Harper Dry Lake: A Marsh Most Mellow

Harper Dry Lake bed in the Mojave Desert was the site of secret flight test programs conducted by the Hughes & Northrop aircraft companies during the 1940s, including the first flight by an American rocket-propelled aircraft. Howard Hughes tested aircraft and built a hangar here. Years later, it was decided Harper Dry Lake was the best place to launch the space shuttle’s heir apparent, the Lockheed Martin Venture Star.

Harper Dry Lake Marsh, near the tiny community of Lockhart, California, is practically a stone’s throw away from the world’s second largest solar farm facilities.

Despite environmental challenges, peaceful Harper Dry Lake Marsh remains an enduring host to a wide variety of migratory waterfowl…

The Mojave Desert wears a coat of many colors. Both majestic and mysterious, Rainbow Basin is notable for miles of fantastical and beautiful shapes of rock formations, its fossil beds and geologic wonders.

Don’t expect a Skittles rainbow though. You will enjoy its varied palette of natural hues but it’s subtle and changes throughout the day with shadows.

Surprises await just off the beaten path. Park your vehicle to the side of the road and go for a walkabout. Hiking Owl Canyon offers many discoveries, such as lava tubes, dry water falls and…

Remember, while exploring remote parts of the desert, the true test of character is doing the right thing, even if nobody else is watching.

Rustic cemeteries dot the outskirts of Old West ghost towns where the early inhabitants lay in eternal rest. We thank you for being mindful and respectful of the departed. Their lives touched many and in retrospect added to the complex tapestry of history known as the Mojave Desert.

Modern unsung heroes continue to pay homage to their legacies…

Driving along Pearblossom Highway (Hwy 138), it’s just you and maybe a few hundred cars and trucks passing by in both directions. Perhaps lost in thought, or just concentrating on surviving the drive, you look ahead and the roadway becomes a beacon to place unknown to most people, even though they may pass it every day. You’re approaching the ruins. Soon, you will know what others don’t. The history of a failed dream. Welcome to the Socialist community of Llano Del Rio…

We’re not saying Apple Valley, California, is in the middle of nowhere, although Los Angelinos may argue differently. This 62 foot labyrinth is great place to go to clear your head and get back in touch with nature. To listen to the wind and not much else. Despite its popularity, of all the times we’ve visited here we’ve never come across anyone else at this spot. We hope you enjoy the same pleasure…

We were lucky enough to follow along some of Union Pacific steam locomotive Big Boy 4014’s historic journey as it passed through the Mojave Desert from Colton, California to Cheyenne, Wyoming for restoration. Much to the delight of railfans like us, Big Boy’s first scheduled stop was at scenic Mormon Rocks in the Cajon Pass.

Big Boy’s next stop was The Harvey House Railroad Depot in Barstow, originally known as the Casa del Desierto. It was Big Boy’s first visit in 50 years. Would the bittersweet reunion be its last?

Remember, some of the graves are hard to see until you get almost right on top of them. Never drive your vehicle where graves may be present. Please do not walk on top of graves. Some have soft earth on them and the unforgiving desert may want to swallow you up…

Sometimes you find some mighty strange things in the desert. Dolls, for instance. Abandoned, ragged, caked with grime. The creepier, all the better…

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