Saturday, January 27, 2018

An outing with friends, wind, and a critter...

Our Location: Joshua Tree National Park BLM, West entrance, California

I slept well last night even though the wind was still pretty strong, and I even slept through sunrise. I can tell you it didn’t bother me too much as I’m tired of listening  to the wind howl and I could hear it so I knew it would be cold outside anyway. It was after 7 when I got up, Miss Riley was already heating the water for our drinks. It’s very rare that Riley’s up before I am. 

Walking the slot canyon again, Sonya, Riley and Joshua..

We enjoyed our drinks, chatting, reading and just kind of getting ready to start the day. It doesn’t take us long to get up and moving when we decide to do it. So heading toward 9 am we started collecting ourselves and getting ready to head out with Sonya, Joshua and Jack (the dog) for a repeat of the slot canyon we found. The wind was blowing hard enough to make it difficult to keep the door in hand while exiting the Igloo and one had to be most careful with the Dogsled doors as they are pretty heavy and could easily hurt you if they were caught by the wind.

I love the high walls here.... 

 We were a bit early and I had a few things to check anyway. We have a rodent in the cubbie and I set two traps, he or she cleaned them both without getting caught. One is an old type with the bar you put in the slot, and one is a new type that allows the bar to snap down quickly when they move the little door to the food tray. I also have some pellets out as well. I reset the traps and if that doesn’t work tomorrow I’ll put out a glue trap and try that. I’m sure it’s due to the storage of our garbage in there over night a few nights ago. I didn’t want to keep it inside and should have put in the box of the truck but well, it doesn’t matter now. 

The canyon is a bit wider here....

We packed our hiking bag and Riley put her brand new very nice walking sticks together and tried them out. Thanks again Aunt Janet and Uncle Dennis. They work great and Riley loves them. I can see many more hikes in her future now that she has such fancy sticks.

Heading back to the Dogsled...

Pretty soon Sonya, Joshua, and Jack appeared, since we hadn’t met Joshua before we took care of that little chore, then we climbed into the Dogsled and headed out to Box Canyon Road to our slot canyon trail. They hadn’t been through Box Canyon Road yet so we opted to take a drive out and have a peek at the Salton Sea. A very nice drive indeed. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of that drive. Turning around we headed back to our walking area. We found it again without too much difficulty and we were the only one there again.  We took turns leading and bringing up the rear. It was a nice leisurely walk but we were very aware of the glass shards every where and Jack’s unprotected feet. He however was very adept at picking his way around them. Although he did from time to time come up with a sticker of some kind in his paw. He would pull it out pretty quickly and be happy to continue onward. Jack is pushing 9 years old but did very well on this little excursion.

L to R: Deb, Riley, Joshua, Sonya.

It was the perfect temperature for walking in the canyon, and we had very little wind once inside. We chattered and walked getting to know each other a bit better and the talk flowed easily. A couple of rests along the way allowed us all the opportunity to take in the amazing sights.  The slot canyon was just as fun for us this time as it was the last time. Near the end of the skinny slot there is a tight spot that caught Sonya a bit off guard, stopped everything for a minute or two however once through the narrow tunnel she was fine. Jack reacted when Sonya reacted but it all worked out fine. We walked a little further than Riley & I walked the other day but not much. 

See the dust or haze in the air?

The walls of the slot canyon fascinate me as lower down they are as smooth and hard as can be,  but further up are a bit crumbly to the touch. They tower majestically over head and almost demand attention but yet silently applaud us for passing by without disturbing them. They wind and twist further into the area and while I would love follow the path to it’s end, I doubt I will do so. The slot canyon area is not very long, it widens out a bit but as far as we journeyed it didn’t widen out like the other canyon path. It was still single file walking with sloped sides and gravel bottom, no large boulders that I could see at least. No evidence of people other than their footsteps in the sandy bottom. The wider area allowed more sun and heat, with just the hint of a breeze but not the wild winds of the open areas.

I love the way the sun is shining through the cactus spines...

We eventually turned around and headed back toward the Dogsled once again taking our time and enjoying the adventure. This time passing through the skinny spot was no issue, Joshua lead the way out with Riley a close second bringing Jack along with her, Sonya next and yours truly bringing up the rear. We had to ensure that Joshua didn’t get too far ahead of us so that when we came out of the slot canyon he didn’t turn the wrong way. Joshua travels with his mother, for much the same kind of reasons that Riley travels with me. 

Desert weeds in the setting sun's rays...

We reached the Dogsled with no issues, resting a bit and posing for a group photo. Sonya was interested in the holes/footsteps in the huge rocks she had noticed upon our arrival and I offered to take her just around the corner to the beginning of the dead end canyon we had tried first when we walked here before. Sonya, Joshua and I headed the few yards around the corner only to be brought up short by a car parked sideways at the mouth of the canyon. In the center of the opening a tent, a chair and some people effectively cut off the entrance. I explained that we just wanted to look around the corner at the big rock and the fella waved us on saying it was fine. Joshua turned back and returned to the Dogsled. This gent in the canyon mouth had a long gun across his lap. Two little girls with their heads sticking out of the tent giggled and he spoke to someone around behind the rock. At first I was hesitant but he assured us it was fine. We stepped around the corner, disturbing a young boy and his mother as nature called them. We quickly took our pictures and headed out, again apologizing for interrupting and thanking them for letting us have a look. The fellow was very gracious in saying it had been no issue, not a problem, etc. He was very non threatening and neither Sonya nor I at any time felt unsafe. Once back at the Dogsled I heard the gun going off, and I think he was target practicing. 

This well lighted dune buggy was heading down the roadway tonight...

Now that I think about what I actually seen, they weren’t set up for camping.  They weren’t there when we left the Dogsled on the way in. There was no evidence of ‘settling’ or setting up camp such as bbq, toys, tables, lawn chairs and such stuff. As I passed by the tent I remember just the little girls, no bedding or other things, just the empty floor. No coolers, or evidence of anything except a quick place to allow the children to get out of the sun, wind and have a place to play. I’m certain now that he blocked the canyon so no one could get hurt while he was target practicing.

Gamble Quails feeding...

We arrived home within 15 minutes, parting company with Sonya, Joshua and Jack for the day but we will meet up again in the morning for another little outing. We’re looking forward to it! Sonya and son Joshua will be leaving this area shortly heading off to met up with friends again from the Quartzsite area at a destination further south and at a lower elevation.

As you can see the rigs are plentiful here tonight...

Back home it was noon and an early hour for us to eat but we were both hungry. Riley cleaned up the left over stir fry and I made myself a large salad and finished off with a fresh grapefruit. So now the fridge is empty of left overs, yeah. After that we both kind of just fell down on to our beds and the afternoon rushed by while we relaxed with deep breathing exercises. Okay we may have checked out the inside of the eyelids as well but I’m happy to report that no holes were found in any eyelids and the deep breathing exercise was a success. We feel more rested now!!

Allen's orange Jeep no longer has the flu and appears to be roadworthy once again...

It was shortly after 4 pm before we finished all of that checking. I immediately took the camera and headed out for a walk, determined to catch the sunset and get a bit of exercise as well. I managed to put in around a mile in each direction before dark. I snapped pictures here and there along the route and enjoyed my time alone. I didn’t enjoy the wind though but it seems to have died down a bit and hopefully will do so for a while. 

The desert looking southeast.....

Back home I edited pictures, and worked on this post. Riley is off doing whatever she does in her end of the Igloo. It’s pretty quiet, only the click, click of the keys on her computer. Of course now that the wind has died down there is only the tick tock of the clock and the click, click of my computer keys as well. It’s truly quiet for a little while. How wonderful is that?(As I get ready to post this the wind has again picked up, the Igloo is rocking, the wind is whistling once again)

Looks like something has taken a few bites out of this cactus....

So there you have it, nothing exciting but a fun, entertaining day for us. Spending time with some new friends and once again visiting a place that we enjoy. It was a great day for us and we hope tomorrow will be as well.  Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed your time here. Please feel free to leave a comment, I enjoy reading them.
The moon made an appearance this evening...

Until next time… take care, be safe, 

Good night from Joshua Tree National Park BLM.




  1. What a wonderful hike again and glad you enjoy that Box canyon and down by the Salton Sea think we be heading that way in about a week.

    1. Maybe we'll run into you folks down in this area.
      We truly enjoyed the Box Canyon area and will definitely return and I will be hunting a place to park in that area next time. I think it might be less windy there.

      Take care, be safe,

  2. How nice that you got to take the hike again through the slot Canyon with Sonya and Joshua. Interesting about the fellow with the tent and target practice. It might have been a totally different scenario, thank goodness it wasn't!
    Lovely pictures, Deb of the sun through the cactus. The teddy bear cholla is so precious ......... from a distance!

    1. They had a great time as did we and it was very nice for us to do a repeat so next time we will be more familiar with the hike and perhaps can go a bit longer.
      The fellow with the gun could have been a different scenario but honestly he wasn't threatening in any way, neither Sonya nor I had that impression, not immediately nor later and while it is true we could have been wrong, I think the two of us have a pretty good sense of things as we both travel with a different kind of responsibility in regards to Joshua and Riley. We tend very much to trust our instincts and each incident can only be judged at the time. However thanks for the concern.
      It caught my attention as I was walking by and I couldn't resist.

      Take care, be safe,

  3. Great pictures of your hike that slot canyon does look beautiful. Sounds like you and Riley had another wonderful day.
    I especially liked you sunset picture.

    1. We had a great time on our repeat through the canyon with friends.
      Thank you, can you tell I'm enjoying playing with the camera?

      Take care, be safe,

  4. Nice looking slot. Great you had company and got to take them through it.

    I don't understand why someone would shoot a gun in a public area. Not safe at all. Glad that went well.

    May have been gopher turtles eating those cactus leaves. They love them.

    Are you ready for the full moon at the end of the month?

    I like Allen's bus. Neat looking.

    Hope the wind dies down for you two so you can enjoy hiking.

    1. We enjoyed the hike again, and I think would go farther at another time as i would like to know if it narrows again.
      America is the land of guns and so it goes. Thanks for the concern.
      Something has been munching on those poor cacti, every one that I see looks like its been nibbled on for lunch or dinner.
      I'm not expecting any excitement on the full moon but I'll make certain the door is locked.
      Allen and Lori have a very nice motor home. His Jeep however had the flu and was out of working for a few days. It appears that all are healthy and back to normal.
      I dislike the wind very much. It's very strong here, gusty and cool to cold. It's coming right along I-10 and as you know that's a pretty long stretch of open area there. There is no where to get away from it here but I think another time I'll check out Box Canyon Road for a parking place. I think it would be much more protected.

      Take care, be safe,

  5. That gun guy is pretty scary. Happy to hear everything turned out well.
    I really like your pictures of the Cholla and the desert weeds. The back-lighting of them adds a dramatic effect. Nice job!
    Safe travels.

    1. Again, thanks for the concern. If we had felt in anyway unsafe, we wouldn't have continued.
      Thank you, I'm just playing with the camera and trying to figure out what I like and don't like,some times it works, other times, no so much. It's educational and fun.

      Take care, be safe,