Our desert adventures started with a trip to the Mojave National Preserve to hike the singing sands of the Kelso Dunes.
The hike starts out on a sandy track that heads straight. As you hike, the terrain is mostly flat until you get closer to the dunes where you’ll begin to cross many smaller dunes before arriving at the base. There really isn’t an established trail because the wind is constantly shifting the sand, but you can make out footprints where others have made their way up. Just keep heading towards the highest point, and try to avoid stepping on any vegetation. As you begin to ascend, hiking becomes more strenuous. Your feet sink into the deep sand and for every step you take forward, you’ll slide two steps back. It’s no easy task, but getting up to the top is totally worth it! Once you’re on top, follow the sandy spine all the way to the peak where it levels off. You’ll have a great place to sit and enjoy the surrounding views.
Now for the best part… When you’re done taking it all in, you’ll can slide your way down! If conditions are right, you’ll hear the dunes boom or sing and feel them vibrate underneath you. This phenomena is caused by sheets of sand cascading down and rubbing against the stationary sand below. It’s really something to experience and there are only 30 other dunes in the world that can do this. I was elated that we were able to hear them sing today!
Our next stop was Amboy Crater National Natural Landmark, just off Route 66. The crater is a cinder cone type of volcano that last erupted about 10,000 years ago. To get to it, you hike through a lava field and then up and into the crater where you can walk around its edge. It’s about a 3 mile round trip hike. Sadly, we were unable to hike all the way up today because the temperatures were already a scorching 90 degrees. It was still fun to see and it’s on our list for when the weather cools down.
After the Amboy Crater, we made our way down to Twentynine Palms where we spent the night. We had some dinner before heading into Joshua Tree National Park to relax and watch a gorgeous desert sunset before retiring for the evening.
It was a great day! I’m really looking forward to exploring more of the Mojave National Preserve. There’s so much to see!