Day 8 “On the Road” in Palos Verde Mountains and Blythe, CA
March 17th, 2014
Jim Andre from research center in Mojave Nat. Preserve had mentioned that the Palos Verde Mountain area was a great example of “unprotected” but pristine desert, stressing that there are more pristine areas outside than inside parks, however they are more at risk for development than so-called protected places. Palos Verde Mountain was on our route to our next destination, so off we headed. Although the heart of the mountain area is protected as wilderness, the foothills remain open to development.
Using an outdated map and our odometer as the only way to decipher where to turn left off the main road, we found ourselves on a winding, bumpy road through some pretty rough and tumble looking rugged, craggy mountains. Good thing we had high clearance and four-wheel drive, or I am not sure we would have made it. We stopped at a little right-hand pull-off area where we noticed a crevice/slot in the canyon worth taking a look at. The day was hot, in the low 90s. David took off, with his camera to investigate, while I waited near the car, assuming he would be back in a few minutes.
I began to panic when more than 15 minutes had passed with no sign of David’s return. It was too sunny and too hot for me to quickly search for him. I was wearing flip flops (tough to navigate the slippery rocks with), as David had put my hiking boots in the sky box on top of the car, which I couldn’t reach. We had discussed earlier, that we would just drive and take a peek, rather than hike, so I presumed he would be right back.
I called after him…Nothing…
I could not help but remember that Australian movie PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK, where the girls took a walk after their picnic in a place not unlike this one, then disappeared behind a rock, never to be found again.
My panic lasted about 5 more minutes, before I headed back to the car to reach up on top somehow to retrieve my hiking boots, when I heard a slight rustle. Whew! It was David. Apologizing. Turns out he had found quite an expansive opening into the canyon once he had wandered through the rocky slot area.
We continued our drive looking for the correct turn off to work our way back onto the main road, but none of the roads on our outdated map corresponded to the names of roads we were coming upon. Luckily were able to use our intuition and the car’s compass to head south then east and found the road, quicker than we thought.
We made it to the Best Western in Blythe, asked the gal at the front desk where she thought we should eat, and she recommended a local Mexican place called Garcia’s, over the BBQ joint we had heard about. Garcia’s was great. We were happy. And we went back to the hotel to go sleep.