Sometimes a discovery like this makes me wonder, "What else have I missed?"
I was hiking in the Wonderland of Rocks recently (a favorite pastime of mine), searching for a particular rock. Okay, you're probably thinking, "a particular rock? There's eighteen hundred and forty-nine tragazillion rocks in the Wonderland, how is he going to find one particular one?" Well, I had a plan. And some good directions. And a map. Coordinates. And a GPS. And snacks. So I was pretty sure I would find what I was looking for.
But before I show you the "rock de résistance," here are a few things I saw along the way.
My favorite entrance into the Wonderland is via the wash near the Wonderland Ranch. And whenever I'm that close to this old truck, I just have to take the couple hundred extra steps to make sure it's still in running condition.
If you've delved into many of the posts on Cali49.com, you know by now that almost every rock in J Tree has a name. And this guy is no different. But what's interesting is that this particular rock has two names, depending on which side you're viewing. Above we have, The Creature.
But from around the other side, we have The Walrus. Or vice versa :-)
And if you thought the Astrodome was in Houston, well, the Astrodomes are in the Wonderland. And if you want to try to climb them, I would recommend one of these classic routes to the top: Let Your Freak Flag Fly, Solid Gold, Gunslinger or Chute to Kill.
Fulfilling the "one picture of a dead tree" per post requirement, part A. It's one of the rules..
Part B of the same rule which states, "extra points if a dead tree picture is rendered in black and white." I thought I'd include both.
Sometimes as I'm hiking along, I wonder if I'm missing something up around that other bend that leads off in the wrong direction, or if there's something under that overhang of rock, or should I have checked the back of that huge boulder I just walked past. Which is how a two-mile-long roundtrip hike can turn into an all day affair. But sometimes it pays off. Which is why I recommend taking your time and checking those nooks and crannies, those apparent box canyons, those rocky overhangs. Take a look "around back."
Here's a great example. This huge boulder sits a little way off the trail I was following. From the trailside, it appears no different than the last 1,849 boulders I just hiked past. But around back, the rock looks like someone scooped a giant chunk out of it, leaving a big concavity that's protected from the sun and rain. And it's literally filled with pictographs and petroglyphs.
It appears that the pictographs and petroglyphs were made at different times, as many of the petroglyphs were etched over the pictographs.
This image gives a good look at the back of "Around Back." The majority of images are in the large upper concave portion of the boulder, but there are also a good number under that ridge towards the bottom of the picture. This is an amazing site and contains the most rock art that I've yet to see in J Tree. The red pigment is still quite vibrant, evidence of the protection from sun and weather this sheltered surface enjoys.
Another great thing about this site is that many of the images were of recognizable objects. There were clearly designs that represented people and wildlife.
After enjoying the rock art for a good while, it came time to head back. Making sure I had all my gear, I commenced hiking. This flower is from a Mojave Mound Cactus (thanks for helping with the ID, JB).
And a lot of people think the desert is a place of dead things.
Could be a prickly situation.
Almost back to the parking area, the return trip took a little longer than I had planned, what with all the looking "around back."
If you like any of the pictures in this post, feel free to right click and download them to your computer. Use them however you like, they are free for the taking. Afterall, no one charged me to take the pictures. Well, other than the cost of my annual pass, but that's a small price to pay to be able to enjoy the park all year long.