After breaking camp we decided to check out the trail that meandered on up Caruthers Canyon a little ways. (See above photo.) The trail got rockier and narrow the further we went, so we eventually had to turn back and save it for another trip.
The next point of interest along the trail was Rock Spring. We were surprised to find it totally frozen!
I guess we should have brought along some ice skates.
This was the largest watering hole along the Mojave Road for weary desert travelers.
Here's a bit of history on this site.
The Government Holes, another water supply near Rock Spring, with an old concrete trough.
"The most famous incident in the history of Government Holes occurred on November 8, 1925, when two men, Matt Burts and J. W. "Bill" Robinson, shot it out in the cabin there. Both were killed. They were both gunfighters and hence vestiges of a chapter in western history that most thought had already passed."- Mojave Road Guide, Dennis Casebier
Soon we were on our way to the next point of interest along the old road. We had a pretty rapid descent back down to a lower elevation and then through some of the gnarliest whoop-te-doo's I've ever seen.
Coming upon another spring with a primitive concrete trough, named Marl Springs.
Shortly afterwards, we stopped at the Mail Box to sign our names. This metal box, with its solitary flagpole was installed by the Friends of the Mojave Road in 1983, a conservation group and historical society who were looking to add a place for travelers to mark their passing on the old dirt road. In addition to the countless stickers and graffiti on the outside of the box, there is a book inside it where you can sign your name, leave any comments, and check out who else has braved this desert passage.
A field of cinder cones stands out dramatically from the surrounding Mojave Desert. Here we are parked near the lava tubes within the Cinder Cone Lava Beds Wilderness.
Within the lava field is a short trail leading to a tube formed long ago by molten lava. A ladder takes hikers down into the tube where skylights illuminate a subterranean world.
After blasting down soft, sandy Willow Wash we crossed over Kelbaker Road and made camp near Seventeen Mile Point.
The conditions here were much nicer than at our previous camp. The moon was huge as it came over the horizon. We really did stumbled upon the "perfect" campsite. Just about the time everyone had strategically placed their vehicles to create the most effective windbreak, the wind died completely.
It was a beautiful night, perfect really. Steve whipped up a batch of his delicious tacos which we all wolfed down so fast that even the dogs didn't stand a chance. Those were followed with Ralphie's s'mores and of course, more beers. A perfect end to this day along the Mojave Road.
Part 3 of 3 coming soon!