Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Day in Mojave National Preserve

Life on Kelso Dunes, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

The Mojave National Preserve is an easy drive of about 2 hours from Joshua Tree National Park. It's particularly convenient in the Winter, when you can shoot sunset in Joshua and still get to Mojave in time to get a decent amount of sleep before sunrise. Camping isn't allowed a the main parking area at Kelso Dunes, but there's an area where primitive camping is allowed by a grove of trees about .8 mile beyond the dunes and a short distance to the right.

After sunrise on the dunes I stopped at the historic Kelso train station and explored several abandoned houses nearby.

Next I moved on to catch the 1:30 tour of the Mitchell Caverns. A state park within the national preserve, Mitchell Caverns, one of the first cave systems I've visited that allows tripods.

I had just enough time after the tour for a quick stop to wee the Ring Trail at Hole in the Wall, then move back towards Kelso to catch the the local Mojave Joshua Trees (a distinct subspecies) at sunset.

As I was driving from Kelso towards the town of Baker, the crescent moon was setting, adding a nice end to a long, productive day of shooting.