Truth be told, I’m not much of a camper. I camp in a car with a camper that has a proper stove, fridge and a bed. Although, if, you put me in front of a tent, that requires building from ground up then, it will probably take me a few hours to put together. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate it but, I struggle. In all said and done, at the end of the day I do it all for the adventure.
At 7am sharp, we made our way to the desert & somehow we randomly talked ourselves in making a pit stop in a small town called Daggett. Where the heck is Daggett? With a population of 200, this tiny town is found on Interstate 40; about 10 miles east of Barstow right before the Mojave Desert. There’s not much to see there except a few old dilapidated buildings, some homes & a market.
I really liked the look and feel of this building and the way they used the different fonts on the sign gives it character. Also, at the top of the structure reveals the year 1908 which, I assumed is the year the building was built. We eventually went inside the store to look around and I found it dark with very narrow aisles. They sold general items from liquors, beers to candies. My friend ended up buying a beer and we walked around the area for a few minutes then, we left.
Once we arrived in Mojave National Preserve, we made another pit stop. This time it was at the visitor center called Kelso Depot. This building was previously a restaurant and a hotel situated right next to an active train junction. Inside you will see a mini museum consisting of artworks, history facts, old room displays and a bookstore downstairs.
It was quite cool to see history preserved and we ended up spending at least an hour exploring the 2-story building. On the way out, we grabbed some brochures, bought a book and finally made our way to the mountain.
Mojave National Preserve
On the way to the mountain was another 30-40 minutes drive. At some point we meandered through an abandoned farm (or at least that’s what it looked like). The area reminded me of a set from the show The Walking Dead. There was the main house, a cottage and a spot to hang clothes. For some reason, after a few minutes of being there, it felt a bit creepy, likely, from the fact that people used to live here. I wondered what it could be that made them want to leave, aside from the fact that the place is in the middle of no where? Zombies, perhaps?
Table Top Mountain
After driving around for a few minutes, we finally found a good spot to park our car for the weekend. In the distance was Table Top Mountain. From afar, the top of the mountain really does look like a table, don’t ya think?
My friend and I decided to have lunch before we started our hike. We both hungrily munched our sandwiches and chips. My friend decided to pair his food with the beer we bought from the market in Daggett and offered to help him finish. Gladly, I did which, I learned later on that it was a bad (very bad) idea.
With the combination of my lunch, the beer, the weather and my heavy loads on my back, I was having a hard time mid-way into our hike. We went up 6,000 feet through the rocky ridgeline and maneuvering through big boulders. It was probably not the best path to take but, it was the only way we knew to get to the top. Anyway, my stomach did not feel well and I didn’t think I’d make it all the way to the top of the mountain. At that point, my friend suggested we rested and I knew I needed to drink water (lots of it). It made a huge difference! I was finally starting to breathe a little easier and enjoyed the view from our climb.
After hitting our half way point, I was trying to catch up with my friend who already made it to the very top of the mountain. While navigating through rocks, I dropped my stick to the ground and was ready to make another step when I saw something move. That’s when I realized it was a snake. I screamed and the darn thing hissed back then, it started to move towards the cracks of the rocks while, I, at the same time, moved away from it. Not believing what I saw, I peaked behind the rock it was trying to go under.Yep, it was, indeed, a snake. It wiggled it’s way into the rocks with its long and black with yellow strips of colors. The darn thing blended in with the ground and if, I hadn’t dropped my stick I would not have seen it. Thankfully, I did!
After that incident, I’ve held on to my walking stick ever since and made sure to hit the rocks in front of me before I made a step towards it. I was known as the stick girl at the end of this trip. Don’t laugh. You would be too if, your life depended on it 🙂
Once we reached the very top, I knew the struggle getting up here was all worth it. The view alone was spectacular and all of this was ours for the weekend. We found a spot behind some trees where, we can tell that others before us had already been there. A mini fire pit was already created on the ground. We decided to set up our tent near it which, turned out to be a perfect spot. The wind had picked up as the sun came down and I’m glad our spot was hidden behind trees because it prevented some of the heavy winds from hitting us all day and night.
Once the sun dropped it also got cold (around 40s-50s F). The fire we built was a savior in all aspects from keeping us warm to making our dinner. Sadly, we didn’t get to see any stars because of the clouds but, I thought it was a pleasant night overall. By 8:30 pm we called it an early night and went to bed.
The next day we spent the entire morning packing up, eating breakfast and going back down the mountain. If, anyone who’s been to this mountain and had a better path than going through the boulders please, let me know. It was quite difficult navigating through the rocks midway down the mountain. Anyway, we survived and had a good time. To the next adventure!