Monday, March 21, 2016

Hole-In-The-Wall Campground, Mojave National Preserve


After leaving Pahrump we decided to spend the weekend back at Silurian Lake, where we stopped on the way to Death Valley a couple weeks ago. It was much hotter this time, low 90s, but we survived by turning on the generator to run the AC for a couple hours during the hottest part of the afternoon.


We still managed to hike across the dry lake into the Silurian Hills. Distance is deceptive over such a long stretch of nothingness. It was almost 3 miles just to get to the base of the hills.

Are we there yet?


As it was fast approaching 90 by the time we got there, we just walked up and over the back of a small hill where we found lots of flowering creosote bushes and beavertail cactus.



And a few scattered desert lilies, just in time for Easter.


Does anyone know what this plant is? We saw many of them in Death Valley and I forgot to inquire. It looks like a yellow web on top of a small shrub.


Sadly we also came across this graveyard for old appliances. Guess you throw them out here and then shoot at them, as they were all riddled with holes.


Yesterday we headed to the Mojave National Preserve, south of Baker, CA. The roads are in terrible condition so if you come be prepared for a slow drive and keep an eye out for missing chunks of pavement and large potholes. We stopped at the Kelso Depot Visitor Center on Kelbaker Rd to get some information. We planned to go to the Hole-In-The-Wall campground, 26 miles from the visitor center, but 13 of those miles are on a dirt/gravel road. The ranger said it would be better to take the long way around, south to I-40 and then east. Unfortunately the exit is closed for construction so we had to go another 7 miles to the next exit and turn back. So we had a 70 mile drive instead of 26. Maybe we should have taken the shorter route.

The campground is in a lovely setting at 4,400’ so it’s cooler here. And about an hour after we arrived in came our buddy Suzanne, joining us following a weekend at Joshua Tree. After getting set up in a very nice site, she came over bearing a large bottle of Hangar 24 brewery’s Pugachev’s Cobra Barrel Roll No. 3, which was one of Jim’s favorites last year in San Diego. At 13% alcohol it packs a punch, but is so very smooth and flavorful. We had a great time sipping it while catching up with Suzanne and hearing about her trip to Baja.

A beer this special comes with a cork, which didn’t want to come out. Given the price, they should provide someone to remove it!







Although we’re under a wind advisory for the next couple of days we plan to get out and do a little hiking. We may also check out some dispersed campsites, but the campground is quite nice for $6/night with the senior pass. There is plenty of space between sites, along with potable water, dump, trash, and great views. All that and 2 bars of Verizon 4G!

Looks like a quiet place to hang out and avoid the Easter week/spring break crowds.




  1. My, my, you are prompt. My beer glass is not even washed yet. ;-)

    I saw this "silly string" stuff in your photo on the Death Valley Facebook Page. Here is their description:

    "There is this weird orange STUFF all over the bushes out there. What the heck is it?

    This is one of our most common questions during wildflower seasons. And it IS weird stuff. It looks like a giant explosion of silly string all over the foliage. And it feels weird, too. Almost, well, ooh… slimy… cool… and rubbery to the touch. And the way it creeps out, wrapping a tendril around an unsuspecting innocent flower, then slowly sucking the life force from it, like some creepy alien in a science fiction movie.

    The weird stuff is Toothed Dodder, also known as witch’s hair. Toothed Dodder is actually a vine in the morning glory family, related to sweet potato. It is a parasite that will kill individual annual flowers it encounters, but only weaken the bushes which are its main host.

    We may sympathize with the poor host plants, but dodder belongs here in the Mojave Desert. The plants which serve as its host have evolved to deal with its thieving ways. It’s not really all that different than being browsed by herbivores or eaten by insects. Everything’s just trying to make a living. Dodder is a parasite, but it is not an invasive plant. It’s just another weird and wonderful example of the way that life has adapted to the extreme environment of Death Valley.

  2. Seems like a great site. Sophie seems to be enjoying it. Those sunsets are fantastic. Love the flowers too but boy is that parched ground. Great variety of beer glasses there in the beer with a view picture.

  3. I just love those desert lilies! What gorgeous and I mean gorgeous photos of the sky!

  4. No, no! Do not ever take that shorter route. I took my Kawasaki KLX 250 from Hole-In-The-Wall to Kelso Depot and found the dirt portion challenging at times. I had some fairly knobby tires at the time. I noticed fishtailed truck tracks where previous folks nearly got stuck. 4WD recommended. Try it with your toad instead of the motorhome if you really want to try it.

    1. We're not going back that way with the motorhome but do plan to take a drive in the Subaru over that road to the dunes while we're here so we'll find out what kind of shape it's in. We figured with as bad as the paved roads are the dirt roads have to be really bad!

    2. It was mostly the deep, soft sandy parts that were problematic. Hard to detect before you hit them. A Subaru like yours will have an easier time than my motorcycle due to the stability of four tires vs two. Have fun!

  5. I don't comment often, but i've really enjoyed reading your blog over the past year or so.

    1. Thank you! I write the blog mainly for us to have a record of our travels, but always appreciate hearing from readers.

  6. So glad Suzanne could join you, and fill you in on the Dodder. I asked at the VC. I really liked Hole in the Wall. Didn't think the shorter gravel route was any more rough than the paved. Just a slow drive.

    1. There's no gravel (or was none a few years ago) on Macedonia Canyon Road, which is the only shortcut over to the Kelso Dunes I could find. Is there another route?

  7. I am behind in my reading, and just finished catching up on Suzanne's trip to Baja, and then here to you, and is Suzanne! That beer looked good, and the sunsets fabulous. I loved the isolation of the Mojave Preserve when we were there a couple of years ago, camped at Hole in the Wall.

    1. You never know about Suzanne. She might just show up anywhere!
      We went in search of other camping options yesterday but none had the views and internet so we're staying put.

  8. The pink beavertail are stunning and such a happy shock of pink! They are starting to bloom in Anza Borrego as well.

  9. I've never seen a desert lily...very pretty:) We saw those strange little bush things with the green bottoms and goldish tops the other day for the first time. I was hoping someone would tell you what they are.

    How nice that you met up with Suzanne and she had a special treat for the three of you:) Beer with a cork...interesting!

    Looks like the perfect Easter place. We are heading to Bluff to avoid the crowd.

  10. Love the cat photo...but I'm afraid to ask what Jim is doing in the background.

    1. I wondered if anyone would catch Jim's pose! Actually he had Elvis on the leash and must have leaned over to do something with him.

    2. okaaaaay....we'll except that version....hee hee

  11. Well you certainly captured beauty in a sterile land. That dry lake hike must have been daunting in those temps. How did you ever get Acerbic Jim to go along? :)
    Box Canyon Mark, camped in the Klondike.

  12. That dry lake looks like quite the challenge - nice to have a lovely lily to reward you :-) Loved Hole in the Wall 30 years ago, it looks like it's still a beautiful place - gorgeous skies!!

  13. That Suzanne sure does get around, doesn't she? I must be getting the urge to hit the road. Every post I read sounds so inviting. Looking forward to seeing you both again.