Aber and Out West: Mojave National Preserve

Enjoying our tiny spot in the shade.
On our way to Mojave we encountered our fist In-N-Out Burger and couldn't resist the temptation to try that iconic patty so we shared a meal and can say that it lived up to its reputation.  We headed down the road entering Mojave and began to wonder if we had made a wrong turn.  The road was shotty and we seemed to be headed nowhere fast.  It appeared that we had actually found the middle of nowhere.  To our relief a tiny visitor's center appeared on the horizon and we found our campsite appropriately named "Hole in the Wall".  This dry, hot, and desolate place was quite a contrast from our previous stops. 

The lizards were plentiful around camp and on all of the trails.  We hiked the 6.25 mile Barber Peak Loop Trail that included a slot canyon that had to be climbed with the aide of metal rings embedded in the rock.  We passed a white and yellow snake on the trail that gave me a good scare when I nearly stepped on it though it didn't appear to be a dangerous variety.  A highlight of the hike was a cactus grove with several varieties in bloom with hot pink and white flowers.  The beauty of the cacti was soon forgotten when Jay accidentally swung is arm and whapped the side of a cactus towards the end of the hike.  Luckily we were able to get out all of the spines with tweezers and a little duck tape.

This park was sparsely populated and had very little infrastructure compared to the Grand Canyon.  It was nice to enjoy the peace and quiet from our campsite shared by ten other people at most.  The night sky was clear and made for great stargazing.  Did I mention it was really hot?  So hot and dry that it was difficult to boil water for noodles without it immediately evaporating.  After a baking night in the tent we were happy to get on the road and head for Sequoia.

The snake in the trail!
Jay in the slot canyon climbing up the rings.
Working my way up the rings.

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