The intention on arriving at the Hole in the Wall Campground in Mojave Preserve was that we would spend a night or two while scouting around for a suitable boondocking spot to finish out the remainder of the Spring Break week/Easter weekend. However, we are unable to find a signal on our nearby scouting attempts, driving down dusty roads in Jim and Gayle’s Subaru while monitoring our respective devices, me with a Verizon Mifi in one hand and an AT&T iphone in the other, both which indicate “No Service.” So rather than waste time driving down washboard side roads, we call ourselves lucky to have 4G service in this “no hook-ups” campground in the middle of nowhere, and settle in for the week.
The Mojave Preserve, established as part of the National Park system in 1994, contains 1.6 million acres, over half of it wilderness. There is nothing here yet there is everything here. Three of the four major North American Deserts come together here to make up 30 different habitats; volcanic fields, lava tubes, cinder cones, sand dunes, etc. One of these habitats contains the largest Joshua Tree forest in the world, which sits atop Cima Dome, a 1,500 ft symmetrical granite mound that rises up over 70 square miles, giving the simulated impression of curvature of the earth.
The “Mojave Road” was a major pathway to the Pacific used by the Mohave Indians, followed by explorers and settlers such as Jeddediah Smith, the first “white man” to reach the California Coast. Used as a major military wagon road until it was replaced by the railway in 1883, it still exists today as a 4WD track across the preserve.
I never could get an answer on why I see the name spelled both ways, “Mojave” versus “Mohave.” But even on the bronze commemorative plaque from where I paraphrased the Mojave Road information, the two spellings are used interchangeably.
There are no services in the Preserve, and when I say “no services,” I mean you had better bring everything you want with you from gasoline to groceries. There are a few cans of Coke and Snicker Bars at the Visitor Center in case of emergency, but otherwise you had better be well provisioned. For me, this also means eating my own cooking. Although I had plenty of frozen items, by the end of the week my fridge was void of anything still living despite a big “shop” at Trader Joes before arriving. But I rather enjoyed the lack of dining distractions for a week.
We went through the mother of all windstorms here in Hole in the Wall….not once but twice. There have been few times in the Winnie when I have been too uneasy to sleep, and this was one of them. Otherwise, the campground was extraordinarily quiet and serene, as I settled into the rhythm of the sun setting on one side of the Winnie and the waning moon setting over the mountain on the other side, with all the brilliant night stars in between. A perfect place to watch the resurrection of Spring….in the desert.
“For all the toll the desert takes of a man it gives compensations, deep breaths, deep sleep, and the communion of the stars.” ~ Mary Austin, “The Land of Little Rain”