Some leaking transmission fluid under our truck and a weak camper battery make us question our plan to spend Thanksgiving in the remote Mojave National Preserve. We decide neither problem is too serious, and head out for the Hole-in-the-Wall campground. We arrive at sundown, with just enough time for a short exploration of Banshee canyon. The rock is here is the same light volcanic tuff that lured Ted and me into the El Paso hills on my last hike. It makes really interesting shapes.
Some short sections have iron rings installed for some assisted climbing.
Warm temperatures and clear skies welcome us the next day for a longer loop hike around Barber Peak, just west of the campground. We start out again in the canyon, with more light this time.
The contrast of cactus and rocks seems to change around every turn.
There are a lot of shrubs I can’t identify. This is horse brush.
Bright beetles hide in the buckhorn cholla spines.
Coyote melon patches occasionally sprawl over the ground.
The 2005 Hackberry fire turned most of the Mojave yucca here into fibrous grey stumps.
The desert stillness seeps slowly into both mind and body. Stress and worries surface and dissipate into the huge spaces. This is why we come to places like this to spend time off work. Feeling the familiar process start is a relief in itself.