Needles BLM Survey
Turtle Mountain - Mopah Spring
April 15, 2012


Having finished a Whipple survey trip early we decided to go to the Mopah Springs Trailhead for the night then hike the next day over Mopah Springs pass to Vidal Valley.

We saw many hedgehog cactus, one with their usual big fuchsia colored blossoms. There were stands of ocotillo in bloom. Some of the unopened flowers looked like rows of overextended lipsticks on display. We saw golf ball size fishhook cactus with red fruit, many California barrel and a few Mojave pineapple cactus. A few Perry’s penstemons were in bloom.

Near the end of our walkout two lizards stayed still enough to allow identification. The desert night lizards are three to five inches long including the tail and are born live, the size of a toothpick and able to feed themselves. The side-blotched lizard is a commonly observed desert lizard. Some males will boldly approach a human intruder, to give his females a chance to escape.

Then it was back to the trailhead and on to traces of route 66 along I-40 to a side road campsite near Ludlow with Barstow, long freight trains, the snow capped Tehachapi’s, Bakersfield and the central valley for the next day.