As we left the Trona Pinnacles and headed out on the lonely 178 into Ridgecrest. I couldn’t believe how surreal things were. The pinnacles and all their splendor still lingered in my mind even though the thought of seeing more desert wildflowers excited me for the days adventure. The geology surrounding the 178 was a sight to see. The rock formations and canyons were excellent, it made it hard for me to look at the map while my friend drove. I’m not sure if it was because I’ve never been here or maybe it was because I don’t fully trust google maps, but we stopped at the BLM Field Office in order to get better directions to Short Canyon, a place that supposedly had some great wildflowers.
After getting some great information and a map at BLM we were off again and this time with a better sense of direction and plan. Even though I received good directions we still missed our exit off the 14, and had to turn around. We blew our exit by a good seven minutes too, but then we saw a Mobil gas station, and figured we’d stop there to make sure we were on the right track. I must say this was the worst stop we made on our trip, as the bathrooms were filthy and the customer service was not great either, but at least I found out we were right next to the entrance to the Canyon.
As we headed up the dusty dirt road we would soon see what looked to be a big 4X4 in distress. It hung partially off the side of the road and I could see a woman bent down near the front passenger tire. We wondered if they needed help, but before I could get out and ask, another woman was already approaching our vehicle. She informed me that they were stuck on a rock. I could tell they had been there for some time now, as she seemed frustrated and exhausted by the situation. So with out any further delay I was off to help them out as best I could.
When I got closer I could see one woman lying underneath the large truck, she had a metal dog dish in hand and was attempting to dig the rock out. Another woman was spotting her and after discussing a plan of attack in order to get the rock from underneath the axle without damaging it we decided that I was going to push the rock down with my legs. It worked slightly as it got the rock away from the axle but the rock was still too high, and could cause some real damage if the truck were to try and move over it. We tried to dig it out and push it some more and after a few failed attempts I decided it was time for a new strategy. I crawled underneath the truck with a long dog leash and wrapped it around the rock. I then began to pull towards me, which was really hard considering I was laying flat on my stomach. Luckily the rock began to move. Soon two of the women began to dig around the rock, one was using the tire iron and it gave me an idea.
I knew we just needed the right kind of leverage to get the rock out, so I asked if I could borrow it for a moment. The woman kindly and enthusiastically abide. I dug one end of the tire iron underneath the bottom of the rock and with one hand pushed on the other side of the iron. It began to lift the rock up and as it did I used my other hand to push the rock forward. “That’s working!” I heard one lady shout and soon three of us were working together to get the rock out. I would pry and lift the rock while two of the women would use the dog leash to pull the rock out. We had the rock out in no time.
Soon the truck was free and they were able to get out of the rough part of the trail. I then moved the rock out from the middle of the road with some help from two of the women, as it was a large and heavy rock. The four laddies were really happy and thankful to be out of that predicament. I smiled and told them it wasn’t a problem as I was covered in head to toe of dirt from the road. They then asked for my name and where I was from, I told them and they seemed to know the town that I was from. As they shouted it’s name in disbelief. I told them to have a great day and try not to get stuck again, and as I started to walk back to my friend and her car, I heard one of them say “Wait!” I turned to look and the eldest one was reaching into her wallet to pull out some money.
I didn’t want to accept the money, as I was just happy to be able to solve their problem, but she insisted and it would be rude not to accept the token of gratitude. So I accepted and thanked her for the money. Soon they were driving off back to Ridgecrest and waving at me from their lifted truck. I waved back and smiled and then went back to the car. Where we easily made it up the sandy slope (their truck was too heavy) and into the canyon. We parked the car and started scrambling up the rocky cliffs.
It was a beautiful day out in the canyon. The sun was bright but not too hot, the wildflowers covered the canyon floor in a vibrant yellow and we were feeling like we were on top of the world on the large boulders of the cliff face. I think it was that moment that really solidified that we weren’t ready to go home yet. So we both agreed some Eric Schat’s in Bishop would be a good reward to end the day. So once again we were off to jump back on the open road. Seeking adventure and baked goods.