Inversion over Pinto Basin (8 photos)

After our sunrise photo session at Jumbo Rocks, Tracy drove towards Pinto Basin – above the road on a ridge is the old Silver Bell Mine, which he wanted to check out (and I was happy to trot along, of course).

As we drove down on Pinto Basin Road though, we saw low clouds hanging over the basin – the first part of the “fog magic” that we witnessed that day, in the first four photos here. Wandering through the foggy desert was awesome of course, but at the same time we had the dreaded photographer’s fear of missing out, since we didn’t get any photos of the inversion from above. :-)

So we went back and drove out of the clouds, back and higher up on Pinto Basin Road, from where we came. After wandering around a little bit we gave up, somewhat disappointed of course, because we couldn’t get an angle that worked (the first photo below is from that attempt). We drove back down and proceeded with the hike to Silver Bell Mine.

Now the mine lies higher up on a ridge at the eastern end of the Hexie Mountains – and just high enough that we hiked out of the fog… and there, we got the almost unobstructed view that we were looking for, into Pinto Basin and the inversion that still lingered on. :-}

We returned the way we came and Tracy took me further down on Pinto Basin Road, to a spot called the Cholla Garden – an absolutely incredible amount of the famously treacherous “jumping” Cholla cactus grows there. The place was fairly busy already*, so we left without doing the little loop hike through the “garden” entirely…

*) two bros from Texas – yes, they really addressed each other with “bro” -left their car idling, with some dumb AOR playing on the car stereo, much to everyone’s great enjoyment. We should’ve just turned the car off and tossed the key into the Cholla garden. Or alternatively, one of us could’ve driven away with their car – just a mile or so, then returning the key to them and shouting “enjoy the hike!” while driving away with our car… ah, if only we were cool dudes, I mean, like, bros… :-P

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