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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Mecca Hills - Little Box Canyon

 Our plan was to arrive a day early at the location of this year's Surprise Adventure but then we thought why not camp somewhere else Friday night and explore a new area. That is how we came to be in Little Box Canyon in the Mecca Hills.
While driving east on I-10 the moon was rising over San Jacinto Peak.
We drove east past Indio and over Mecca Pass to the exit for Box Canyon Road. The lights of vehicles on I-10 slowly disappeared as we drove south.
After leaving the pavement of Box Canyon Road and entering Little Box Canyon our route became very sandy. Deep sand below and high walls above.
We drove about 1/2 mile into the canyon and set up camp at a junction of two canyons.
At dawn the moon was setting in the west over the Mecca Hills.
Early morning in Little Box Canyon.
While drinking our morning tea we spotted a boulder perched precariously above the canyon.
Jan walked over to the cliff wall to give the photo some scale. Standing safely out of the fall zone.
After breakfast we continued our drive east up the canyon.
Eventually the canyon walls became lower but the sand remained deep.
 After about two miles we broke out of the canyon and out of the sand.
 A few hundred yards later we reached a junction with the Meccacopia Trail where we turned left and drove north toward upper Box Canyon Road.
 We crossed a dry lake bed marked on the map but it looked like it hasn't been very dry in the last few decades. Orocopia Mountains in the background.
 After driving over this ridge we dropped into a wash and drove out to pavement.
 The end of our short exploration.
 At the southern end of Box Canyon we decided to check out the Ladder Canyon trail head at the end of Painted Canyon Road. After driving on this road for a mile we decided that it would only be worth putting up with five miles of nasty washboard if we were going to hike the canyon. Seriously, it was as bad as the road to the Racetrack in Death Valley.
A few minutes later we saw this sign warning about the penalties for illegal dumping. The couch and chair in the background just appealed to my sense of irony.

Ironic photography concluded we drove on to the location of the Surprise Adventure to set up camp and await the participants.

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