Deep Creek and the Mojave Kelso Dunes

October 1st, 2008

Mojave Chillaxin

Sunset above Deep CreekOn my way North I stopped in at Deep Creek, a hot spring I had been meaning to check out for a long time. Unfortunately due to battery trouble I didn’t manage to get any good pictures of it, but there’s plenty online. I came to the Springs via Bowen Ranch, and camped there so I could stumble back to the van and pass out without driving anywhere (a must to properly enjoy any hot spring). It’s about a two mile hike down to the water from there, but it’s a nice hike. At the springs I saw a weathered old nudist and a local guy who was camping out down there (shhh) since he lost his job. He told me about how a flash flood had recently some through and filled in a lot of the pools, but he was working to clean them out. They were some very nice pools indeed. It’s probably one of the nicest natural hot springs I’ve been to. Recommended to anyone in the area.

Standard issue beetleThe next day I had planned to roll up to Death Valley and possibly climb Telescope Peak. However, the van was particularly finicky that day, not shifting into drive for a while. This meant I spent most of the day in town getting the van looked at so, hopefully, I wouldn’t break down in the desert. Some time on the phone that day also altered my trip plans a bit, finding out that my folks would not be in Sedona that weekend, and my friends who I was going to go to Vegas with had canceled their trip. So more than a weeks worth of my plans were shaved off! I wanted to get back to Bozeman anyway and gear up for winter, so this was fine. My trip would still be a month long by the time it was over. Sketched about the van and excited to head home I cut Death Valley out of the trip and made for Flagstaff instead, hoping to climbing Arizona’s high point Mount Humphrey.

Sunset on the Kelso Dunes

Mojave around KelsoOn the way to Flagstaff I did find time to turn off the Interstate and jaunt into Mojave National Preserve for a bit though. And boy am I glad I did. I hit up the 600ft tall Kelso Dunes - the third tallest dunes in North America. I got there just before sunset, and had the whole place to myself. Heading into Mojave Nat PreserveIt was a spectacular, almost spiritual experience, the kind of thing that happens to me in the outdoors frequently but never gets old and keeps me coming back again and again. The main dune was huge, and I enjoyed a hard run to the top then I just hung out, jumping down the dune and climbing back up or just sitting and watching the ridiculously brilliant sunset for over an hour. I took about a trillion photos and cursed my crappy camera for it’s epic failure at capturing the true grandeur of the scene. :) Here - despite their shortcomings - for your viewing pleasure are some of my favorite photos from the dunes.

Desert blueThe Kelso DunesKelso dune grass

Frolicking about the DunesMojave blueDesert majesty

That inferno of hydrogen is SO FAR AWAYFire in the skyEndless sunset

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