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.Read More
Joshua Tree National Park
A drive through Joshua Tree National Park might take a couple hours, viewing the park from the road. An exploration of the park would take a lifetime. Joshua Tree National Park has over 550,000 acres of wilderness filled with a variety of plants and animals that make their home in this land shaped by strong winds, unpredictable torrents of rain, and climatic extremes. Every now and then, man intrudes in this wilderness and leaves his brief, passing mark among the surreal geologic features that cover the landscape. Let’s go see what we can find.
As with many of the mines in J Tree, few details are known about its origin, ownership and production over the years. The scant records so far discovered reveal that on May 27, 1895, a lead ledge that became known as the Eagle Cliff mine was located by Robert Muir. My hat's off to him. Back in the 1890s, it would have taken a true explorer to discover this claim.Read More
I haven't been able to figure out who "Alister" was (perhaps an early-day rock climber/explorer?), but this impressive rock art site in J Tree's Wonderland of Rocks bears his name. I also haven't been able to figure out why it's called a "cave," as it's really more of a ledge up on a cliff with a nice overhang above it. But I've taken creative license with naming places I've discovered in the park, so I'm not going to lose any sleep over it...Read More
How to turn a short hike in J Tree into a day-long event? Hike in the Spring when the wildflowers are blooming. You'll see a spot of color off in the distance and just have to check it out. Try to get a picture of every lizard you see, they are very fast. As are the rabbits. Name the rocks as you hike through the formations. Rest in the shade of a Pinyon pine while eating crackers. Be on the lookout for abandoned cars. Inspect that old pile of mine tailings. Scramble to the top of that rock pile. And that one over there. Try to spot a bighorn sheep.Read More
Long before modern-day campers began coming to J Tree, olden-day campers lived and traveled through this land. They were the Cahuilla, the Chemehuevi and the Serrano Native Americans. Did they enjoy the desert solitude and jumbo rocks as visitors do today? I'd like to think so.Read More