It was another beautiful day out at the Mojave Desert as we woke up camping beneath the Granite Mountains. As usual, Baby S woke up at 6AM. We had breakfast and took our morning hike around the campsite trails. This schedule seems to work out for us since it coincides with Baby S’s nap time. We were sad that our stay at Mojave National Preserve has come to an end but were so grateful to have spent the last 3 days exploring this hugely understated park. We still cannot believe we stayed away from this place for so long! Mojave National Preserves has made its way into one of our favorite places.
The wind finally died down sometime in the early mornings. We woke up to a beautiful day and took a hour long hike towards the cinder cones on the jeep trail. During our walk, we noted that ecosystem here is really different compared to Hole in the Wall where it was mostly young Joshua Trees and cactus versus short brush near the lava beds. For the second time during our trip, we noted how nice it would be, if we had our mountain bikes with us on this trail.
We arrived at the Kelso Depot Ranger Station around lunch time. This ranger station serves as the main headquarters of Mojave National Preserve. It looked much more established than the Hole in the Wall Ranger Station. In the early 1900s, Kelso Depot was a hotel and restaurant built to provide services for passengers of the railroads passing through the area. With the railroad industry declining after World War II, this area became desolate. The building was transferred to National Park Services in 1994 when the national preserve was established and the restoration of the building began in 2002.
Baby S slept terribly his first night sleeping in the camper van, so all of us got up early to catch the sunrise and hung around the camper van.
We left Orange County around 11AM enroute to Mojave National Preserve. We decided to take the 15 North route since we planned to work our way down the park and exit southbound. We made sure to fill up on gas at the Shell station right before we turned on to Cima Road. This is the last gas station on the northern part of Mojave as there are no gas stations inside the park.
Our first stop was the White Cross World War I Memorial site. There are two campsites at this site, we made a mental note that this would be a great place to stop in the future since this is so close to the 15N.