Place: Hole in The Wall, Mojave National Preserve, California
Coordinates: 35.04217, -115.39499
Difficulty: Easy, but to complete the loop requires two short spans of rings climb.
Nine years ago we stopped at Mojave National Preserve on our way to Utah. We climbed on the Kelso Dunes and let the elder (then the only) chika make little sand angels with her legs. It was a wet and windy day and we didn't stay there very long.
Last March I took my botanist friend there. Once again it was to be a stop on our way to another destination, the Joshua Tree National Park. We did, however, visit another part of the preserve: the Hole in the Wall at the Providence Mountains, and hiked the little Rings Loop trail. It was on that day that I resolved to return to Mojave desert as soon as possible. This past Thanksgiving break I fulfilled my resolution and took my family there for camping, along with another family of friends. Of course we did the rings loop again! It is a very beautiful and interesting hike with a bit of climbing excitement included. I post here photos from both times I hiked this trail: that of a late afternoon in March and that of an early morning in November.
The trailhead of the rings loop is at the south-most end of the Hole-in-the-Wall information center. A massive red stone hill to the right:
|Goldenbush (Ericameria sp.) 11/29/13|
|Buckhorn Cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa) 11/29/13|
|Eastern Mojave Buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) 11/29/13|
|Desert Mallow (Sphaeralcea ambigua) 11/29/13|
|Turpentine Broom (Thamnosma montana) 3/10/13|
|Turpentine Broom (Thamnosma montana) 11/29/13|
|Mexican Bladder Sage (Scutellaria mexicana) 11/29/13|
|White-crowned Sparrow 11/29/13|
|Rock Wren 11/29/13|
|Antelope Ground Squirrel 11/29/13|
|11/29/13 Barrel Cactus|
|A Barrel Cactus in a rock crevice, 3/10/13|
|The entrance to Banshee Canyon, 11/29/13|
|Red-tailed Hawk 11/29/13|
|Rock arch near the Banshee Canyon entrance, 11/29/13|
There isn't much vegetation inside Banshee Canyon so this yucca really stands out there.
The children were not satisfied yet, and went about climbing some more on the nearby rocks. Only the words "visitor center" and "gift shop" managed to peel the youngsters off the rock face.
Looking from a distance, who can tell all the excitement hidden behind those rocks?