Day 132 – Joshua Tree Journey, April 8, 2011
Well, I’m beginning my blog with the sad news that I have no pictures to share today…BIG FROWN! My SD card is jammed in my camera and will not come out. BIG BIG FROWN! While I can see all the pictures on the camera, I can’t transfer them from the camera via USB connection either. FROWN FROWN FROWN! Ok, I suspect you get the picture. My mother and friend Nicole are coming to my rescue by my birthday, so my good camera shall be back in operation by then.
Today I decided to explore the North and Northwest part of the park which required exiting the park and reentering it at the locations that I wanted to hike. I began my day at Forty-nine Palms Oasis. The three mile hike, ascends 350 feet and then descends the same amount to the Oasis. I’m not sure there were Forty-nine Palms there, but it was quite a sight. After walking across the mountain ridge and past barrel cacti with their red thorns all of the sudden I was greeted with a clump of palm trees. On the way, I ran into the folks that I met at Ryan Mountain. Yesterday they were behind me, this time they were ahead of me and returning from the oasis. I asked, “How was it” and basically they all said, “It was unique.” I think unique is about the only way to describe a patch of palm trees sprouting up from a valley surrounded by desert mountains peppered with cacti. I’m not sure I would have believed it was there without seeing it for myself. While I didn’t spot any bighorn sheep, butterflies, birds, and lizards were out in force. I was thankful that no snakes were following the lizards that seemed to dart across my path every few hundred yards.
After spending a few hours in the Forty-nine Palms Oasis area, VANilla carted Petey and me over to Black Rock Canyon, another campground in the park. I wanted to take the 1.3 mile High View Loop Trail. For anyone who may be considering visiting Joshua Tree, I don’t believe this area of the park is worth visiting. It is a bit out of the way, and the views were just as good, if not better at Ryan Mountain. Furthermore, the wind was ferocious! The best part of my hike at Indian Cove was meeting Grady and Kristen. They are both from Brooklyn. Grady is a set designer for Broadway Theatre. He is currently working on a project for Disney that is hopefully Broadway bound. When designing a set, first he drafts it and then he models it which provoked me to ask his background. He has a masters in sculpture! Kristen is currently an aerialist in Le Cirque Love in Vegas!!! I proceeded to ask her a thousand questions. Her background was in dance and living in New York there a free aerialist class being offered, so she took it and got hooked. She went to Canada to train. They do ten shows a week and their trainers/physical therapists used to work in the NFL. Four of the girls in the show used to be Olympic gymnasts! I’m going to have to go to the show the night I’m in Las Vegas. Hopefully it’s not too hard to get tickets.
Petey, VANilla and I backtracked to Indian Cove, but not before stopping in the Town of Joshua Tree to take the best $4, 7.5 minute shower in three days! Thankfully Coyote Corner sells showers…I was in bad need of one! Indian Cove is yet another campground in the park and the trail was another trail I could have skipped because it offered similar sites as Hidden Valley and Jumbo Rocks. Don’t get me wrong, they were all nice walks, but I could have stayed closer to my campground versus driving so much. At least I can say I have seen almost every marked trail in Joshua Tree National Park!
Our final stop before returning to the campground was at the Visitors Center situated next to the Oasis of Mara. Surface water no longer flows here either (it stopped in 1947), so the National Parks Service has to pipe in water to help the oasis plants and animals survive. The half mile loop trail around the oasis was the only trail Petey could join me on. We took a nice, slow stroll so he could check out all the smells. I’m headed to Death Valley in the morning. I’m not sure what is in store for me there, except warmer temperatures. ETB