The wind howled all night and nobody got a good night’s sleep. Sometimes, the desert winds can just be fierce.
The next morning though, everything was calm. Strong winds in the afternoon and at night and calm conditions the next morning seems to just be how the desert behaves at certain times. It really all came down to the luck of the draw.
Close examination of our camp showed just how hard we tried to keep the wind at bay. We had largely succeeded as the center of camp, surrounded by cars on three sides, was calm enough for people to relax around the campfire the previous night.
We had a good amount of distance to travel for the day though, so camp was broken relatively quickly after breakfast and we hit the trail.
Our first stop for the day was only a few miles down range under the Afton Canyon railroad bridge, one of a few iconic Mojave Road picture spots.
There was much monkeying around by the rest of the group.
While they relaxed, I scouted the path ahead by foot. The trail here goes through a river bed and splits off into multiple directions, but it seemed that taking any path was fine.
Luckily nobody was run over by a train while adult supervision was away.
Continuing within the river bed, we reached an area where we felt like we were in a box canyon. The golden trees to the side of the river bed hinted at flowing water, somewhere, and also made for quite a beautiful scene.
After a short break, we continued on our way. The trail then rises out of the wash and runs along railroad tracks for a short sequence. We met the tracks right as a train was passing by. It was pretty awesome driving alongside a train going down the tracks. This time, luck was on our side to deliver such an awesome experience.
A short few miles further down the trail and we came to the part that everyone was looking forward to: the river crossing by Afton Canyon Campgrounds. Youn’s FJ Cruiser ran a few trips through the crossing just to check the depth.
After receiving the all clear, my Forester was next into the water. There were definitely points where the car was listing a bit.
The remaining FJs went next.
Followed finally by the Crosstrek.
We definitely dredged up some of the river flora. After the crossing, it was time to bid Howard good bye as he and his girlfriend had to exit through a side trail. His dog was just not happy with all the bumpiness. The rest of us continued onward towards Manix Wash to finish up the last section of the Mojave Road. We could feel that the end of our adventure was near.
Manix Wash is a wide sandy wash that you can make very good time within. Navigation within the wash was a bit of a concern, as the frequency of the cairns decreased dramatically. Nonetheless, since it was difficult to get out of the sides of the wash, it was just a matter of continuing forward and not missing the point where you needed to bear right.
Luckily, we didn’t miss it, though there was brief confusion when we arrived at that turning point. Immediately after the turning point, we stopped for a quick lunch break with the desert sun beating down.
After finishing lunch, a left turn a few miles down let us out of Manix Wash. We were soon on a telephone pole maintenance road. By that point, the trail was practically a superhighway. We blasted down the last few miles of the trail.
We quickly arrived at the very end of the trail. On a bright December day, we had finished the Mojave Road and accomplished a major goal.