Water at Marl Springs with a bit of green stuff floating around on the surface

Bicycle camping in and around Mojave National Preserve 2006

Day 12: Marl Springs to Baker

29.9 miles, 2:45 hrs, 21.2 mph max, 10.8 mph avg

Elevation: 4100 feet to 4550 to 923

It didn't cool down as much overnight as I was hoping, so I wake up frying in my tent again this morning. Because I didn't get to sleep until late last night, I'm not well rested.

Cactus bloom at Marl Springs

I suck back several ounces of water all at once and crawl outside to escape the heat of the tent. Nice scenery to see first thing in the morning. Quail are rummaging about hurriedly, cooing all the while.

I walk down the hill to see Marl Springs itself. This location has historically been an important stopping point on the old Mojave Road due to the water here.

When I get closer and see a reservoir full of water just sitting there in the desert, I'm surprised. One person I asked thought that Marl Springs might be dry, but wasn't sure.

I brought a water filter with me, so I could easily stay here an extra day or two and drink this water. However, this is my last day out here and I have to get back to Baker today and go home tomorrow.

A mine shaft or some other kind of big hole at Marl Springs

A vague feeling of emptiness strikes me as I think about this, but it's not all over just yet—today's travels still lie ahead of me.

I walk around the Marl Springs area, checking out a historic marker and an old mine shaft, or something like it, dug into the side of the mountain.

I return uphill to my tent cross-country past small cacti and creosote bushes. I proceed with the usual routine of wiping myself down in lieu of a shower, then munching on granola, nuts and dried apricots. I skip making instant miso soup this morning to save time, and get everything packed up and ready to go.

Upon leaving the campsite, what I expected is confirmed. I cannot ride up the sandy hill of the Mojave Road that was so fun to slide down last night. So I slowly drag the bike up the hill about a mile to the powerline road. Of course, I pause several times on the way up to take in the spectacular views of the area.

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