Calico 2021

It had been a while since our last trip and it was time to gear up and head to Calico, CA. I was coming all the way from AZ so we decided to hit our usual meet up spot outside of Joshua Tree. Pin Stripe Alley and The Old Dale Mining District. After spending the night at one of our favorite places to camp and paying homage to Lizzie's Shute we were off to Calico...

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The route from Joshua Tree to Calico takes you down Highway 247. A scenic drive that runs along the back side of Big Bear Mountain. Highway 247 travels adjacent to Johnson Valley OHV,  home the infamous KOH. Once you pass by The Hammers you come along Camp Rock Road. Camp Rock Road is a fun, fast paced dirt road that heads north from the 247 connecting you to Calico. There is a dry lake bed just off of Camp Rock Road that is a blast to play in. Kicking up dust as you haul ass around the lake bed is a highlight for the boys and I. At one point JV looked like Maverick in an F-14 Tomcat mobbing two feet off of the deck! Check out our Instagram @yotasyotasyotas for some awesome clips...

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Calico is an old mining town located just east of Barstow, CA. There are plenty of off highway trails to explore ranging from easy to extremely difficult.  We kept to the moderate trails and scenic routes like Phillips East/West, Karmer Arch, Mule Canyon and Tin Can Alley. There are miles and miles of connecting trails that wind through these hills like a maze. GPS navigation is highly recommended if you are unfamiliar with the area. I use an excellent app called LeadNav on my iPhone. Be sure to check out the Mud Arches and Mud Hills at the entrance to Odessa Canyon.

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One of the most exciting things about  Calico are the mines. These mines are open and ready for the adventurous soul to venture down into the underground. The mines are dangerous and not to be taken lightly. Serious injury and potential death can occur. Take an extra flashlight with you and always go with a buddy. Lance can tell you first hand how quickly things can go wrong in an abandoned mine. A few years back in Joshua Tree he was nearly impaled and sent into a shaft from falling timbers. Always be highly aware of the things you touch or lean on... 

Philips East is fun moderate trail just off of Mule Canyon. There are some fun hill climbs and a few rocky obstacles to traverse. Once you reach the top you are at the Phillips Mine. We explored a bit of the Phillips Mine to get a feel for going underground. There are some entries here to go into with awesome timbers to view and some fun connecting adits. We got our feet wet here for a bit and were ready for more. The real fun is up at the Bismark Mine...

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Bismark Mine does not disappoint.  We found an entry and ventured into the unknown. Quickly the sunlight disappears and we were in complete darkness. We found an adit with  the old rails for the mining cars still in the ground. This adit led us hundreds of meters into the mountain with crosscuts to take and stopes to climb into. We traveled this adit end to end and discovered blockages that needed to be crawled into. Not feeling like getting on our hands and knees this trip we left some mystery for next time...

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This was an awesome trip with the crew. Lance had not been to Calico before this trip and he was not disappointed. We wheeled, we camped, we got our spelunking on and we ate like kings. We always eat like kings on these trips. I swear I eat better camping than I do at home. Next time we visit we are definitely getting back into the mines and getting dirty. There are several other mines to check out as well in Odessa Canyon. Don't forget about the Ghost Town either. They offer some mine tours and plenty of fun old west history. Until next time... 

-Berg

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