GSM 2013 March Death Valley - Day 3
Mar 31, 2013Public
Photo: We met Sunday morning in Essex, CA, along historic route 66, which in San Bernardino county is signed as a county road.
Photo: Essex is a small unincorporated town in San Bernardino County, California. Essex lies on Old National Trails Highway – part of the old Route 66 – just south of Interstate 40 in the Mojave Desert.
Photo: Essex, a former oasis along historic Route 66 in California, was allegedly founded when a motorist suffered a flat tire only to discover there were no garages for miles.
Photo: With an estimated population of just 89 people in 2005 (down from 111 in 2000), Essex is on the verge of becoming one of many ghost towns scattered throughout the Southwestern United States displaced by the creation of Interstate 40. Many of the homes and buildings in Essex have completely disappeared, almost 50 lie in abandonment, and of what was once a bustling roadside hub, only the post office, Caltrans maintenance yard, school house, and outdoor telephone are still operational. There are no facilities in town.
Photo: Monday morning, field trip participants meet our guide for the day, Ted Reeves (not pictured here).
Photo: The abandoned buidlings were built using many interesting local stones.
Photo: Here we see a piece of petrified wood next to a painted wood window frame.
Photo: Desert wildflowers in the shadow of the Marble Mountains, just south of the Mojave Preserve.
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Photo: Flowering creosote bush
Photo: Creosote bush is an evergreen shrub growing to 3 to 10 ft tall. The stems of the plant bear resinous, dark green leaves with two opposite lanceolate leaflets joined at the base, with a deciduous awn between them, each leaflet 0.3 to 0.7 in. long and 0.2 to 0.3 in. wide. The flowers are up to 1 inch in diameter, with five yellow petals. Galls may form by the activity of the creosote gall midge. The whole plant exhibits a characteristic odor of creosote, from which its name derives.
Photo: Desert wildflowers along a gully
Photo: Desert wildflowers growing in desert pavement. (Desert pavement is a desert surface that is covered with closely packed, interlocking angular or rounded rock fragments of pebble and cobble size.)
Photo: Several theories for formation of desert pavement: (1) It forms by the gradual removal of the sand, dust and other fine grained material by the wind and intermittent rain leaving only the larger fragments behind. This does not continue indefinitely, because once the pavement has been formed it can act as a barrier to further erosion. (2) It forms from the shrink/swell properties of the clay underneath the pavement; when precipitation is absorbed by clay it causes it to expand and later when it dries it cracks along planes of weakness. This geomorphic action is believed to have the ability to transport small pebbles to the surface over time; it stays this way due to the lack of abundant precipitation that would otherwise destroy the pavement development through transport of the clasts or excessive vegetative growth.
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Photo: California poppies
Photo: California poppies
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Photo: California poppy
Photo: We park our cars as we prepare to hike into the Marble Mountains searching for trilobite fossils.
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