Cold Desert Trip
December 17 to 22, 2012

I love camping in the desert, and theoretically winter is an excellent time to go there. However, the Mojave Desert is high enough to get quite cold, and even the low Colorado Desert can be affected by chilly spells. As it turned out, I experienced not only cold, but rain. After two days in the Mojave I tried my luck at the Colorado River, usually the warmest place in the country, where I had even colder weather.

The camper really proved its worth on this trip. I sat inside, reading and writing, for four days and nights, perfectly comfortable though a little restless. There was usually an hour or so each day when the weather relented and I went for short walks.

(Click any picture to open a larger version.)


December 17-18, 2012

My first two nights were spent at Afton Canyon Campground, elevation 3000 feet. The Union Pacific main line runs through the canyon and heavy freight trains thunder right through the campground day and night - the earth literally shakes. Nobody else was camping there.


There was rain both days and heavy rain during the night. This picture was taken during the one brief period when the sun came out.


December 19-20, 2012

I gave up on the high Mojave and relocated to Cottonwood Cove on Lake Mohave, a major reservoir on the Colorado River east of Searchlight, Nevada. It was actually a little colder there, but at least it didn't rain.


The elevation at Cottonwood Cove is only 650 feet above sea level, which makes for mild winters and scorching summers. But the regional cold weather affected me even there.


December 21, 2012

The weather finally relented, blue skies and mild temperatures. It was just what I had come to the desert to enjoy, but unfortunately I was now out of time. I took a few panoramas of the Cottonwood Cove area, then crossed the Mojave Reserve to the tiny town of Nipton and back to Interstate 15. I continued on to the nice campground at Owl Canyon, north of Barstow.

All panoramas taken this day (6)

Panoramas of Lake Mohave on the Colorado River, Nevada

Panoramas of Nipton in the Mojave National Reserve


December 22, 2012

Just an uneventful drive home.

All panoramas taken this day (1)

Panoramas of Barstow, California

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