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Desert maze.

Surreal is the word for Banshee Canyon, one of the best spring escapes in eastern California's Mojave National Preserve. First there's the name, said to come from the whistling sound of the wind as it swirls through pockets in the canyon's volcanic rocks. Given the right light, these eroded lava and ash formations can seem like grizzled, bearded faces with expressions straight out of Munch's The Scream. Then there's the canyon's vertical descent through the narrow gap known as Hole-in-the-Wall, a doable if challenging hike using rings and footholds driven into the rock. From a distance, the preserve's creosote flats may seem vast and uninviting. But remember: At a few hidden spots like Banshee Canyon, the view can be measured in inches, not miles. www.nps.gov/moja or 760/252-6100.
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Title Annotation:Mojave National Preserve
Publication:Sunset
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1U9CA
Date:Apr 1, 2007
Words:131
Previous Article:Thinking person's guide.
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