14-Dec-2016 -- As I was in southern California en route to Pepperdine University, and as it was one of my favorite times to be in the Mojave Desert (December), I thought that a return visit to 35 North 118 West would be the perfect excuse for a desert hike.
I began the day in Victorville, and in the early morning drove west out of town, and then north on US Highway 395. At Kramer Junction I drove west on Highway 58 until I reached a north-south dirt road about 2 miles west of the confluence. I drove south to a low point in the road and stopped. I'm still not sure why so many of the roads here, though gravel, are so wide, and so well graded and maintained. I considered driving further, as I did on my last visit, to the railroad tracks and then east, but I reconsidered today: It was a very nice day for a hike-- temperature about perfect - 60 F with a light breeze and clear skies. Thus, I began my trek right here.
I set off to the point with 2.2 miles showing on my GPS. As the ground was only 25% covered here in shrubs, with 1 inch grass on some of the rest of the ground but most of it completely barren, the walking was pretty easy, and I was able to walk at my maximum pace, which is 4.2 miles per hour. It was just breezy enough for me to keep a light jacket on but then I took it off after a time. I walked over low knolls and into a few shallow ravines but nearly at a straight line to the confluence point, until I was about 15 minutes away, at which time I deviated so I could walk on a four wheel drive trail that led due east. After taking that for about 10 minutes, I was northwest of the point, and again hiked straight toward it, finding it almost exactly where I had located it on my visit several years before.
I spent about 10 minutes at the point. Several trains rumbled past to the south along with some aircraft from nearby Edwards Air Force Base. As I mentioned, the weather was perfect for hiking and I love the desert in winter. I saw no animals and few birds, and fortunately, no snakes. I was glad to see that not much trash was out here aside from the occasional can or old tire. I was a bit wistful to depart but it had been a good year for confluencing: I believe I visited 20 points this year, including in the states of California, Wisconsin, Montana, Colorado, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, New Mexico, and a few more besides. I really doubted I could visit 20 in 2017.
On the way back, I took a longer route but one that allowed me a "circle" back to the starting point, which I dearly love to do. I hiked west-southwest to a large Joshua Tree, then west along another dirt track to the railroad, and then northwest for a bit until I cut cross country to the vehicle. The total hike came in at around 5.5 miles which I completed in 1 hour and 30 minutes. But my adventure was not over yet: My next stop was musician Gene Vincent's gravesite about 1 hour south-southwest of here. Get out there and explore the world!