Providence Mountains

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Sandman
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Providence Mountains

Post by Sandman » Mon Apr 13, 2009 7:01 pm

On our last visit to the Mojave Preserve, we took the time to visit Mitchell Caverns. Located on the eastern slope of the Providence Mountains, this natural cave was known and visited by the local Native Americans since pre historic times. Archeological digs in the outer sections revealed many artifacts, including a bone from a ground sloth extinct for 10,000 years. The cave is open to visitation with daily tours at 1:30 PM, first come first served limited to 25. On the weekends, they have more tours.

There is a small but very scenic campground at the visitor's center that has picnic tables and fresh water from a spring above. The visitor's center is the former residence of the Mitchells who operated a small guest ranch in times gone by prior to the family selling the land to the State and the establishment of the state park.

We arrived there early and enjoyed the sweeping view across the desert while having breakfast. After the visitor center opened at 9am, we bought tickets for the cave tour at $5 a piece and laced up our hiking boots. There is a very nice trail that takes off behind the visitor center and goes up the canyon into the steep inclines of the Providence Range. Pinyon Pines dot the hills, along with numerous cactus that were all in bloom as we acended about a mile up to Crystal Spring. I kept my eyes open for bighorn sheep but saw none. My binnoculars did pick out numerous different birds including some


cactus wren, humming birds and a thrasher of some sort as we hiked along.

We returned back to our vehicle around noon and had a nice lunch prior to taking the cavern tour. The cavern has a good display of stalagmites, stalagtites, shields and such and we even discovered the cave has resident ringtails which pop their heads out every now and then. We didn't see any on our tour however. There were several families with kids and they were fun to watch however. the kids always make any tour a little more interesting and I enjoy their questions. The tour took about an hour and a half and was well worth the price of admission.

For anyone visiting the area of the Mojave Preserve, I highly reccomend visiting Mitchell caverns. You wont be dissapointed!

Desert Cruiser
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Re: Providence Mountains

Post by Desert Cruiser » Mon Apr 13, 2009 8:07 pm

At one time they thought that the Michell Caverns was another entrance to the underground river that supposedly runs to the South and also runs under the Kokoweef Cave up near Mountain Pass, Ca. This underground river is supposed to be loaded with gold! Never got a chance to go to Michell though, would be nice I'm sure. Thanks for reminding me!
Don....

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Re: Providence Mountains

Post by SteveS » Tue Apr 14, 2009 12:04 pm

Mitchell Cavern’s are well worth the visit when in that area. A book came out a few years back; it’s mainly a reprint of an autobiography of Jack and Ida Mitchell. It’s called “Keeper of the Cave” and I think the DesUSA bookstore has it. IMHO it’s a very fun read, not a cave book per-say but more about the spirit of Depression era people to eke out a living in the Mojave during the 30’s.

Also Kokoweef is a great place to see and hear about. To my knowledge they no longer give tours, or want people just stopping-in, but if you hear of an invite, go. IMO, It’s a story fit for a Hollywood movie, and the amount of work they have done there is impressive.

The areas around the Cavern’s and Kokoweef are worth investigating. But now with about 80% (and growing) of everything showing up in picture form on Google Maps/Earth, the surprise factor is gone, and the traffic is growing.

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Plays In The Dirt
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Re: Providence Mountains

Post by Plays In The Dirt » Tue Apr 14, 2009 1:54 pm

SteveS wrote:Mitchell
The areas around the Cavern’s and Kokoweef are worth investigating. But now with about 80% (and growing) of everything showing up in picture form on Google Maps/Earth, the surprise factor is gone, and the traffic is growing.
This sentence is worth noting.

I'm very much in to Outdoor Photography and Photographing remote Petroglyph Sites - Old Historical Buildings - Cabins - Ranch Houses - Ghost Towns - etc. I also do a lot of research on the history of these locations. I very seldom go to known sites as many of them have been destroyed by uncaring/ignorant people. What's sad is that some people have taken it upon themselves to create web sites showing the exact locations of these sites which attracts more and more people. Some of them have good intentions and only wish to see remnants of our past. Others, however, come there and destroy and trash the areas which is unacceptable. So if you know of, or have special places that no one else knows about, keep them to yourself. While the person you tell many have good intentions, you never know who that person may share that information with. I know of many Petroglyph locations that no one else knows about and I intend to keep it that way.

Sandman
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Re: Providence Mountains

Post by Sandman » Wed Apr 15, 2009 1:19 am

The Providence range is a place of spectacular beauty. The towering escarpments rise up to touch the deep blue desert skies and everything about it is wild. The rugged and remote canyons nestled between the peaks hold hidden springs, an oasis of life in a harsh environment where the trees reach up their branches like arms uplifted to the heavens above.

Bighorn sheep call this place home. The boulder strewn ridges above steep cliffs provide refuge from the claws of the mountain lion. The volcanic eruptions layered over an ancient seafloor magnified by tectonic uplifting over millions of years set the stage for the formation of caves like Mitchel. There are several more in the area between Kokoweef and Mitchels including "the cave of the winding stair". Undoubtedly, there are many more that have yet to be discovered and those that are known tend to have entrances that are very small hidden away on the steep and treacherous slopes of the Providence range.

The cave known as Mitchell's cavern held spiritual significance to the Native Americans who used it as a gathering place. They undoubtedly took shelter from the blazing summer heat while in the area harvesting manna from the heavens, the pinyon nuts. Many plants that were essential for food and medicine grew up in the shadow lofty crags that tower above. On our hike up to the spring above the visitor's center, I found an abundance of minors lettuce and wild scallions in the shady places and we picked some and ate it while resting after reaching the spring.

I found this mountain to be very rejuvenating and it felt good to spend the day there. We took a nice rest after the tour before finally saying goodbye to the mountain. As we descended down the road to the desert floor below, we were awestruck by an amazing view to the east over to the walls of the distant Old Woman Mountains. We were out of time on the trip but something within told me the journeys in this area are to be continued. The allure of the desert and the distant mountains continues to call.

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Re: Providence Mountains

Post by Tommy » Fri May 29, 2009 4:35 pm

Plays In The Dirt wrote:
SteveS wrote:Mitchell
The areas around the Cavern’s and Kokoweef are worth investigating. But now with about 80% (and growing) of everything showing up in picture form on Google Maps/Earth, the surprise factor is gone, and the traffic is growing.
This sentence is worth noting.

I'm very much in to Outdoor Photography and Photographing remote Petroglyph Sites - Old Historical Buildings - Cabins - Ranch Houses - Ghost Towns - etc. I also do a lot of research on the history of these locations. I very seldom go to known sites as many of them have been destroyed by uncaring/ignorant people. What's sad is that some people have taken it upon themselves to create web sites showing the exact locations of these sites which attracts more and more people. Some of them have good intentions and only wish to see remnants of our past. Others, however, come there and destroy and trash the areas which is unacceptable. So if you know of, or have special places that no one else knows about, keep them to yourself. While the person you tell many have good intentions, you never know who that person may share that information with. I know of many Petroglyph locations that no one else knows about and I intend to keep it that way.
I know what you mean. Here's a pic of my favorite spot in or near the Mojave Preserve (I'm not sure if it's in the boundary or not)
Image

It's a natural well surrounded by petroglyph's. The few people I've shown this to are people I trust. It's also not real easy to get to...

SteveS
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Re: Providence Mountains

Post by SteveS » Wed Jul 29, 2009 7:16 am

I was out in the Mojave the weekend before last. The guy with me wrote up a small story, and posted a few pics. The last few are in the Providence Mtns.

Here is the link: http://www.4wdtrips.net/forum/showthread.php?t=5613

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Iggy
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Re: Providence Mountains

Post by Iggy » Wed Jul 29, 2009 1:46 pm

Enjoyed the story Steve. Thanks for sharing.

Sandman
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Re: Providence Mountains

Post by Sandman » Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:25 pm

Thanks for the trip report.

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Re: Providence Mountains

Post by Desert Cruiser » Thu Jul 30, 2009 9:15 pm

Steve: Thanks for the link to the other photos. I really liked the one of the slot canyon with all the holes in the walls! Also what's the story on the pinions with the rings in them on the canyon wall? Maybe you could tell us?

Don....

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