("EE") and I at Hole-in-the-Wall (in our younger & skinnier days).

10/4/1997 Desert Four O'Clock (Mirabilis multiflora). Hole-in-the-Wall.

10/5/1997 Gilbert, moi, and Robert (in ascending order) ascending Kelso Dunes. The dune field covers about 45 square miles and tops out at almost 700 feet (among the tallest dunes in the U.S, second to Eureka Dunes in Death Valley). This was the hike that coulda killed us. Unless you've ever trekked in sand, you just won't understand. We almost made it to the top, but gave up about fifty feet short. Robert actually summited, but he puked when he got there.

10/31/1998 Prepping breakfast at Providence Mountains State Recreation Area. Morning after being pummeled
by 50+MPH winds the night before. For the full story, go to

10/31/1998 Ranger Station at Providence Mountains State Recreation Area.

6/10/2000 Elaine, with the fruits of her pine nut harvest labor. Campsite #6, Mid Hills.

6/11/2000 EE & Gil, New York Mountains.

4/27/2001 Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris). Kelbaker Road to Cinder Cones.

4/27/2001 Blister Beetle (Lytta magister). Trilobite Wilderness, East Mojave.

10/12/2001 Coyote Gourd/Calabazilla (Cucurbita foetidissima). Hole-in-the-Wall.

5/24/2003 Claret Cup/Mojave Mound Cactus (Echinocereus triglochidiatus). Black Canyon Road, between Mid Hills & Hole-in-the-Wall.

5/24/2003 Ceraunus Blue (Hemiargus ceraunus) on Plagiobothrys spp. Mid Hills.

5/24/2003 Dwarf Yellow/Dainty Sulphur (Nathalis iole) on White Aster (Chaetopappa ericoides). Mid Hills.

5/24/2003 Mojave Prickly Pear (Opuntia erinacea). Mid Hills, near campsite #1.

5/24/2003 Palmer's Penstemon (Penstemon palmeri). Black Canyon Road, between Mid Hills and Hole-in-the-Wall.

5/25/2003 Goodding's Verbena (Verbena gooddingii). Wash off Black Canyon Road, just north of Mid Hills.

5/25/2003 Green Ephedra/Mormon Tea (Ephedra viridris). Near campgrounds, Mid Hills.

5/25/2003 Desert Milkweed (Asclepias erosa). Kelso-Cima Road.

5/25/2003 Teutonia Peak Trail, Cima Dome.

5/25/2003 Desert Mariposa Lily (Calochortus kennedyi). Teutonia Peak Trail, Cima Dome.

5/25/2003 Teutonia Peak Trail, Cima Dome.

5/25/2003 Desert Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja angustifolia). Teutonia Peak Trail, Cima Dome.

5/25/2003 Desert Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes coloro) on Desert Larkspur (Delphinium parishii). Teutonia Peak Trail, Cima Dome.

5/26/2003 Gambel's Quail (Callipepla gambelii). Black Canyon Road, south of Hole-in-the-Wall.

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