Day 2: Camp Chili Verde to Camp Mole

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The Trip

The objective of the day was to get from our current camp to another camp further south, closer to El Gulfo and deeper in the dunes. This would prove to be our most difficult day. Part of the team got into a "death bowl" and were unable to exit without a very long winching exercise (over 400 feet!). Happily, being the paranoid person I am, I did not go into the bowl and was therefore able to assist in the winching, speeding recovery of the team. Also, we would prove the mettle of the G-wagon.

The photos below are what we saw.

Early morning light provides interesting shadows in the dunes.

For breakfast, Kathleen prepared a chili relleno casserole. She made 2 big 14" dutch oven's worth and we ate it all.

The breakfast line starts on the right!

The Altar is an ocean of sand with really big dunes.

The G-wagon gets into trouble and we set up for a tow. Note the depth of the sand around the wheels.

Rule 1: try not to get stuck. Rule 2: if winched or towed, point the wheels straight. The towing tore the tire off the rim resulting in a full de-bead.

The G-wagon is low to the ground, so to get a jack underneath it requires an earth moving exercise.

Russ shreds the hill with his moto.

Kathleen provided oversight on our towing exercise.

We stopped on a high ledge for lunch and a photo op.

The team (L to R): Richard, Dan Robert, Steve, Mark, Kathleen, Sean (squatting), Kai, Russ, Matt, Juan Carlos, Nancy, Roberto.

Despite the debeading, the G-wagon performed well if you lowered the tire pressure sufficiently.

This is a "death bowl" which is our term for a bowl that you can go into, but cannot return without assistance. It does not look too bad from here, but the far side is steep and loose. In the photo above, Dan is on the right attempting an exit to the west. Kai has already given up and is turning around.

Dan attempts the sand dam on the far end of the bowl, but fails. Repeatedly.

Dan keeps attempting an exit, Kai comes as far up the hill as possible before paying out the winch cable.

My 1300L acted as the pull-point, but to make the full pull, it required cable from both my winch and Kai's to reach.

Kai spools-in and slowly moves up the hill.

Kai is almost at the crest of the hill.

Kai is up; we switched positions and he winches up Mark.

Mark's winch cable is attached to Kai's and they both spool-in.

Kathleen, Richard and Russ watch the action from above.

Note how deep Mark's wheels are in the sand.

Mark is at the crest.

Dan has hooked his winch cable to Kai's and both are spooling-in.

As the night progressed, the winds grew progressively stronger. We decided that some form of protection from the blowing sand would be appropriate, so we rigged a wind block with the tables. This seemed like a good idea, but there were still passages for the wind. These passages created a venturi that sprayed sand over our bed and our faces all night.

Dan has to take another bite on the cable, this time attaching directly to Kai's frame.

Again, the camper came through with no issues and having a hard top protected us from the wind and cold. Very plush.

There was some wind, as there always is in the Altar, but it was not a real factor. There was some blowing sand at the crest of the death bowl, but not enough to force the group to get goggles. In the Altar, it would be called Goggle Earth.

Dinner was prepared by Team Roberto and consisted of homemade chicken mole (pronounced "mo-lay", not mole like the burrowing garden rodent), quesidillas, chicarones, beans, chili con elote (chili and corn in spicy cream sauce), Roberto's special "chilis de amor" (also known as "memory enhancers" as it will cause you to remember what you had for dinner the night before!) and tortillas. It was excellent.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2009, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.