Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Hiking a slot canyon trail in Box Canyon Road....


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

   Awake this morning around 4, then 5, then 6 and I finally decided I’d had enough napping and getting out of bed by 6:15 am and out the door. Nothing major in the sunrise department but it was nice. I managed to get in about a 3/4 mile walk before heading back inside. Not many pictures as it was a pretty straight up sun rise, no colour show to speak of. 

Can you see the sun as it popped over the mountains this morning?

Riley still wasn’t up and so I did a few quiet things before starting to make my hot drink. Wasn’t long until I heard this voice that wasn’t the least bit sleepy say, “You don’t have to be quiet Mom, I’m awake.” I’m guessing she’d been foxing for a while hoping I’d have every thing ready for the morning drink. Smart chickie!

I think this was taken through the branches of a Palo Verde tree, but I forget....

We discussed a number of things about today, including that I just didn’t feel like doing a lot of work for lunch. We decided we’d have pancakes. I decided I was going back to Box Canyon and taking a walk. Riley didn’t want to go, so I pointed out that we hadn’t walked yesterday and that I didn’t know what tomorrow would bring, but the choice was hers, and I was going anyway. So I started getting myself ready to head out the door when I heard this voice rattling,” Fine I’m coming.” I never said a thing. 

This was the beginning of the dead end route                                       

We hiked up here to a dead end...

Within 10 minutes we were out the door heading for Box Canyon Road. We drove the length of the canyon road until we came to the Salton Sea, turning around we decided we’d pick a spot and have a look. The first one had about a half dozen cars in the lot and I truly didn’t want to walk there so I opted to veto that one. Riley agreed. We discussed Little Box Canyon which is a couple of miles but it’s also accessible by motorized vehicles which means the roads will be all chewed up and difficult walking. We both decided that wasn’t the kind of walk we wanted either. We’d noticed a silver truck/SUV at another spot along the way and I wanted to go there. We met the truck along the road and I wasn’t sure we could find the spot but we did. The Big Dog nosed into the mostly smooth parking area with no trouble.

The beginning of the second trail...

We loaded up our hiking bag with numerous things today. Bottled water, obviously, some Mole Skin and medical tape, tissues, granola bars, and some hand sanitizer. Of course we had walking sticks, and hats as well. I even tucked my wallet into the hiking bag. (Riley has issues with her feet, plus she has developed a small blister from stones rubbing on her toe, so we added the mole skin and tape).

Love these walls ....

We took a path that looked like the start of a slot canyon but alas before 1/3 of a mile it ended and we had to turn around. Coming back to the parking lot  we tackled the other trail. It was pretty easy going for the most part, but lots of broken glass, garbage of various sorts, and of course gravelly sand found on the bottom of all washes. 

A water course down the side of the trail....

Perhaps a little off topic here but well, I can because it’s my blog. I do not understand the need for people to leave their damn garbage behind. There was even a small child’s potty chair at a location near a fire pit. Broken glass, clay pigeon parts, empty shot gun shells, brass casings from other firearms, dirty toilet paper, paper towels, as well as empty beer/pop cans, a blanket, even metal and wood set up for target practice.  There were numerous scattered part bales and even one still fully intact bale of hay/straw scattered here and there. Truly if these folks can carry this stuff in can’t they carry it back out? Don’t they realize what a mess it makes for everyone? Broken and unbroken bottles littered the place. Some large pieces on the trail with the ugly side facing up. People can be such self centered, rude, thoughtful, uncaring pigs. Sorry, now back to our regularly scheduled post.

Looking off to the left of the trail we walked..

The second trail wound it’s way back into the rocks for a long way, narrowing here and there but always with lots of wide passage ways. We found various names carved in the rocks here and there, even a little graffiti near the beginning of the trail. The further back we went the nicer it became due to less and less of the above issues. At one point off to the left we noticed a slight opening between two large pieces of rocks jutting out. I was hoping but wasn’t sure until I went to take a peek. Sure enough we’d found a slot canyon trail. So I asked Riley if she was up to a bit of an adventure and explained that the path would be very narrow as it wound among the rocks and could possible require us to squeeze  past tight areas and perhaps even have rocks over head so that we would be in a tunnel sort of area. She seemed to think about for a minute, came over to take a look at the beginning of the path and finally after about 30 seconds said,” Okay, lets try it.”

Looking at Mother Nature's force where she has cut away the underside of the rocks in the canyon...

We had a great deal of fun and entertaining few minutes here and there on the way. We followed it for probably  a bit over a half mile. It twisted and turned, dipped and climbed a bit as well. We had to ‘suck it in and squeeze by’, we had to head under some very large well wedged rocks, even at times having to step over pieces of stone that were washed out under neath forming an almost barrier like step at knee height. The path was very narrow with very smooth rock surfaces lower down to about mid thigh and then much more crumbly almost stacked gravel like walls. It would have taken a great deal of effort to cause any issues with the trail but small bits of gravel would fall if they were touched often even just by fingertips, or brushed with the hiking bag, or walking sticks (which we had attached to the hiking bag as it was too narrow to use them). At times we couldn’t see more than a few feet ahead and it would be shaded and semi dark but then we’d step around the corner and it would be full sunlight and warm, a few more steps would plunge us back into shade and coolness again. 

This is the at a point where the wall turns and the debris has caught in the corner from the rains rushing down this route...

At one point Riley had to sit down in a conveniently located  small seat shaped area in the wall used I’m certain for resting or fixing a shoe by many others ahead of us, to remove her sock and shoe to give some attention to this small blister. We had purchased a toe cushion but it wouldn’t stay on, even with tape around the toe or the foot. I pulled the mole skin and surgical tape from the hiking bag and put the soft side (not the sticky side) of the Mole Skin against the blister, taped the whole thing with medical tape around her foot, replaced sock and shoe, it seemed to do the trick. We have placed Mole Skin in both of her shoes under the ball of her foot to help with less stress and more comfort. So after this little bit of foot surgery we once again off along this narrow trail.

Looking down the wider part of the second trail...

It was truly an amazing hike. It wasn’t difficult in that there were no obstacles such as boulders, loose stones, debris, etc it was just very skinny with very little breeze and a few glimpses of blue sky. We reached a point where Riley wanted to sit down for a rest, which was an excellent idea as I was thinking the same thing myself. We decided this was far enough for one trip and turned back after our rest. The trip back was much faster as we knew what to expect and we weren’t quite as awe struck. 

Another corner of the route where the water force is starting to work it's way into that end rock wall...

We reached the Dogsled at 11 am.  We first left the Dogsled at 9:05 am, for the short dead end trip and I know we turned around in the slot canyon trail to come back at 10:26 am. We had been walking pretty much the entire 2 hours  except for one foot repair and one rest. I can tell you Riley is extremely proud of herself and as well she should be, she did amazing today. I’m so proud of her for first of all changing her mind about coming, secondly for trying something new, and thirdly for being so enthusiastic about things once we got started. Good for you Riley!!!!

You can see how the trails wind around through the rocks

In the Dogsled heading back to the Igloo we discussed perhaps staying a bit longer in this area than we’d originally thought and doing a bit more of that slot canyon walk. We reached home by 11:15 am, I was preparing salads by 11:30 am but we changed our mind from pancakes to left overs. Riley was in charge of the heating up of the left overs.  I managed to have a little nap on Riley’s bed (I wanted to check out her foam mattress, I want to purchase one for my bed) for about a half hour.  We had lunch and after doing the dishes I noticed that the oven needed some attention so for the next half hour I scoured the oven making it all shiny and new looking. I also had to sweep  the floor as well. 

Riley coming through the beginning of the slot canyon trail...

 I have to say that being in the desert is very much like our summer location, there are always small stones coming in on our shoes and littering the floor. I know some of you will say that we should leave our shoes outside the door and  now with the carpet on the steps we may actually start to do that. Due to Riley’s foot issues and my arthritis the metal stairs are not good for either us with just socks on our feet. Slippers I think would make us more prone to tripping up the steps. However now with the carpet perhaps we’ll try it. 

Yes we walked in there....

I edited pictures late this afternoon and started this post. We have a number of good pictures from our walk and I don’t know if I’ll have enough room for sunset pictures too. Oh it’s a hard life making all these tough decisions. Isn’t it?

That rock above is wedge in really tight..see how skinny it is down there where we walk?

Outside to take some sunset pictures but again, nothing too spectacular but the entertainment value in the area is priceless. I was sitting on the berm in my little chair, reading my book, taking pictures when I kept hearing this beep, beep, beep. The folks across the middle road from me were having issues with landing gear. So after about 15 minutes I folded up my chair and headed down to offer assistance not that I could do much but sometimes fuses, sprays, etc might be needed and those I could help with.  A simple no thank you would have sufficed but the fella was extremely rude. So I walked away.

Riley picking her away along the slot canyon trail....a bit of a tunnel here...

I continued to take pictures of the sunset, noticing a pickup with a pretty big Airstream behind him. He was coming in pretty fast, and whipped into a spot pretty quickly and managed to bury the thing until the front of the Airstream was digging into the sand. I truly couldn’t believe he was that stuck that quickly. I noticed some neighbours outside watching the fun and so walked over to chat. Lori and Allan have been here as long as we’ve been here, in fact I spoke to him the day we arrived. Their Jeep is down with the flu and needs a couple of days rest. Their friend Jim with the half jeep as I call it, (the fella that pulled the Ford out a few days ago) came out to offer assistance. It was quite entertaining to watch them trying to get this thing out. Lori and I stood watching and chatting as they first pulled him backwards to get the Airstream out of the sand, then moved around and hooked to the front, eventually getting him out. Allan explained to us when he came back that the fella had at first had the parking brake on and then had the truck in N not D. Eventually though they had the brake off, the truck in D, the Jeep pulling, the truck pulling and the sand flying, and soon Jeep, truck and Airstream were back on the road way. A quick unhook, the truck and Airstream disappeared. Saying goodnight to these very nice folks I headed home. 

Riley just turned this corner from the picture above...

So there you have it, our extremely good day here in Joshua Tree National Park BLM area. Some new sights, some new folks, and some entertainment. You can’t beat that for a good day, now can you? 

The slot follows those breaks in the rocks...

Thanks for stopping by, feel free to leave a comment. I read them all. 

It's getting wider again..almost back to the regular canyon trail...

Until next time… take care, be safe, 

Tight going, huh?
Yea, we walked down there...

Squeezing through that tight spot we really did have to turn sideways and sneak through but look at that smile!!!!!!




  1. Sure looks like you had A GREAT DAY! Love the walk thru the narrow canyon trails. Great for both of you.

    1. We had an excellent day. It was our first time through a slot canyon trail and we didn't go far but we will go further the next time.

      Take care, be safe,

  2. We love Joshua Tree NP haven't been in a few years so probably should go again. Pictures are wonderful. I agree with you about people and garbage I just don't get it. I was hoping to meet you at bloggerfest, but I see that you won't be there..well down the road somewhere we'll cross paths I'm sure. Riley did awesome and I'm thinking she really enjoyed herself..looking at the pictures and the smile on her face :) Awesome!

    1. We will certainly return here another time and do more of the trails.
      I'm just amazed at how much garbage was left in the canyons there, truly a disgrace.
      I look forward to meeting up down the road somewhere. Always interesting to meet new folks and compare notes, usually finding that they are already friends.
      I'm very proud of Riley, she did very well and was having an excellent time!
      Thanks for stopping by.

      Take care, be safe,

  3. Just love that Box Canyon road and the trails there would be amazing, In and around Borrego Springs there is lots of canyons and some amazing hiking trails as well. Sure looks like guys had a wonderful day !

    1. It's a beautiful area, and we'll be back to hike there again if not this year, then next year.
      We are looking forward to Borrego Springs as well. Should be there in about 7 or 8 days. I want to hike to the stone snake while in the area.
      We had an excellent day as evident by Riley's big smile.
      Thanks for stopping by George.

      Take care, be safe,

  4. You had an awesome walk! I love the pictures of Riley, especially the last one. She truly is indicating that she is glad she went.
    Love all of your pictures, we should do more of that kind of walking/hiking. Kudos to you both!
    I don't understand the garbage either BUT I also don't understand rude people. It isn't the way 95% of people out here behave. Maybe they should just go home and stay there!

    1. We did have an awesome walk, and enjoyed it very much. I loved that smile on Riley's face, it certainly spoke volumes.
      Thanks, it's hard to take good pictures in some of those places, but we did okay.
      The garbage thing drives me crazy, a few ruin things for the majority by doing such things.
      Rude people are a fact of life and truly if they want to live their lives that way, well that's up to them, me I don't have time for those kinds of people, I'm too busy having a good time.
      Thanks for stopping by Patsy.

      Take care, be safe,

  5. What a day. You and Riley were very well prepared for your excursion and it paid off. That was a nice slot canyon. I've gone through there a number of times but never stopped to hike. I'll do that next time for sure.

    Loved the photos of your hike and I'm glad Riley decided to go along. I think she had fun.

    That fellow with the Jeep keeps busy. He ought to start a towing business there.

    I really think you should stay at Clark dry lake bed nearer to Borrego Springs. Lots to do in and around that small town. Do search on Al's blog to learn all about the area.

    1. I always try to be prepared and with Riley I find I need to pay extra attention to those things. It was a beautiful slot canyon, we didn't go far but there were no dangerous areas or areas that required lots of climbing over and around things, it was pretty easy walking. It would be worth the stop.
      Thanks, she had a great time as you can see by the big smile on her face.
      The fella with the Jeep is a nice guy and he seems to enjoy playing with his Jeep and sending the sand flying.
      Thanks for the tip, I'll look into that area as well. George, Patsy and Bill all gave me a few ideas too.
      Thanks for stopping by Doug.

      Take care, be safe,

  6. HAPPY BIRTHDAY RILEY ,Love those pic.


    1. Hey Dad.
      Glad you're enjoying the pictures although they don't the area justice.
      Riley says thanks for the birthday wishes, a couple days early but thanks!
      Thanks for leaving a comment.

      Deb & Riley