Arch Madness - Joshua Tree National Park

Trek Date: May 27, 2017

MBC: 1

Rattlesnakes: 1

It felt like someone, or something was watching me as I wandered about the rocks and desert, near mid-day with temps in the high 80s. I thought I heard a whisper on the breeze, "madness, madness." But there was no wind.

I was hunting arches, in a seldom-visited area of Joshua Tree National Park.  During the three hours I was there, not another hiker came into view. One rattlesnake, however, announced its presence vociferously. 

"Scorpius Arch." Legend has it, the etymology of the name is thus: a night sky photographer was at the location and captured some magnificent shots of the arch, with the Milky Way above and the constellation of Scorpio in the sky all night long. A real life scorpion was also hanging out on one of the little rock outcroppings during the photo shoot. Thus, "Scorpius Arch" was named.  

"Black Diamond" is located a short distance from Scorpius Arch. This is one of the many rocks I've taken it upon myself to name. It reminded me of the famous buffalo that's on the back of the Buffalo Nickel. The model for that coin was named "Black Diamond."

It's kind of funny, but the longer you hike in the desert, especially when it's hot, the more likely it is to start seeing things in the rocks. I wonder if this happens to anyone else....

The rocks in this area of the park have many more sculptured nooks, crannies and caves than I've seen in any other region of JT.  The upper floor of this boulder has a huge concavity hollowed out of it. I know of at least one photographer who would have climbed up there in a flash to check it out. But that wasn't me.


After a little while, I began to see arches everywhere.

It's really other-worldly, who knows what kind of creatures could be living in those hideaways.

It's the land of nooks and crannies.

And arches.

Lizard Eye Arch

The Rockpecker.

There was just too much to explore on one trip. Rocks upon rocks, box canyons, passageways. And nary a trace of man.

There will definitely be many return trips, as I just brushed the surface.

I wonder how many arches will be found. I'm sure more will turn up as fellow explortograhpers Robert Miramontes and Mark Robben have a knack for turning up great locations and taking great pictures.

Please feel free to download any of my photos that catch your fancy, no red tape.

It was a low MBC this trip (mylar baloon count), at just one. Unfortunately, there was a significant amount of trash at the parking pullout on the highway, so next trip bringing some trash bags will be in order. #LeaveNoTrace

ps, if you're a serious photographer and would like location information on the sites I've explored, please send me an email. I'm a firm believer in sharing information and not holding cool sites hostage. That said, there are a few locations which I'll only share after a friendship has been established.