Trona Pinnacles, Searles Valley, CA. Take Highway 178 east from the Kern River Valley. Watch the landscape shift from California golden homestead to pioneer death trap. Look for the power spot. The Trona Pinnacles are a geologic anomaly where calcium-rich groundwater met alkaline lake water over thousands of years. The result is a ghost lake with alien spires. Look hard and you can see where the water line used to be. It’s the only hint of water you’ll get. Pioneers coming from Death Valley saw the Searles Lake on a map and headed there, desperate for water. They were sorely disappointed.
I went out the first time on the advice of a friend. He told me the story of his car breaking down with no cell phone reception in that remote section of San Bernardino County and the closest town, Trona, 12 miles away with no services. He admitted he had been off roading in his Volvo. I kept that story in mind. No way would I leave the road. But the desert sun is bright and there are roads that fade into sand and cactus. When my Honda Civic got stuck, off road, Trona was still the closest town, 12 miles away with no services. There was still no cell phone reception. Had I made this happen by thinking so hard about the one thing I was trying to avoid? Psychology 101. Or did the spot really have some blind and potent draw? The belching boom from the mine works in Trona sounded over the landscape every few minutes. I could see them like a mirage against the mountains. At least I had plenty of water. I hiked out to the road. I vowed to get a 4 wheel drive. Where: Approx. 15 miles East of Ridgecrest, California on Hwy 178
From Los Angeles: About 3.5 hours