The weather suddenly cleared up this afternoon, so we headed to Fay Bainbridge Park with my new camera. The resident Bald Eagles were not home, but I was able to capture a picture of a red-throated Loon and some American Wigeons. This Red throated Loon was swimming near the shore today . E-bird says, in summer, breeding adults have grey heads and red throats.
Two adult breeding males and two females hanging out at Fay.
After Joshua Tree, we headed northeast to the area bordering Arizona, Nevada, and California to avoid driving through LA traffic and its smog, and camped at Mohave National Preserve before making our way home to Washington.
We first went to the “Hole-in-the-wall” information center, and did the Rings Loop Trail, recommended by the camp host there. It was a nice short walk. The scenery may not be as photogenic as that of National parks, but we enjoyed the solitude, blue sky and warm weather. Toward the end of the loop, we came to very steep and narrow section where one needs to climb up using the rings on the rock. It was fun!
Rings Loop Trail
We were going to camp at the Hole-in-the-wall campground, but the person at the information center told us about the road side camping near Kelso Dunes, so we drove 30 miles. About half of the drive was on a dirt road, so it seemed to take forever. We were told we can camp where fire rings are, so we kept driving and finally found one past the the Kelso Dunes trail head. The road side camping was nice. You can enjoy wilderness from co mfort of your RV!
Kelso Dunes & Roadside camping
Can you see our rv?
Teutonia Peak Trail
On the way out of the Mohave National Preserve, we hiked to Teutonia Peak. It is a nice hike with tall Joshua trees, expansive views of the desert, and some scrambling near the peak.
I loved the Cottonwood campground. There was hardly anyone there, and we were able to find a campsite where you can see the Sunset, and stars from our windows at night. It was sunny and warmer, and there were quite few birds chirping all over the campground.
We birded at the campground, and did the three-mile loop trail to Mastodon Peak. Beautiful!!
Le Conte’s Thrasher Black-throated Sparrow
Out of focus, but is this Female, Ladder-backed Woodpecker? All about birds says, “A small black-and-white woodpecker of the southwestern United States and Mexico that forages and nests in cactus.”
Trails to Mastodon Peak
Mastodon Mine Amazing plants!
Cottonwood Spring Oasis
1. Black Rock Canyon Area
After driving through California for two days, we arrived at the Black Rock Canyon campground around 4:00 P.M on day four of our trip. Finally, it was sunny, warm, and DRY! Black Rock Canyon campground was nearly empty with just 4-5 campers. The following morning, we did the Black Rock Canyon+Panorama loop trail.
Fog or smog? Rolling in…
California Scrub-Jay on a Yucca tree
2. Jumbo Rock Campground area
After the Panorama Loop hike, we moved on to the Jumbo Rocks campground. It is a beautiful campground with amazing rock formations, and a lot more people were camping there. Early the next morning, we did the Skull Rock nature trail which started right by our campsite, and continued on to Face Rock Loop.
After the hike, we headed south east to the Cottonwood campground stopping at the Cholla Cactus Garden and Ocotillo Patch on the way.
3. Cholla Cactus Garden
4. Ocotillo Patch
I love rain, but it rained way too much in October and November in Bainbridge Island. Moss started to grow on our RV, and it was time for us to dry out. We headed south to the coast. It was raining pretty much for two days, but cleared up when we approached Harris Beach State Park in Brookings, Or. It was nice and sunny the following day, so we camped two nights there.
Wrentit (photo credit: Bob)
When waves come in, they run away, and chase the waves when they go out.
On the way back from Ocean Shores, we stopped at Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. It is a small refuge right next to an air strip, but according to the brochure, a lot of shore birds stop there during migration. The board walk took us to this view. Hundreds of Northern Pintails, and Mallards were swimming there.
Three adult females and two adult males in the breeding plumage with a white neck-stripe, white breast and long black tail.
All of the Northern Pintails suddenly took off. (The Mallards stayed….)