Saturday, February 18, 2012

Afton Canyon

Before driving over to the Afton Canyon we first stopped at Calico Early Man Archeological Site. This is the oldest and still active archeological site in the United States. In the early 1960s prehistoric rock tools were found in this area. They were shown to Dr. Louis Leakey who then made a trip here from England in 1963. Once Leakey had examined the site he applied to Washington D.C. for a grant to pursue archeological digging in the area. In the picture above you can see one of the pits which has been carefully dug out by hand.
Currently digging has continued by volunteers a couple of times a month. This area lies in what use to be a fresh-water lake lake (Lake Manix) which was fed by the Mojave River. Speaking of the Mojave River, we had been wondering where it is- all we have seen are dry river beds around Barstow. We since have learned that it flows underground across the river valley, only surfacing in selected areas.
We found the river in Afton Canyon, as you can see in the above picture. To get into the canyon it was necessary for us to drive drive on a sandy, rocky road. At one place in the road we had to drive over a rather large puddle of water. John kept saying someone told him that the canyon was prettier than Rainbow Basin and he thought that we should drive in as far as possible. Trouble with that thinking is that our little car is not built like a Jeep!  A railroad line runs through the canyon, possibly that is the reason for the presence of any semblance of a road. We finally decided to stop and just start hiking (we discovered later that the road goes on for another 100 miles through the canyon into the town of Baker). As we were standing at the river's edge, trying to figure out how to ford the river, mountain sheep bounded up the hillside near where we were standing.We managed to cross the river on a thick piece of cardboard which was lying on a narrow section of the river. It was necessary to cross the river so we could walk further into the canyon.
John and I walked a distance, maybe a couple of miles into the canyon. We will never know if  the scenery became even more beautiful further down the road, but we were very satisfied with what we did see. We not only saw the patchwork of different colors in the rock walls, but also saw some lush riparian areas.

No comments:

Post a Comment