Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Sunflower Springs Trail

A few days ago I drove a few very remote trails in the eastern Mojave Desert. Leaving the desolate town of Essex, I started down Sunflower Springs Road.

This road skirts the north eastern edge of the Old Woman Mountains Wilderness Area. It's in Massey's book (Desert #10) and is rated 4. He gave it that rating based on very deep and loose sand in the Ward Valley and says it'd be worse in the opposite direction. I was originally planning to drive that opposite direction, so I changed my plans. That wasn't necessary because the sand in Ward Valley was pretty easy. The hardest part was the first 3 miles south of Essex. That was about 8 inches of loose sand. I almost turned around there, but I'm glad I didn't.

This is a very scenic and enjoyable trail. The views down into the valley were very nice, with Pilot Knob standing out.

I came upon a great place to camp among some large granite boulders that offer sheter from any wind. This google map is centered on the spot.

I turned east onto Turtle Mountains Road which cuts between the Turtle Mountains Wilderness Area and the Stepladder Mountains Wilderness Area. Here's a clickable map of BLM wilderness areas in California, and here's a list of them. Here's a photo of the reportedly deep sandy road crossing the Ward Valley.

This road was kinda boring. I did come across the remnants of an old house, in the middle of nowhere. (click on photos for larger version)

I saw one camper parked out there.

I stopped to sign the register in the old mailbox at the turnoff to the Lost Arch Inn Trail. I didn't drive that trail. Good thing too, as you'll see from my next post that I didn't make my planned camp site until after dark.

I turned south on 95 and fueled up at Vidal Junction before heading back east to the Cadiz Valley.

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