Turtle Mountain Mopah Spring
March 17-22, 2011

On this trip we planned to monitor plants and animals and to see if there was a reasonable route to the top on Kettle Mesa from the east side. That mesa is the very large landmass south of Mopah Springs Canyon.

We started the first day with a grey cloud cover that gradually cleared. We found a pile of rocks with collected remnants of the Lisa Dawn claim markers.
The ocotillos were in bloom and had abundant leaves. The leaves appear only after recent rain. There is a rock pile and a shallow pit at the top of the pass between Mopah Spring Canyon and Vidal Wash. It has been suggested that the Indians that occupied this land made rock pile monuments at significant locations.

There is a corrugated galvanized steel shack remnant wrapped around a palo verde tree in the middle of Vidal Wash, evidence of high water flow in recent history.

After a night near Mopah Spring went a short way down Mopah Ravine then around the back of Mopah Peak and then on the east side of Kettle Mesa.
We found a beat up and twisted rusted steel artifact and thought at first it was a propeller that had fallen from a plane. Then it was thought that it has been been blown around by windstorms for more than fifty years. Our guesses about this included a part of a stove, heater or fan.

We did not see any reasonable access through the cliffs from the east side of Kettle Mesa and decided that another attempt should be done from the west side. We would have liked to return by going around the south side of the mesa but thought that could take too long. Since we had time for further exploration we went over the pass on the south side of Mopah Peak to return to out campsite.

We had seen several humming birds, a few hawks, several quail coveys, many fast moving brown lizards, a round tail horned lizard, a side-blotched lizard, desert cottontails and jackrabbits

On our easy walk out the next day we were already making plans for our next trip to the Mojave.

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