Morning at Arrowweed Spring

Bicycle camping in and around Mojave National Preserve 2006

Day 11: Arrowweed Spring to Marl Springs

32.3 miles, 4:05 hrs, 23.4 mph max, 7.9 mph avg

Elevation: 4000 feet to 2123 to 4400 to 4100

I wake up early in a panic, again, reaching desparately for the tent zipper that must be opened right now, gasping for air. The sun has been shining on the tent long enough for me to start roasting inside.

View of Kelso Dunes from fenced-off Arrowweed Spring area; those dunes are massive!

Phew. I crawl outside, and it's another beautiful morning, still warm from yesterday, even at this higher elevation. Short-pants weather. What this tells me is that it must be even warmer down at Kelso on the valley floor.

I drink lots of water (remember, water is good for you), and go for a short walk down the hill to see if I can locate Arrowweed Spring itself.

Part of the area is fenced off and is muddy and spongy, with just a trickle of water running over the surface. It's hardly any water at all, but it still creates quite a contrast to the total dryness of everything else around.

I have mud on my sneakers now from walking here, which makes me feel like I'm somewhere else.

I walk up the hill in the gulley toward the rocky outcrop from where it seems that the trickle might emanate. Up at the rocks, the ground is a bit moister, so the water seems to be coming from somewhere around here; perhaps it's just percolating up from underground.

Cattail-like grasses near Arrowweed Spring; tent in background

Nice views up here! This is one of the best views of Kelso Dunes that I've stumbled across.

I walk back down toward the tent, paying special attention to the tall grasses growing in the moisture here.

Cattail-like plants in the desert? I wasn't expecting this. There are also lots of little bugs that seem very happy to be sitting on the wet ground.

This is such a scenic area overall due to the rocks everywhere, mountains all around, and views down toward Kelso Valley and Kelso Dunes.

Back at the tent, it's time for breakfast. Yet again, instant miso soup followed by granola, nuts and some turkey jerky.

Palmer's penstemon growing in a wet spot alongside the trickle of water emanating from Arrowweed Spring; I planted one of these in my backyard, but it didn't like it there and died

Oddly, my last piece of beef jerky from Alien Fresh Jerky in Baker seems to have soured—it must not have been completely dry in order for it to go bad. It gets added to my small bag of garbage to be deposited later in the trash cans at Kelso Depot.

I'm still hungry, so I decide to rehydrate the "beef stew" meal in a pouch to see what it's like. I'm surprised at how much I like the funky chewy texture of the beef and potatoes, which reminds me of many of the vegetarian meat-substitutes that I like so much.

I wipe myself down with a washcloth, trying not to use too much water. Naked up here on this hill, I realize how rare it is in life to have a scenic landscape view like this while taking a "shower."

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