Rough road on New York Mountains Road

Bicycle camping in and around Mojave National Preserve 2006

Day 4: Mid Hills campground to Caruthers Canyon

19.16 miles, 2:20 hrs, 21.1 max, 8.2 mph avg

Elevation: 5500 feet to 4800 to 5600

I'm on the watch now for my next and final junction of the day—Caruthers Canyon Road. I should be just about there and I see a set of tire tracks heading north, so I go that way.

Road to shady campsite near Caruthers Canyon

I find two campsites down this short road, but the road should be longer, and I should be seeing more than just two campsites. Besides, the junction where I came in should have been four-way, not three-way, so this can't be the right place.

I'm not lost, but I'm not quite sure where I am either. None of my three maps are showing this side road that I just followed.

I back-track to New York Mountains Road. A bit further, I find another side road heading toward the mountains, so I try it.

I see a campsite and other little roads going into the brush, presumably to other campsites. Ah, this must be Caruthers Canyon Road.

An aging camper trailer is parked at a rather open site, the first site that I see, but I don't see anyone around. It's so quiet here, I wonder if the occupants have heard me.

Camp site near Caruthers Canyon even includes a wobbly bench!

I explore the side roads and campsites, which are quite isolated from each other, getting off my bike to walk around here and there. I find one site that is more isolated than the others, with its own entrance road that winds around a few pinyon pine and juniper trees and then ends at a shady area. Shade out here in the desert is such a wonderful commodity.

I set my bike down and walk around a little. Yes, lots of positive vibrations—this will be home tonight. There are fairly fresh tire tracks here, but no sign of anyone around anywhere. I wonder when this campsite was last used—last night, last week, several weeks ago?

The site even comes equipped with a wobbly bench that someone once brought and left behind. It's not great to sit on, but it's nice to have a place to put things other than on the bare ground.

Me, peeking out from the tent

I set up my tent near a pinyon pine and a bush that I can't identify. There's a nicely constructed firepit made from rocks. I really enjoyed my campfire at Mid Hills last night, so more than a bit jealous of the people before me who burned wood here before, while I don't have any!

It's still early, about 16h, so I go for a walk in the surreal, rocky surroundings, and am mesmerized by the strange beauty. I climb a couple hundred feet up the rocks and find items like a computer monitor that were dumped and apparently used as target practice by some intelligent souls who visited here some time in the past.

I'm still a bit confused as to where Caruthers Canyon itself actually is and conclude that it must be beyond one of these rock piles somewhere.

As it starts to get dark, the cool wind of the day starts to feel cold, so I rush to put on sweater and jeans. The evening is dark, quiet and peaceful, with thousands of stars twinkling in the sky.

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