We were back camping at the Las Cienegas National Conservation Area after making the short run over to Hot Well Dunes for a while. It was time for a change of scenery, so when a windy day was upon us, it was a good time for a road trip!
The campground inside the monument (full) also has a length restriction, required by some steep, narrow washes inside the campground.
There are a few pull-offs, but it can be difficult to get good photos because of the thick trees along the road.
It had rained the previous day, and I found that at these higher elevations there had also been some snow. In the interests of science, I measured the dump with my hiking pole and determined that there was a full 10cm (6 inches) of snow on the ground!
The trail up to the lookout was apparently constructed by conservation corp workers, who managed to cut this short tunnel out of the rock face. I'm guessing that supplies to build and maintain the lookout were likely hauled up by packhorses back in the day.
While the lookout does not appear to have been active for years, the structure seems to host some radio repeater equipment.
Winds were really howling up there, and you had to keep the hat locked in place to avoid losing it!
Back in the day, the lookout obviously collected rainwater from the roof in a small cistern along the side.
Back in Las Cienegas Conservation Area, with the high winds and extreme fire hazard, I was worried about this fire I spotted a few miles away. All the grass was tinder-dry, and there was a Red Flag fire warning in the area at the time.
It only lasted a few hours, so I guess they got it under control. Perhaps it was surrounded by roads or fields?
In other news -
The big GM just passed yet another milestone, and turned over 500,000km (about 311k miles). It just keeps purring along like new, after 14 years, never using any oil or having any other major problems. It's been from Alaska (twice), to the Texas gulf coast, and from San Diego to Newfoundland, and everywhere in between, usually towing the fifth wheel or with the camper on it.