Beyond Surprise Tank - Joshua Tree National Park

Trek Date: January 25, 2019

“With the recent rain storms, why not go check out Surprise Tank,” I thought, “and maybe some of those rock formations beyond the tank which you missed on your last trip.” Everyone talks to themselves, right? So to continue my quest to photograph every rock in Joshua Tree National Park, I set out to see what I could find.

A rather unassuming, common place site in JTree, right? Probably just a bunch of rocks up there, keep moving, nothing to see here.

There was a nice amount of water at Surprise Tank, which is always nice to see. Wouldn’t it be great to know the history of who originally built the dam, how long it’s been there? Did someone own the property at one time? Maybe a homesteader in the 1930s with a dream to live away from everyone? Or was it open range and some enterprising rancher thought, “this run-off canyon would be a great place to build a dam.” My feelings lean towards cattle rancher.

After hiking around the water a bit, it was time to head up and beyond the tank to see what was out there.

It’s funny how every time I see a hill I want to climb, and I get to the top, there’s another slightly taller hill behind. This one had a neat looking rock that seemed to warrant closer inspection.

One of the benefits of climbing these hills, some really nice vistas open up all around. This is looking back toward Surprise Tank.

The circle of life.

I plan on climbing Malapai Hill one of these days.

There can be only one.

Crown Prince Lookout off in the distance.

Heading back down toward the tank, there were quite a few interesting rocks to name along the way. I’d like you to meet, The Onion.

A baby dinosaur.

And back at Surprise Tank.

A mini-tank, au natural.

Among the many lessons I’ve learned as I creep towards middle-age (ha ha ha, I hear Murbachi snickering), is never pass up an opportunity for an afternoon nap.

When I made it back to Tac3, I met a couple who were preparing to head out to Surprise Tank for their first time. I asked them how they heard about it, and they mentioned Murbachi’s site, and this other site known as That was kinda cool. I didn’t get their names, but maybe one day they’ll read this post and leave a comment.

Anytime there’s a bunch of rain out here, it’s a great time to make the trip to Surprise Tank. It’s a beautiful site with lots of great scenery to explore. And a lot less crowded than Barker Dam. Check it out sometime.

Feel free to download any of my photos that might strike your fancy.