Mike's Garage

Galway Dry Lake

I headed out to Galway Dry Lake in the Johnson Valley area on Saturday with Roy and his friend Tom.  The playa is in the middle of a BLM Open Access Area, meaning you can drive pretty much everywhere, so the surface is covered in vehicle tracks.  This has some pros and cons - the tracks can be a little distracting versus hunting a pristine surface, but in some areas vehicles have been out when the surface was still muddy and appeared to have helped rocks migrate up to the surface.  It is also very convenient for choosing hunting spots since you are free to drive directly to any portion of the lake bed.  Well, almost any portion; the very eastern edge is part of the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, better known as Twentynine Palms.  They were doing bombing runs in the valleys to the north and east of us all day, some of the explosions were pretty impressive and I could feel pressure pulses in my ears from a few of them.


Roy in white and Tom in red, looking for meteorites.  We found large pieces of iron shrapnel all over the place, evidence of the military activity in the area.  We're lucky we didn't get any flat tires.


The Lava Bed Mountains are northeast of Galway and it's obvious how they got their name; the lava beds are very apparent.  At one point during the day after an especially loud explosion we could see a smoke plume hundreds of feet tall coming from the backside of this ridge.


Later in the morning we moved to a spot a bid further east.  There were less vehicle tracks here, but still plenty of dark rocks to keep you on your toes all day.


After a break for lunch we followed the playa all the way east until we got to the base boundary.


While Roy and Tom hunted the playa around where we parked I headed north to the bottom of the hills.


I came across another sign, but this one had been long neglected.  While there was no fence to stop you from entering, the constant explosions were more than enough to keep anyone with a little bit of common sense out.


An alien landscape.


I saw an area that I thought might be some desert pavement, but it turned out to be an exposed hump of granite that was weathering away.


We left the eastern edge of the lake bed and headed over the the very west edge to finish off the day.  We hunted along the alluvial bar and the bank of the lake bed, then turned back to the trucks hunting the open playa along the way.  We left without any meteorites, but it was a great day spent in the field.  There area still so many spots out there to visit it was nice to get one more checked off the list.