Afton Canyon is a mix of river bottom sand wash, and boulder field wheeling with many different routes you can take. Thankfully at the end of the canyon there is a large train trestle that is perfect for shade, photos, and regrouping.
After the trestle the trail really opens up into a half mile wide sand wash. This wash has tons of different lines, whoops, rocks, boulders, shrubs, and sand dunes. If you lose sight of the group here there is no need to worry, as long as you follow the wash, no matter which line you are on, it will all funnel down to the same point, a giant clump of trees in the middle of the desert. We took the time at this point to wait for the group before making the final push for Soda Dry Lake.
Soda Dry Lake is the next stop on our Mojave Road adventure. This dry lake can be far from dry at any time of the year and the white crust you see is not snow but salt. This mud is a very toxic (to trucks) acidic compound that will swallow and eat your vehicle alive if you wander too far out of the tracks. We were fortunate enough to come through on a warm dry day. After everyone had a chance to get a rock for the Travelers Monument it was time to cross.
Once across we waited for the entire group to finish (space between vehicles is necessary to see in the blinding silt dust) making their way before pushing on to our camping spot and the end of the first day on the trail.
Our camping spot on night one was our yearly top secret location just outside of the Mojave National Preserve. Once there we proceeded to quickly set up camp and get down to business cooking up a delicious carne asda dinner (thanks Kevin!) before a night around the camp fire with great friends and good drinks.
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