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Trip Reports - 2000 - Photography Day

Photography Day Trip/Mojave River Valley Museum Barbecue

by Allan Wicker

This was a day and trip of good fortune for most participants. Before assembling at our meeting point in Barstow, several people dropped off cookies for the Mojave River Valley Museum Barbecue that we would rejoin later in the day. Everyone was on time. We were a group of 8 vehicles, 15 people, 1 dog, and an unknown number of cameras when we started out from Barstow. The weather (a slight wind, not excessively hot) was good.

Shortly after we left the I-40 Freeway near Daggett, a desert tortoise was just completing a road crossing ahead of us. We stopped to take pictures. Being sympathetic to this endangered species, we did our best not to disturb him/her. He/she responded in kind by keeping his/her head and legs out of the shell, and moving around slowly to facilitate our photographic efforts. I took this occasion to distribute a list of photo tips.

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We then continued southeast on Camp Rock Road. Steve Bein, a professional photographer and trip participant, noted that the cloud formations were especially good for a photographic outing. We benefited from Steve's suggestions and information at various stops.

One misfortune of the trip occurred as we were heading toward Willis Well. Cap and Jo Abercrombie's Jeep overheated, and they had to turn back to Barstow (their home). At Willis Well, we found several good photographic subjects, including cacti in bloom, and the view of the valley below.

From there we followed pipeline and wash roads down Kane Wash. Thanks to Bill Ott's technological tools (a laptop computer with a DeLorme map program connected to a GPS) we were able to locate the side track to Kane Spring. As we approached the spring, a male bighorn sheep crossed in front of us. Instead of heading for cover, he bounded up on the bank and ran along it parallel to the wash, making occasional stops to look at us. All were able to see him before he finally disappeared.

Drawing on information Bill Mann had provided earlier, we also found the arrastre located near the springs. This was an occasion for more photos, and discussion of mining and photographic equipment. Rejoining the main road, we headed for what Bill Mann calls in his book, "the Grand Canyon of the Rodman Mountains." It provided welcome shade beneath a high, dry waterfall-a perfect spot to have a snack and relax. Here Steve Bein set up his 360-degree camera and demonstrated it by taking a group photo: we stood in a circle all around the camera.

A drive to the top of the Grand Canyon of the Rodmans gave us a scenic view down Kane Wash to Newberry Springs. Soon we were heading down the wash toward, and then under, the Freeway to take the National Trails Highway to Daggett. Using information from a web site, I led a brief driving tour of several historical buildings and sites in the town, including the pioneer cemetery and the Dagget museum. (The museum is open only on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, but worth a stop if you're in the area.)

Our good fortune continued in Barstow, where we returned mid-afternoon to eat a delicious barbecue meal and to view the photograph competition exhibit in the museum. Several Desert Explorers had submitted photos. Two members of our trip were awarded plaques for outstanding entries: Jeanice Kalbach, for photos of the Kelso train depot, and Ron Ross (three plaques), for photos of wildflowers and the Kelso dunes. At the raffle later in the afternoon, it was luck, rather than skill, that reigned. My name was drawn for the third prize of $50 cash.

Trip participants were Jeanice Kalbach, Reda Anderson, Steve Bein, Bill Ott, Ron Ross, Nancy Maclean, Cap & Jo Abercrombie, Mike & Phyllis Aguilar and granddaughter Kristal, Bob Day, Sally Kinsey, and Ding Elnar.