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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Red Canyon and the Bradshaw Trail

The plan was to drive a portion of the Bradshaw Trail that I did not cover 12 years ago. Our route took us near Chiriaco Summit on I-10 and the General George S. Patton Memorial Museum. Having driven by the museum on many occasions it was time to visit.
 We examined the exhibits inside the building and the tanks parked outside.
 Jan discovered an upside down memorial brick and we both decided that it probably got more attention than all the rest.
 We passed this sign while driving on the old US 60.
 After reading the sign I paid much closer attention to the condition of the bridges we crossed on our way to the Red Canyon Road.
 We turned south on the Red Canyon Road and shortly after taking this photo a 2012 FWC Finch on a gray 2011 Tacoma pulled up behind us. The owners of this good looking rig were Rick and Alice from San Diego. The four of us talked for a bit, they drove on looking for a place to camp and we continued south.
 Sometimes the road climbed out of the wash.
 Other times the road was in the wash.
 Then the road crossed the bajada on its way south.
 There were a few sections on the road where we had to engage the 4WD.
 Jan felt the need to insert herself into my nifty shadow photo.
 As sunset neared we found ourselves above Red Canyon driving the ridges down to Salt Creek Wash.
 The Chuckwalla Mountains to the east captured the last rays of the setting sun.
 Jan spotted our next destination, the Salton Sea, in the distance to the west.
 We reached Salt Creek Wash after sunset and set up camp near the mouth of Red Canyon.
 The rising sun casts a golden glow on the cliffs above our Bradshaw Trail camp.
 After breakfast I noticed a couple of flags on a cliff high above our camp.
 The Stars and Stripes were only attached to the pole at one point and needed some repair. I decided to climb up and fix the problem. My first route to the top began to require climbing skills that I no longer possessed. Soon my addled brain began to realize that there must be an easier route. After scouting around I found another route that wasn't much more than a scrambling hike.
 Jan stayed below by the camper to read in the warm sun and take the previous photo.
 A little wrenching unmounted the pole so I could reattach the flag. About five minutes later Old Glory once again flew proudly above the junction of Salt Creek Wash and Red Canyon.
 We drove up the wash to investigate the narrows of Red Canyon.
Looking back at the mouth of Red Canyon. Flags flying on the bluff to the right.
 I found a crushed granola bar in the middle of the wash, opened the package and poured the broken pieces in front of a gopher hole. Gophers for generations to come will chatter about the crunchy sweet manna that appeared early one afternoon in January of 2013.
Our drive of the Bradshaw Trail traversed the north boundary of the Chocolate Mountain Aerial Gunnery Range (CMAGR). Jan heard explosions during the night at our last camp.
 Crossing under the Eagle Mountain Rail Road.
 Crossing over the Eagle Mountain Rail Road.
Soon the Coachella Canal came into view.
 Near the canal a courteous Border Patrol agent talked with us for a few minutes. We drove on and finally reached pavement at Hot Mineral Spa Road.

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