Bela on lava near Amboy Crater. Bela then was 15 years old, hard of hearing, dim of eyesight, slow of gait, but still loved to be out and about!
Bela. We adopted him when he was about one year old. His first owners gave him the name Bela (pronounced "Bay-luh") because he reminded them of the vampire character played by Bela Lugosi. especially in his ability as an escape artist. Huh, doesn't look that scary to me… and he's certainly not trying to turn into a bat and escape!
With tongue sticking out, Bela truly does not look scary! My daughter saw this photo and said "Awww, cute!"
Bela's breed is Keeshond. He weighs about 40 pounds.
The wide expanse of the Mojave desert on a chill autumn afternoon.
His paws have always been white, but his white muzzle was obtained with age.
Keeshonden (that's the plural of "Keeshond", BTW) are a very good breed for a companion dog: even-tempered, mid-sized, bright, friendly, and quite trainable. "Bela, Stay! Good Boy!"
Pronouncing "Keeshond": say "Kays-hohnd" (it's Dutch.) For us in the Colonies, it's OK to say "Keese Hound." :-)
Amboy Crater plaque. A trail leads to the rim.
The trail to the crater is beyond Bela's range, but he certainly is still capable of doing the Dog Thing to roadside plaques!
Shaded tables at the BLM site near Amboy Crater. Dinner in preparation.
Bela: "OK, I chased my frisbee in the parking lot. Now it's time for dinner!"
Amboy Crater, the next AM. Bela and I camped in the Element overnight. I THINK it's OK to do that there; I searched for signs prohibiting overnight stays, and found none.
Kelso Dunes area in Mojave National Preserve.
A beautiful day to find a hollow in the dunes and gaze upon the beauty.
"We're changing the climate! Ask us how!" Condensation trails from high-altitude jet aircraft have a measurable influence on global climate.
My retreat in the dunes. I ate my lunch, read a Pema Chodron book, and meditated. What little breeze there was was deflected by the nearby creosote bush.
Bela, walking out the kinks. He enjoyed a long nap on the soft sand.
The highest Kelso dunes, in distance, are up to 700 feet high. They are said to make a singing or barking sound under certain conditions: see http://www.schweich.com/sbdA.html
We heard no barking. If we had, Bela might have barked back!
Kelso depot. This is now the visitor center for Mojave National Preserve.
There are numerous exhibits upstairs and downstairs in the depot. Most of them are devoted to a surprisingly short period of time, the brief era of local mining and steam railroads.
Kelso Depot: an anachronism, if a scenic one.
The depot still has a functioning eatery, called "The Beanery." Mmmm, beans…
This is the functional part of the Kelso jail: steel straps riveted and welded together. Two cells. When in active use, it apparently had a sunshade roof overhead. "Sleep it off, boys!"
Lenticular clouds: weather change on the way.
Bela is always ready for a little late-afternoon frisbee!
The evening's camp at Sunrise Rock, on the slopes of Cima Dome.
This area is said to have the largest and most concentrated expanse of Joshua Trees anywhere.
Bela is no longer that good at catching his frisbee, but he still knows how to pick it up.