Sunday, March 6, 2011

Adventure with the Daughter

A few days before New Years I went out to Barstow Ca. to see my daughter. She lives here so she can be close to Calico Ghost Town, where she has a part time job. It was time for some father/daughter time and we thought we would go on an adventure out in the surrounding desert.
The area around Barstow is full of history. You can't throw a rock in the air with out it falling into an old Silver mine out there. It has been a way station since the days of the stage coach. The old steam trains stopped here, and is still a huge hub for all things railroad. Also Route 66 goes through Barstow.
So I loaded up the daughter and we went to Del Taco for some burritos, tacos, and drinks. We stopped and ate for a bit at the old train depot. I posted here not to long ago about this old depot, and the Harvey House that is at the Train Station there.
I had found on Google Earth that there are some Petroglyphs out in an area near a place called Rainbow Basin. She hadn't been to Rainbow Basin yet so I thought it would be fun to go through there and show it to her first. Here is where the adventure starts.
Just before Christmas last year it rained by the buckets out here in the desert. So much so that the normally dry Mojave River over flowed it's banks in Barstow and flooded a few homes.
The problem with making a dirt road in the Mojave Desert is that during rain the roads become rivers or worse the dry gulleys that cross the dirt roads totally wash the road out.
Well when we got to the road that takes you to Rainbow Basin it was a washed out mess. It was drivable as far as I could see and we were in the 4X4 so we pressed on. We had no problem getting to the entrance to the basin.
About the basin, it is actually a small slot canyon that takes you up into some hills that have all these pretty colored layers of rock. The normally graded dirt road that takes you through the basin was non-existent because of all the water that ran through that slot canyon.
It looked like fun so we pressed on. We had to get out a few times to move rocks from the middle of the path so as not to kill the undercarriage. A little rock crawling in some places and still running water in others we made it to the top. These pictures don't do the place justice.

The drive through Rainbow Basin is actually a loop. You go up one slot canyon and go down another. The down hill canyon was a lot worse than the up hill. We had swung around and down a couple of sharp turns so backing up wasn't an appealing option. In one spot, the way the road had washed out it made it so we were close to the canyon wall and the front tire was going to drop into a hole and put us closer than I liked. In situations like this you may have to get rocks and build a ramp or move rocks to get into better positions. During this I found a cool rock with all this green and white layering to it. The Daughter being a Larsen is a rock hound of course so she snapped it up. Thank goodness this one was pocket sized. I made it so we could rock crawl down this section and we made our way back down and out. That road was a mess the whole way down.
Now to find the area that had the Petroglyphs. According to the Google Earth images I had seen they were to the west of Rainbow Basin and to the north up a small valley. We found the road with no problem it just took us a while to get there because of all the road wash outs. There must have been actual rivers running out of those hills to wash out those huge chunks of road.
We start heading out this road towards our petroglyphs and a Jeep Cherokee covered in mud is coming down the other way. Normally out here in the desert you get your car dusty not muddy.
We found the cause for the mud a mile farther up. A big hole in the road with water in it. I'm not one for having to get out into mud if I get stuck so I didn't go splashing through like the
4X4 around is better.
We finally came to an ancient lava flow that pushed it's way out into this valley. I wonder what it was like back then. There was a sign for us.

After reading that I couldn't help but think that who ever wrote that projected their own worries and beliefs about the environment onto this plaque. Why isn't it just these local prehistoric people chipping these images on the rocks to show that their ancestors had seen these rocks flow from the earth. It is hard to tell what they were doing here. The Glyphs look like loaves of bread to me.

They are very interesting to see, and you can't look at them and not wonder why the ancients put them there. It is interesting that it is at this volcanic area which is totally different from most of the rest of the desert.
We crawled all over these lava flows looking for more. We could see where more modern rock carvers have come out and chipped into the rocks. Some of them were chipped in with the year, 1918, 1924 and such. Modern nerds come out and dull there knives on these diamond hard rocks but get no where.
you can see where some idiot had modified one of the rock drawings.

You can tell by the lighter areas on the rock. The older the petroglyph the more the desert varnish darkens them again. What are they is all I keep thinking. I think someone was trying to make the one above look like an alien or something.

Maybe this was a long ago tatoo parlor and this was the menu. I just wish people had the sense god gave a dog to not destroy these glyphs. Interesting is all I can say. The daughter loved the outing and was still recovering from her surgery almost 2 months back so she climbed carefully.
It was a blast to be up there with her. Talk to her about what she thought they were. It was getting late so we couldn't stay long.
We trucked on back out of the desert and into Barstow. I dropped her off and gave her a hug and a kiss on the head. It was a fun day.
I took the back way home, up a road that heads due south from Barstow back again into the desert. It takes you to Lucerne Valley, a cross roads of sorts that takes you to Big Bear in the mountains, More Desert towns to the south-east, or in my case west to home in Hesperia.
As I was coming into Lucerne I took this pick of the normally dry desert.

Water. Just more proof. Global Warming is dead. Long live Global Cooling.

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