Thursday, July 16, 2020

Cleghorn Lakes Revisited

If you are thinking lakes, fishing, and water play, you are way off. Waaaay off! I think the people that named this area Cleghorn Lakes Wilderness Area were perhaps playing a cruel joke. No lakes here! Not even a pond. But lots of wide open desert.

Turn the clock back to April of this year. The pandemic is in full bloom. Joshua Tree National Park is closed, and I'm desperate for a place to hike. It had been over 2 years since my last visit to Cleghorn Lakes (see here for part 1 and here for part 2). My Facebook friend Mitch and I (who I had never hiked with before... actually, never even met before) decided to meet at the Palms Restaurant in Wonder Valley, then head out to Cleghorn Lakes for a hike. I was excited to hike with him because he's an excellent photographer and I figured I could learn a few things plus enjoy a great desert hike.

The day turns out to be a warm one (well into the 80's) and we're getting started in the heat of the day, so not ideal. I've got two hike options planed out: the sensible hike that's about 4 miles round trip that passes though interesting rock formations, and the crazy hike that's about 4.5 miles with lots of elevation change that goes through a wash than might not even be passable. That hike takes us to a couple dry lakes that I think might have been filled with water thousands or millions of years ago (the infamous Cleghorn Lakes!). Without batting an eye, Mitch says "let's go check out the dry lakes!"
Wait for me, Mitch!
Turns out Mitch is not only a professional-level photographer but a very serious and experienced hiker who's in training for a 7-day marathon across the Eastern Sierras. It soon becomes obvious to me that Mitch won't have any problems with this hike, and I'm the weak link in the chain!

See that V up ahead? We're following this wash, and it will narrow and get filled with boulders and pass between the two sides of the V. Somewhere on the other side should be the Cleghorn Lakes (dry). One of the highlights on this hike are the little splashes of color from wildflowers in bloom, and I know we are both hoping the the dry lake area might be full of blooms. Then again, may be not. Let's go see...

Orange desert mallow blooms as we head up the wash. A good sign!


Follow the yellow brick road... of flowers in the wash!

California desert tortoise shell #1
We've made it over the top of the "pass" and now heading down the other side. Lots of flowers. That green area that looks like a valley beyond the white rocks is actually one of the two Cleghorn (dry) Lakes.

Just a short distance before reaching the dry lake, the flowers really put on a show (photo of me by Mitch).








Tortoise shell #2
Chia Pet? Anyone remember those old commercials?? Ch Ch Ch Chia!
When we finally reached Cleghorn (dry) Lake, it was green but almost no flowers. Even so, it felt a little surreal to be exploring this area, knowing that very few people are crazy enough to make this trek. It is visited by humans only very rarely.


I did manage to find a flower or two, but my imagination was going into overdrive thinking about what this place would look (and smell) like full of wildflowers. Or even better, after a large thunderstorm when it is full of water!

On the hike back we passed this weird rock formation. Can't decide if it's scary or comical looking, with that little tuft on it's head!

Oh, and did I mention there are some arches in this area? You know I love arches. I've already exceeded my self-imposed photo limit for this post, so come back and check out my next post if you like arches too!

Thanks for stopping by!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Stay safe and stay healthy.

46 comments:

  1. love the flowers and find the name of the area kind of funny, like you said a cruel joke

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  2. Hello,

    The wildflowers are beautiful. I love the arches too. Neat sighting of the tortoises. Great hike, I am glad to go along the easy way, just looking at your beautiful photos. Have a great day and a happy weekend ahead.

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  3. Another intrepid adventure. I knew you were going to take the hard hike before you said so. Love all the flowers you found, it still looks like snake heaven to me.

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  4. As always, a beautiful hike! Love the flowers, weird rock, and the arch! Why does that first turtle have white patches? I've never seen that before.

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  5. Beauty in the desert, who would think flowers would grow there, the weird rock reminds me of looking up a nose. Looking forward to the arches

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  6. The flowers are just lovely. Great photos.

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  7. ...I find it amazing how the barren landscape can come into bloom!

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  8. Glad you found lots of flowers. April, so that would be the time for them. Glad you had a good hiking buddy.

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  9. Such beautiful photos and your friend training for a 7 day marathon? No thanks, grin. My bil does those marathons, actually he just did his last one. He realized his age and some old injuries were hampering his ability.

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  10. I smiled when I read: Mitch won't have any problems with this hike, and I'm the weak link in the chain!.... Yeah right! ;-) I am always amazed at the beauty you find, and especially the great 'weird' rock formations. They force me to ask, 'how did that happen?'
    I sometime groan at the distance you guys hike in a day. Thanks again for inviting us along.
    Sherry & jack

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  11. Wow, awesome senery, beautiful wild flowers and the bluest skies ever!

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  12. WoW! beautiful journey and great pictures

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  13. The beauty of the desert.
    You have the most interesting posts
    MB

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  14. The flowers are especially beautiful because of what surrounds them. And whether that formation is scary or comical doesn't seem as important as the fact that he looks very annoyed. A beautiful trip. Another great post.

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  15. As always we see a world unknown to most of us but so beautiful and serene that we secretly envy those who have access to it. Luckily you show us a lot of it for which we thank you.

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  16. Great to see so much colour in the desert!

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  17. Amazing place and photos. What a blue that sky was!

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  18. A dry lake seems like an oxymoron. Very wondrous rock formations and the turtles look so thirsty!

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  19. I'm glad you met up with Mitch who enjoys hiking as well as photography. Agreed, Chia commercial definitely! LOL Strange that there are so many flowers and then Zilch! Take care.

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  20. haha, of course you took the crazy hike. so much vegetation.

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  21. Yep, I've hiked with people like that. What's really bad is when those same people are twice your age! :-)

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  22. The beauty is amazing. Beautiful photos, lovely flowers.
    Have a great weekend.

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  23. Of course it was the crazy hike, but at least this time you had company. Beautiful wildflowers. Looking forward to the sequel.

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  24. Such a gorgeous hike, with those beautiful flowers and scenes. Amazing :)

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  25. Wow, loved the flowers you found! Great hike.

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  26. It's always so exciting to see flowers in the desert, especially when so artfully photographed by you!

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  27. Wie immer ein schöner, ausführlicher Post,
    ich liebe deine Foto-Serien !
    Liebe Grüße aus Deutschland

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  28. What a fun post! The variety and colors of the wildflowers are amazing. That one rock formation is really interesting looking! Hope you are well.

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  29. That eerie landscape looks lovely with all the flowers.

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  30. There's a picture in there among the spring flowers that I just love. The burst of flowers are to the right. It also looks like you hiked over pretty rough terrain, but all so worth it. Thanks for a wonderful desert post.

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    And i’m glad reading your article.
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  32. It sounds like a great day. Pretty, pretty flowers :)

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  33. The desert flowers are beautiful and colourful too. Surprising to see tortoise shells in the desert.

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  34. Superb images from your hike here SPP. My imagination always goes wild when I see your images, trying to imagine what this area would have looked like when there were actually lakes here. You found a bonanza of gorgeous wildflowers, so pretty. I'm going with a wee bit scary re the rock formation 😀

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  35. Ich warte schon mit Spannung auf die Fortsetzung des kommenden Beitrags.Fantastisch!

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  36. It's hard to believe tortoises live out in the desert, I thought it would've been too dry for them.

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  37. Hello! I haven't dropped by Skywatch in quite a long time but very glad I stopped today and found these stunning photos of a rarely seen bit of California!
    I may need to get back to my blogging!

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  38. Been absent a bit. Beautiful photos of a stunning place. I always feel bad when I see an empty tortoise shell.... I love turtles and tortoises, admire them for their persistence and longevity.

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  39. Had to look up the name and it says there are several dry lakes in the center. Wonderful photos as always. Loved seeing it all,

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  40. Gorgeous - Nothing Quite Like A Desert Bloom - Stoked You Were With Someone - Dig That Arch - Another Stunning Post - Well Done Brother

    Cheers

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  41. Those flowers are amazing indeed, but very beautiful. Life continues even in the hardest conditions.
    The rock with the tuft is comic!
    Have a nice weekend!

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