Sunday, February 17, 2019

Day 40 - Hole-in-the-Wall

This morning, we ventured west to the Mojave National Preserve north of I-40. The destination was Hole-in-the-Wall. There was a visitors center there but it was closed for renovation. The elevation climbed as we headed there both on the Interstate as well as the two-lane road into the Preserve. It was 39°F when we arrived. Kind of cold.

There is a trail called the Ring Trail and the name is from the steel rings fastened into the rock. The trail is rated "strenuous" which is one reason why we didn't head down there. The other is that there were about 30 teen/pre-teen kids headed for the trail sounding very excited about tackling the trail. So we moved on.

There was another trail that circled the hill but it was 8 miles long. A lot more than I wanted to go especially with the temperature, the wind and lack of hiking boots. We did go a short ways to get some pictures. This one was looking back towards the trail parking area. Just out of frame to the left is the campground.

According to the news, the California desert received as much as three inches of rainfall in less than 24 hours. There was a lot of evidence of flooding with sand and rocks washed across the road and through roadside ditches. I don't think I would have liked to have been in that campground at the time. But the rain also meant that there was a lot of green such as this bright green lichen on the rock.

These rocks are the origin of the name Hole-in-the-Wall. The Ring Trail heads down into the rocks and you climb out by climbing the rings. The rocks are pretty rough so it made for easy scrambling. Kind of similar to the rocks in Joshua Tree where I had taken a rock climbing short course. Actually, it was a mountaineering course and rock climbing was one part. Other parts were snow and ice climbing and survival. Great course but that’s another story.

There was a trail to an overlook with a nice concrete walkway at the end and this nice steel railing. But to get to the concrete walkway, you needed to scramble over boulders and through cracks. Not really as accessible as the nice railing and walkway make it appear.

There was a nice view from the walkway. We could hear the large group but couldn't see any of them or any portion of the trail. At least it wasn't obvious. The water at the bottom was frozen as it saw very little direct sunlight. When we were getting ready to leave, there were a lot of comments from the kids that it was really cold down there. Partly because their group took a long time to traverse the trail so they spent a lot of time standing around and waiting for the people in front of them. BTW, please don’t take my comments on the large group of kids the wrong way. Not annoyed or anything like that. They all seemed to be enjoying the experience.

There were three or four different cacti (is that plural for cactus?) and everything was looking pretty green. There was even some muddy areas on the trail and standing water in some of the rocks. 

6 comments:

david R said...

cool pics

RichardM said...

Thank you, it was an interesting place. Though colder than we expected.

redlegsrides said...

Yep Cacti is the plural....I think I would like to try both trails....

RichardM said...

I think I would have tried the ring trail if it wasn’t so crowded and if I had brought gloves with me. I guess I should keep them in the truck.

Lynne Goebeler said...

I am way behind in my reading but have heard that the unusual amount of rain in the desert has made a spectacular flower display. I hope you've been able to see that!

RichardM said...

We got quite the display south of Joshua Tree Natl Park.