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Across California: Highway 395 - Explore

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Across California: Highway 395


This is a big year for goldfields, but many of the Joshua trees we have seen in the Western Mojave are stressed and dying. This younger specimen looked healthy.

What a day! We reached Hwy 395 in four days from Ft. Irwin Rd. Today was a doozie! Eighteen miles (estimated), 15.33 straight line, wind 15 mph, gusting to 36 right in our faces. Then in the last two hours, we had pouring horizontal rain soaking my pants and shoes. I was starting to become hypothermic, hands so cold I could not do snaps or zippers.

Finally I spied our "sag wagon" about 1.5 miles away. Mad and I found Tom already there.

Now, 3+ hours later, warmed, dried, and fed, we are singing old Kingston Trio songs, telling stories. So the four of us, plus two dogs, will spend the rainy night in a 4x8-foot pop-up camper and the cab.

Carpets of goldfields (flowers) paved our way, turning our boots yellow with their pollen. That was before the rain. I am now two days ahead of schedule and concerned about connecting with Joan T. at Jawbone Canyon for our Pacific Crest Trail segment.

Obsidian stood out against the sand. The craftsmanship of this arrowhead indicates it's from a late stage.


Originally it was notched, but the base may have broken off with the shaft when the jackrabbit or other small game ran. Points became smaller and more delicate as the large animals began disappearing from the desertifying late Pleistocene Mojave region. Native people became more skilled at toolmaking, finding and storing plant foods, and locating sources of water. When the "pioneers" died of thirst and starvation, they were crossing through inhabited country where the knowledgeable natives had adequate water and food.

-- Cal French

Cal, 74, a member of the Sierra Club for 42 years, is trekking 530 miles from the Colorado River to the Pacific Ocean to highlight the threatened natural corridors of Southern California. Cal sits on the Sierra Club Santa Lucia Chapter Board. He is blogging from a BlackBerry.


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