Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Desert Destination: Ibex Hardpan

Located adjacent to the Ibex Crags is the Ibex Hardpan, also called the Tule Valley Hardpan. This is a dry lakebed (well, most of the time), suitable for events such as golf practice, observing the dark night sky, setting land-speed records, doing wheelies, plane fly-ins, and biking.

I took the above photo biking no-hands and not worrying where I was going. It's really fun to bike on a hardpan. 

We wanted to explore some parts of this hardpan, and a bike is a perfect way to do it without expending too much energy yet going slow enough to enjoy the scenery.

We also found a dirt road going up aways from the hardpan and took it for a bit.

We saw some more neat rock formations. But then it was time to go back to the hardpan.

Because we were in search of something unexpected...

...like water! Someone had used bulldozers to dig shallow pits on the lakebed, where the water gathered and cattle and wildlife could come and drink it. As soon as we found it, Desert Boy wanted to play in it. So we took off his shoes and pants and let him go at it.

It was slimy, with a high clay content. But that didn't stop him.

He wandered in and out of the puddles, miraculously not falling down. I say miraculous because we didn't have any extra diapers with us.

But then the cracked surface of the hardpan called to Desert Boy. The texture is fascinating, and it seems to go on almost endlessly.

He ran away from us before we had a chance to take off his helmet. We let him run as far as he wanted (after all, we had bikes and could catch up even if he decided to run forever).

Sometimes it almost looked like he was walking on air.

We also decided that the reason that aliens all seem to look like squat little beings with big green heads is that the first artist saw little toddlers running around with their green bike helmets on and didn't know what to make of them.

If you want to see what a little bobble head flapping his arms looks like, take a look at the video below. There's no soundtrack to it, so turn up your favorite music--or listen to how quiet it is out on the desert.


Sliv said...

You may have something there. Sure looks like the cutest alien look alike I've ever seen. Lots of playas to romp on in area 51, Roswell, NM and the other remote desert locations famous for sightings.

The DIYer said...

That video was hilarious! What do you get if you cross a little green alien and a penguin? Desert Boy!

I could almost make out the wind-up key sticking out of his back.

The Incredible Woody said...

I love the walking on air photo. That visual effect is awesome!!

Anonymous said...

I wish my mom would have let me run around half naked in the desert!

jendoop said...

This is something my kids have really missed out on. Being aliens is fun and all but I mean being able to run free. Seriously- living in the city there is always something dangerous keeping children from freedom. I lived on my grandparent's ranch for a year as a child and still think that is the best place to be a kid. Bizarre farming accidents aside.

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