Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Hike, catching up, and beautiful sunset....

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

An excellent night for sleeping and I took advantage of it. Falling asleep right around 10 pm I didn’t hear anything, not a sound until 5:30 am. A wonderful warm night the temperature was 59F/15C when I went outside just about 6:15 am. 

This greeted me when I stepped outside first thing this morning...

I walked about as I snapped the sunrise pictures, and it was a beauty although I didn’t really catch the pop as the sun was behind some pretty thick cloud cover which seemed to just blow in about 10 minutes before actual sunrise time. 

Shortly after this the dark clouds obscured the sunrise...

I talked with my friend Linda for about 10 minutes this morning, just kind of touching base and catching up quickly. I also called my Aunt Shirley, left a message. Called my buddy Ron but didn’t speak long, they were in the process of hooking up and moving from the overflow area in Magic River Campground to a hook up site. 

We followed this trail today....

Back inside Riley and I made a few plans before heading out for a hike. It wasn’t our best hike and we had a great deal of difficulty figuring out the trail as Skull Rock Trail isn’t really marked well. There is a loop and a trail and one of them joins with another which joins with another but it was confusing. I’m getting ahead of myself. 

See the second faint line to the left as well?

We climbed in the Dogsled and headed into the park, dumped our trash in the bins and headed on through. We noticed a number of different things today as the Ocotillo is now leafing out and looking very dashing in their fabulous new green attire and adding some fascinating reds to the tops of their tall elegant spikes as their blooms are popping open and splashing colour across the desert landscapes. The Cholla (pronounced Choya) Cactus are showing more signs of their colourful yellow blooms also starting to burst forth. The Red Top Buckwheat is scattered around the desert in various places adding bursts of deep crimson while creosote bushes are sporting some very pretty yellow flowers. The Desert Junipers in their ever soft shades of green are hanging with some lush bluish berries too. We’ve also noticed the waxy  green sheen on the Mojave Desert Oaks as they glisten in the sunshine. These were a few of the changes we’ve noticed since our first trip to the other side of Joshua Tree National Park. 

Riley was seated so I couldn't knock her over in my hurry to get set for the picture...

We journeyed today to Skull Rock, and as stated above had a bit of confusion following the trail. It wasn’t well signed in my opinion. We found the sand washes to be inviting and pleasant although the rolling sands make it tougher to walk, but Riley’s new walking stick was an excellent aid for her. We climbed over, around, and even squeezed between rocks, and boulders on the trail. What appears to be smooth rock in some places is very pebbly and not smooth at all. The rock formations are huge, some are split, standing up right, others are jumbled into a heap and scattered. Still others are a combination of the two. The colours range from yellows to oranges to browns. One thing we noticed was a line in some of the formations, in places it looked like a scar but in other places it appeared as if someone had placed a trail of rocks in the top of the bigger formations. One of the small information placards along the way explained that it is EMBEDDED into the rock formations. It is a most interesting sight to see. As you see in the pictures it’s difficult to describe but fascinating to look at. Among the many plants we noticed were of course the usual Creosote, prickly pear, pencil cactus, Tamrisk (like a cedar tree), juniper, there were also things like Mojave Desert Oak, Goatnut trees, various other cacti as well. They appeared in some cases to be literally growing out of the rocks, their roots causing splits, or showing along the top of the rocks, whiles the roots of others were no where to be seen. Interesting way for them to grow.

Look, no roots showing in this pebbly rock surface, from far away it looks smooth....

The many colours of the desert were apparent on today's walk including light yellows, ivory, various shades of browns and greens, along with some purple, blue, reds, whites and of course grays. We noted three little lizards on our travels as well, they are quick and hard to catch in a photo but we were fortunate. They are hard to see as they blend with their surroundings.  

See the little gecko-lizard, he's brown, just above the pale yellow stick...

We did enjoy the hike for the most part, the first Skull Rock Trail was about a mile return which we managed easily but into the second Skull Rock Trail Riley wasn’t feeling too great at about a quarter mile in  and so we turned around, taking a short cut back to the Dogsled and returned home. I think we’ve been doing too much the last few days and we both will be taking the day off tomorrow, except for a few packing up items. 

I wanted to climb up there and have Riley take a picture of me but she wasn't feeling up to it. 

Back home I made myself a salad and Riley prepared spaghetti with a nice sausage meat sauce, with some cheesy garlic bread. It was very good of course and we now have left overs for another day. After that I had a nap, I was tuckered out. Riley rested but didn’t sleep and was feeling better by 4 pm. 

Those are naturally embedded in the rock...

We both read for a bit, then I grabbed the camera and headed outside to catch the sunset. I chatted with Lyle and then Shirley for a bit (Aunt-Uncle) before also catching up with my buddy Ron and his wife Sharon. The sunset was spectacular tonight and I enjoyed it immensely. This may be the most beautiful sunset since we’ve been out here in the southwest. The sky started off in a clouded white/bluish colour then suddenly the reds appeared. Fire in the western sky as the billowy clouds showed off their dazzling deep red. Truly amazing to see.

The Ocotillo leaves are so green and the bloom is so plumy red....

Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed your visit. Please feel free to leave a comment, I enjoy reading them. I hope you’ve had yourself a wonderful day!

The full looking moon shining over Joshua Tree National Park tonight...

Until next time…. take care, be safe,

Fire in the sky.....

Good night from Joshua Tree National park. 



  1. Sound like another wonderful day enjoying the are and a nice hike. A very nice sunset to wind up you day !

    1. It was another wonderful day in the desert as you often say George.
      The sunset was totally awesome! Safe travels today.

      Take care, be safe,

  2. That Skull Rock looks so soft and I love the imbedded rocks and scars too.
    You were lucky to see an ocotillo both green and still in flower! Deb D. would love that!
    Glad you had a nice hike, however short they end up being. A day's rest is in order!

    1. Skull Rock is made of millions of small pebbles and is gravelly to the touch. I love the colour though. When I first noticed the embedded rocks I thought someone had lined some up to indicate a path but then I looked around and they were actually IN the rock, it was a light bulb moment.

      Yes I thought of Deb D when I was taking the pictures. The change in the plant was amazing to see from that uninspiring brown to the alive green. The red plumy blooms are just icing.
      A hike is a hike and since we didn't require assistance, fall down and break something, get lost or any other things that could ruin a day, we consider it a success. It's not the distance we travel but that we travelled.
      Today is rest day and pack up day, although there isn't much left to pack up, since everything was pretty much put away due to the high winds anyway.

      Safe travels for you folks today.

      Take care, be safe,

  3. Glad to see the desert starting to bloom. That gecko was very well camoflaged. Had to look really hard to see it.

    I have been to Skull Rock several times, but never walked the trails. I know how Kiley feels about her walking stick. If I didn't have mine the other day I would have fallen a hundred times.

    Looks like you two are getting your money's worth in Joshua Tree.

    1. The desert is indeed giving up it's richness to us. We're soaking it up and enjoying every minute. The little gecko was very cute and if he hadn't moved first I wouldn't have seen him.

      We have walking sticks, but the cheap ones not the really expensive ones like Aunt Janet and Uncle Dennis bought for her. They're pretty fancy.

      We've enjoyed the park a great deal.

      Take care, be safe,

  4. The pictures are gorgeous! Beautiful sunset so pretty! The picture of you and Riley is adorable! Beautiful sunrise pics too! Joshua Tree is such a special park!

    1. Thank you very much for the kind words. I do appreciate them very much. Riley and I have this thing about selfies and in my hurry to get into the picture before the timer goes off I almost once knocked her off the rock she was leaning on. It brought about big fits of giggles, so now each time we seem to have a fit of the giggles.
      Joshua Tree is indeed a magical place.

      Take care, be safe,