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Monday, December 21, 2015

South of Edwards AFB - "of an abandoned tracking station"

 We drove north through Lake Los Angeles toward Blue Rock.
 Stopped to visit an old masonry structure.
 I don't know its story but am always surprised to see that it is still standing.
 We continued North past Hi Vista until the pavement stopped and dirt began.
 The first objective was to see what remained of an abandoned tracking station that once sat on the top of this little peak.
 We followed an old road toward the summit.
 Only about an hour of daylight remained as we reached the top where there was nothing left but a flat gravel pad.
 To the East was what looked like a plywood fenced marijuana cultivation operation. Not much chance anyone was growing a crop in the middle of winter.
 We drove on. The last time in this area Jan and I were unknowingly just 1/2 mile from a meth lab that was busted by law enforcement.
 Continued North toward the Edwards AFB boundary.
 Set up camp at the site of an old cabin. The cabin was built in 1934 but was gone in 2009.
 The lights of Edwards and Rosamond glowing below the clouds.
 Sunrise on a chilly morning.
 Two shadows in the early sunlight.
 One of several old aircraft north of the fence that are used for reconnaissance testing.
View of our camp with Rogers Dry Lake in the distance.
 Even the foundation of the old cabin is gone.
 After breakfast we drove on following the road next to the boundary fence.
 Another reconnaissance testing airframe.

One more positioned next to a calibration pad and all are probably part of the base's photo resolution range.
 Wind turbines along the ridgeline of the Tehachapi Mountains. Future backcountry explorers will visit the rusting carcasses of wind turbine farms and solar power facilities and will probably feel the same nostalgia as we do when finding old mines, derelict railroad equipment and abandoned military sites. Will they think that our efforts were quaint compared to the advanced power technologies used in their time?
 We drove on to another location and stopped for a hike across the desert.
 When walking across the desert one sometimes encounters odd objects.
 What is this object and why is it here?
 A curious collection of debris.
 A shallow prospect. A prospector would have to be highly motivated to dig a hole this deep on a hunch.
 We returned to the truck and drove on.
 When we arrived at the EAFB South Gate there was no option but to turn south.
 Our route back to pavement.
 An old Edwards boundary notice beside the road. Was it standing here when the X-15 was flying from this base? And that question leads one to ponder the "what ifs" of not cancelling the X-20 Dyna-Soar program.
 The road for home looked slightly ominous.
30 minutes later we encountered high winds and blowing sand but arrived home with no windshield damage.

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