Thursday, April 26, 2018

Over The Edge

(Heading) down highway 62, the Twentynine Palms Highway, and roll into the morning sun 
toward the east, away from town, and away from everything.
They don't call Twentynine Palms "The Edge" for nothing!
Very little traffic and the already thin signs of population promptly begin to get thinner.
Lots of open spaces dominating a patchy scrim of homes and cabins.
Out past Dale Dry Lake, and things finally just gave up altogether, 
and the last sign of human habitation, aside from the asphalt we were sailing down at good speed,
went out with a whimper and from then on we were over the edge
and it was hard-ass creosote and saharan mustard desert, 
rimmed by hard-ass bare rocky mountains and nothing else.
James McClaren, 16streets.com
I just happened across this blog by James McClaren that describes so well what it feels like heading east out of 29 Palms. Coincidentally, it's the same drive I make to get out to my secrete solitude spot in the "hard ass bare rocky mountains" east of 29 Palms. 

Last week I left you with this photo:
I was smitten with this rock formation and its beautiful little alcove (can't see it from this angle) and the unusual rocky erosions (below).
It was so interesting and unusual, it made me feel like I discovered something significant, something rare that likely few others have seen. Thus fortified, I decided to continue exploring.

There were quite a few washes in this part of the desert, going all different directions. No human footprints anywhere! I had to be careful to keep my bearing so as not to get turned around. I was proceeding further than my planned hike and no longer following waypoints.
Rocks everywhere!!!
 This wash was a little harder to follow and filled with large rocks. A short distance ahead it opened up and branched left (west) and right (north). The north branch looked like it went on for a long distance, all the way out of the rocky mountains I was exploring and down to the bajada beyond.

A small triangular "window" rock.

Chomp Chomp Chomp!!


As I hiked further and further into this jumble of rocks, the rocky peaks became even more impressive and rugged!

I love this view... a typical desert wash with rocky peaks on either side of me!



Finally, as I was heading back to (hopefully) find the top of the wash so I could make my way back to the Jeep, I had one of those jaw-dropping sights:
Do you see it?? From this angle, further away from my rocky alcove with the circular rocky erosions that I had been exploring, you can see a large cave or alcove on top of the rock with a huge opening. I was too close before to see it (compare this photo to photo #2), but I had been climbing literally right underneath it!

Lucky for me, the rocky slope was at an angle that made it possible to access my newly discovered "dome cave".


Hiking (partially on hands and knees) up to Dome Cave, I was treated to some spectacular views! The higher I got, the better the view.

Looking across at Dome Cave. Or maybe I should call it "Monster Dome?" Kind of looks like some kind of creature from this angle! This beautiful, large alcove comes complete with two side windows... a larger triangular-shaped window and a small porthole. Very cool!! Like other caves and alcoves in this area, no human footprints or sign of visitors. I wonder who else has discovered this amazing spot??


The two "windows" on the left hand side of the cave (facing out)

View out the small "porthole" window


Dome Cave opening is so large it's hard to capture in a single photograph. This is my attempt to manually stitch together two photos. Not perfect, but it gives you a good sense of what it looks and feels like sitting inside the cave. Incredible 360-degree views and absolute solitude!!

Can't resist sharing a few more view photos from Dome Cave. 



Yippee, I found it! Back in the wash and heading home (back to the Jeep). But this hike has one final surprise for me...
A nice big rattlesnake along the side of the wash. Thank goodness he/she gave me a nice, loud rattle well in advance to let me he/she was there! This was a dangerous time for a rattlesnake encounter. End of the hike, tired, just putting one foot in front of the other to get back to the Jeep, and not paying much attention to my surroundings. I actually said "thank you" out loud to the snake gods or whatever higher power might be listening and keeping me safe! All I had was my wide angle lens, and I wanted to keep a safe distance (10-12'), so not a great photo, but you get the idea!

With the discovery of Dome Cave, I would rank this hike, and this entire area, as one of my most interesting and memorable hikes ever!

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Click on the link to check out great skies from around the world.
Thanks for stopping by!!

52 comments:

  1. You are one courageous dude!! BTW that chomp, chomp, chomp rock looks almost like it was sculpted....cool..

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  2. SO many fine pictures here--- An amazing adventure perfectly documented!

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  3. The desert skies are amazingly blue - thanks for another adventure.

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  4. The contrast between the sky and the rock formations is exceptional. Glad you were able to keep a safe distance from the rattlesnake!

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  5. You find some amazing cloud formations.

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  6. Chomp, Chomp, Chomp is amazing. I'm used to looking for art in the clouds and now I am looking at rock formations in a whole new way.

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  7. What enthralls apart from photographs is your presentation of literature. It's amazing that you find such deep motivation wandering along desert. The chronicle is enticing to read. Obviously, the rattlesnake was intimidating part though :-)

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  8. Love your sense of adventure, narration and photography!

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  9. Stellar photos of a harsh but beautiful landscape.

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  10. Wow, one needs to love rocks to enjoy it here! Beautiful finds, like that profile of a face, and the dome rock. Wasn't your grand daughter freaked out? I think I have heard or read about 29 palms...
    Love your capture of the inside looking out!
    About your comment of glass -I actually knew that, but totally had forgotten - so thank you for reminding me that glass is also a liquid!
    Have a great weekend! Hopefully no rattlesnakes on your next trip!

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  11. What a find! That cave with windows is fantastic. I continue to be amazed at your adventurous spirit.
    I am also surprised you don't run into more of those snakes!!

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  12. Amazing clicks. Always loved your post and photos.

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  13. What beautiful scenery and yikes to that big snake!

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  14. Awesome hike, such scenery to have around you it looks surreal and Allen but the cave at the end was worth it. Can see why you have to be careful not to loose your bearings in that landscape

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  15. WOW! Your camera has done magic! All shots have come out wonderful.
    Light through the holes of the rocks are amazing!
    Can't make out the difference between the rattle snake and the rock since they are in same color.
    Nice to read the brief notes of the rocks and to see the images:)


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  16. I'd love to know what kind of geological processes could make a cave like that. Some sensational views on what must have been an exciting adventure, though I could have done without that unexpected encounter on the way back.

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  17. Beautiful rock formation shots and the sky, wow! So beautiful.

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  18. Hello, wonderful hike and sky images. The Chomp Chomp scene and photo is great. I love the Dome Cave, great find. I am glad the rattlesnake gave you a warning. Beautiful photos and post.

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  19. In our little green country I can't imagine to be in a place where probably no one has set foot before and where you can only see clouds and strange rock formations. What a great hike. Thnaks for sharing!

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  20. Your'e right. Very memorable. I can't help but think of a scene in one of my fantasy novels. Dome Cave is exactly what I described for my dragon's lair...sedimentary rock that washed out from under the volcanic that flowed over it. Very cool.

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  21. Spectacular images !
    The "Chomp Chomp Chomp! stone" made me smile.

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  22. Lovely pictures as alvays! I have been out loocing for the only poisen snake vi have in Norway, but i have no luck so far. Happy weekend!

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  23. Nice interplay of rocks and sky and clouds. Really great clouds, actually! I LOVE that rock cave! And glad you saw the snake in advance. Supposedly there are rattlesnakes at some of the mid elevations in the gorge. Thanks goodness I have never seen one.

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  24. Beyond amazing .... incredible. Beautiful pictures.... I actually thought about rattlers near the beginning of the post when you talked about 'hiking on hands and knees'.... I thought about snakes and I wondered how you came through that without banging your camera on a rock and smashing it to bits. But obviously you are not as awkward in that position as some of us would be!

    But all that pales in comparison to the awe I feel looking at these amazing skies and rocks. Although every hike you ever show is amazing, I can well believe this hike ranks at the top of your favorites list.

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  25. What a treat for a rock lover! Thank you so much also for the inspiration.

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  26. Gorgeous photography! Love the variety of rock formations and cut outs in the rocks ~


    Happy Weekend to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  27. Always love your desert pictures. - Margy

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  28. Such beautiful scenery, and so deadly. What a post. I am breathless! Wow, what an ending.

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  29. I am always struck by the beautiful blue skies of North America. Thanks for sharing these gorgeous pics of a part of the world I may just not see.

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  30. Wow! The incredible views and the incredible rock formations---love them. The sky and clouds excellent and then there is the 'monster' cave. Super cool from the inside out---thank you
    MB

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  31. Lovely skies and a good read. Glad you avoided that snake. 10-12 ft is a good distance away. Didn't know they are that dangerous.

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  32. The beauty of nature including the snake. Great photo's again.

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  33. Stay safe! I would be super scared to see the rattle snake and don't know what to do! I love your photos. Those amazing rocks and great blue sky are perfect combinations!

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  34. Beautiful photos! And, yes, it was nice of the snake gods to give you a warning, eh? LOVE that dome cave! No snakes in there? Awesome hike!

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  35. What an adventure in such a beautiful landscape. Love the cave with the two windows. At least the snake gave you a shout out to let you know that he was there. Fantastic images as always.
    Thank you and have a wonderful weekend.

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  36. Proof positive that a "barren" landscape can be so beautiful. I have always loved deserts.
    Kay
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

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  37. All you photos are beautiful and would make great photos to hang on walls. You should start your own business and sell them!

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  38. Loved continuing with you on your hike. Spectacular countryside. Dome cave was a find. I wonder if you were the first although I bet the Indian tribes that must have frequented these parts would have been there at some time. It must be exhilarating though wondering if you are the first. Thank you once again for taking me along with you and very glad that rattle snake warned you.

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  39. What a place that is and what a spectacular hike you took. The photos are great.

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  40. Beautiful rocks formation from your desert hike! I am glad you were warned of the snake's presence!

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  41. What spectacular formations. In several I see humanoid forms-- almost creepy but sheer beauty. When I encountered my first rattlesnake I thought the buzzing was from an insect. The sound attracted me to move within a few feet-- it was hidden in a bush. Luckily it was a small one!

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  42. the second part of the hike is as spectacular as the first one.I am glad you were warned of the snake's presence.

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  43. Oh yeah! I can easily see why this would be one of your favorites hikes ever. Amazing scenery, gorgeous photos, and a great discovery! I'm assuming you scoured the inside for rock art, right? LOL!

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  44. wow, what a place. And shelter comes with it :) Beautiful clouds that fits the scenery today :)

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  45. Wow! Beautiful textures in the rock formations, beautiful sky shots. Glad you were able to avoid that Rattler.

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  46. Un lugar de los más árido, contrasta la roca reseca con el cielo azul. Encontrar una serpiente es peligroso...
    Saluods

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  47. Your pictures are great. It's always a pleasure to visit your blog.

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