Trek Date: May 28, 2016
When I say "Candy Bar," do you think about yummy sweet treats or giant quartz monzonite rocks with crazy names? What if I added, "Snickers, or Mounds, or Big Hunk?" I guess it would depend on whether or not you're a rock climber, a confectionery connoisseur or had recently view Murbachi's 3D imagery of a group of climbing rocks in Joshua Tree National Park known collectively as "The Candy Bar."
JTree is one of the best climbing areas in the United States, with over 8,000 named routes on various cliffs, domes, outcrops and formations spread through the park's amazing 790,000+ acres. But climbing is just one of many enjoyable aspects of JTree. Wandering is another, and one of my favorites. Combine wandering with trying to identify some of the huge rock piles in a specific area and you've created an extremely enjoyable trek. And investing in one of the better rock climbing books will help put names to the faces you find in the rocks.
This post is all about a short hike in an area known as "The Candy Bar." It's located just a bit east of Echo Rock and can easily be reached from said rock's parking area, or one of the turnouts directly south of Snickers. You could even get there from Barker Dam, but that's a bit of a longer trek. The approach for this trip was the aforementioned pullout directly south of Snickers. Come on along and I'll show you what I found.
Snickers, with all its secrets.
A closer view of the south face of Snickers. The deep cleft can be climbed via Iron Maiden, while the smooth face with several cracks just to the right of the cleft can be conquered via Funny Money, Rock Shark or Henny Penny to name a few. I guess if I were ever to attempt to climb Snickers, it would be apropos for me to use the route known as "Fooling Myself."
At the southwestern tip of the Snickers jumble, is a rock known as the "Little Rock Candy Mountain." It has a number of climbing routes on almost all sides. This image is approaching from the east. I can almost see the Flake Hicky, Creme Egg, McStumpy Sandwich and Three Musketeers routes as I approach. Does anyone else see a defiant Joshua Tree Man shaking his fist at the Little Rock Candy Mountain?
The west face of Little Rock Candy Mountain. It almost looks like a droid from Star Wars. To get to the top from this side, some of the sweetest approaches are Sugar Daddy, Nestle Crunch and Jolly Rancher Firestix.
Peter Paul Almond Joy's got nuts. Peter Paul Mounds don't. Sorry, just had to throw that in there. This seemingly layered formation is part of the southern face of Mounds. I guess it does kind of look like mounds of rock.
Following the face of Mounds due east, the narrow canyon suddenly opens up into a fairly large area, providing a great view of the eastern end of Little Hunk. And by the way, Little Hunk does not refer to that boulder sitting on top. That's known as The Chair. This view shows the back of the chair, from another angle all will be revealed.
Continuing east to the end of the Little Hunk formation, this vantage point begins to show why the chair is called The Chair. That large pile of boulders to the right of The Chair is part of the eastern end of Big Hunk. Some prickly pear cactus add a bit of pizzazz.
A little closer look at Big Hunk on the right and Little Hunk on the left.
Heading out of the area I'm going to call the Candy Store (since there are so many formations named after candy bars, it only seems fair), through a bit of a scrambly canyon at the east end of Snickers, I caught this glimpse of The Chair framed between a couple big boulders and had thoughts about discovering how lengthy of a sentence I could write about the view when I got back home and sat down in front of the computer, with a cold soda and some cookies to much on. Notice the two metal fence posts down in the bottom right corner? They're part of a puzzle, at least to me they are.
Bits and pieces of metal fence posts, some sunk into rock and others into cans of cement, and jumbles of wire fencing are all that remain of a once sturdy fence. Finding things like this is one of my favorite things (favorite #7) to happen while hiking in JTree. Who built it, when, why? Was it put up to keep cattle or people out of this formation of rocks? If so, why? I love a mystery. This abandoned stretch of fence is located somewhat near the southeast end of Snickers. I'll probably never know why it was built, but that's ok.
From here, it was just a short walk back to T-Red and the next adventure. Let's go see what we can find.
If any of my photos call out to your inner JTree spirit, feel free to right click, download and save them to your computer. No charge, no worries.