Sunday, January 21, 2018

Windy, cooler, hiking....

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

A good night’s sleep last night had me awake  around 5:30 am a much better time than the 2 am of the night before. Much cooler this morning than it has been for a while, however we’re not complaining, we don’t have to shovel anything and it’s no longer raining. We have clear blue skies and a wonderful looking day ahead of us.

Good morning from Joshua Tree National Park BLM

Outside this morning to catch a few sunrise pictures around 6:30 am but nothing spectacular, it just kind of popped all of a sudden and with no clouds of any kind, there was very little light show. I did walk around a bit snapping a few pictures. Last night we heard some revving for awhile, I thought it was a Road Trek behind us that might have been caught in the sand, but this morning I noticed it wasn’t the Road Trek, it’s a pick up and he’s pretty much buried. The bumper is a few inches off the ground. I know we all think the next attempt will be the one that will get us ‘unstuck’ don’t we?

I like this picture

The spots here fill up close to dark, and people park just about anywhere they can find a wide spot in the road after dark. Probably a really smart idea since it’s hard to see the soft sand at night. When day time comes they start moving out and some times they come back but not always. I figured last night there was about 20 in my sight when I was out taking my pictures this morning. It’s a popular spot.
I think he's stuck...don't you?

We have no plans for today but we’ll be out doing something, since the weather looks nice although cooler than it has been and with strong gusts of winds as well.  We’re thinking we might go into the park  and so the higher elevations will already be cooler so we’ll just have to dress accordingly. 

And that half a Jeep pulled him out...

We’ve only heard a few generators here even though we are in pretty close proximity. John the fella across the middle drive here runs his each morning for about an hour and again each evening for about an hour. It’s very quiet and with the windows and door closed we truly don’t hear it much. More like a white noise at times.
One of the trees at the beginning of our hike...

I was just finishing up my fresh grapefruit, courtesy of my sister in law Janet, when I noticed an older orange jeep coming into the spot where the truck is stuck. I donned my shoes and fleece sweater to go watch. The jeep was able to pull him out with a fair bit of tires spinning and sand flying but still able to get him unstuck. I didn’t get a really good look but I’m pretty certain it was a big Ford dually that’s been here since we’ve arrived. I didn’t bring the camera and so I don’t have any pictures of the event.
We hiked the Mastadon Mine Loop Trail

Back home we decided it was time to get out and about. I know Riley was kind of dragging her heels a bit but I just let her take her time getting herself ready. We climbed into the Dogsled and headed his nose NORTH into Joshua Tree National Park.
Looking back toward the Dogsled .....

It’s a steady uphill climb from I-10 to this BLM parking area and it continues uphill from that as well. Not an abrupt hill but a very steady, even long grade. We pulled off on a few of the side spots that allows such things and took a few pictures enjoying the scenery and the view. We continued along until we arrived at the Ranger Station/Fee station, pulled in expecting to pay the fee of $25 for use over the next 7 days, as well ask a few questions about how to find Hidden Valley and to get a couple of maps helping us decide where to go. Sounds easy right? Hmm …. the office is closed due to government appropriations blah, blah, blah. There will be no emergency services available, no garbage dumpsters emptied, no services of any kind, meaning no bathrooms, etc. Hmm…. okay so I guess we can head into the park and just do what ever it is we want to do. 

We just came from over there...

Once again we climbed back into the Dogsled and off we went into the park. Wish we’d of brought our garbage as there are bins everywhere. They even have a dump station. We drove to the very end of the road where the trail heads are located. We discussed what we wanted to do and decided we’d at least take a short walk to see what the trails are like. I had already thought ahead and have been leaving my small back pack in the truck along with walking sticks and lots of water. So we put 3 bottles of water into the backpack, grabbed our walking sticks, left our hats (due to the strong gusty winds), along with the camera and off we headed. We enjoyed the first part of the trail very much. We then came to a ‘fork’ in the road which required a decision. We could make the small loop around Mastadon Mine Loop Trail it would be 1.4 miles, plus the .9 miles to reach this particular sign, or we could take the longer straight route to Lost Oasis which was 3.4 miles plus the .9 miles already walked. The Lost Oasis would have been too much for Riley I think since she hasn't been walking much. We opted for the shorter route and truly enjoyed it a great deal. There were a few spots I had to help her but not many. She managed to find her way even in some of the tougher spots and since I thought she should lead to set the pace I  just let her find the way. She did very well. She’s very proud of herself and I too am very proud of her. She made it the whole way without any issues of any kind. Well except for a blister on her baby toe. We will now be hauling band aids in the back pack not just in the truck. 

We climbed up those....

The route was quite steep in places with rock steps and smooth rock surfaces to climb,along with some sandy washes and rougher paths to follow. She did very well and took her time as I kept telling her we have all day, or at least until dark which is hours away still. We have plenty of water and we can’t get lost if we stick to the trail. The trail was narrow at times but she was able to navigate with very little help from me for most of the way. We encountered a few folks and we simply stepped aside and let them go past us and we continued at our slower pace. 

See the water over there?

At one point we could see a body of water off in the distance. I don’t think it’s the Salton Sea as I think it’s further away but it appeared to be a fairly large area covered in water. We could see for a long distance in most directions and it was truly an amazing sight. We found the top of the mountain to be very windy and the canyon’s were as well but it was more of a wind tunnel there as the mountain top was just a very windy place to be. It was cool to almost cold. 

Looking back toward the now closed Ranger Station and Cottonwood campgrounds...

We found our way back to the Dogsled with no trouble and upon checking the time we had been just about 2 hours hiking our way around there. That includes stopping for a few rest breaks, some pictures and our careful pace. I was quite pleased that Riley was able to make it the entire way with no issues. We both agreed it was a fantastic hike. 

Can you see the lake now (center)? That far ridge on the left is the dark mountain range we see when we look our dining room window.

We checked out the Cottonwood Campgrounds area but would never fit in any of the spots. We are under the length limit but it’s too tight in my opinion  for us to get in the spots comfortably. 
That's us on the top of Mastadon Peak.....

We arrived back home in less than 10 minutes. Inside we both sat down to relax for a bit and I offered to make salads for lunch but I got sidetracked with a bit of  a reno issue and so while I fixed that Riley made lunch. As it is Sunday it’s her day to cook since we have pasta every Sunday. 

We walked along here too...

She added to our salads a ‘greens mixture’ we bought at Trader Joe’s that includes shredded Kale, Brussels Sprouts, and Red Cabbage (at least, possibly more). It was okay but I think would have been better with a thicker dressing than my Raspberry Vinaigrette. Lunch was excellent as we had wonderful salads of course, Cheesy Garlic Bread, and Spaghetti with sauce, jazzed, from a bottle. Thank you Miss Riley!!!

We managed to squeeze through that opening....

After doing the dishes, cleaning up a bit we both headed off to read. I noticed the stuck truck was hooked on and pulled out with trailer in tow. Guess once stuck was enough. After reading for about an hour I worked a bit more on my post and once again edited some pictures taken while in the park today. I’m not going to post too many pictures as I don’t want to over load anyone with them. 

This is the old Mastadon Mine, started around 1930, owned by the Huley family. Wasn't the big strike they hoped for, at it's best it produced $744 per ton.

So after reading for a bit more, I grabbed the camera and headed outside. A nice sunset for sure, but it’s still a bit windy and it will be cool over night. So I think we’ll turn on the heater for a while before bedtime. 

We walked this path too..

So there you have it, our day here in California’s Joshua Tree National Park area. It was fun, educational and entertaining. We enjoyed it a great deal. 

Riley blew a tire, seems there was a stone on the INSIDE instead of the outside of her tire....

 Thanks for stopping by, I hope you enjoyed your visit. Feel free to leave a comment. 

Sunset tonight....

Love that fire in the sky....

Until next time… take care, be safe,
The end of a fantastic day......




  1. You two did a lot of hiking and your photos took me with you. Thanks. Glad there was someone there to help that guy get unstuck.

    You two looked like seasoned hikers with a windblown look. Didn't even need a fan.

    We've cooled down here in Yuma also, so I guess this cold wave is hitting deep into the Southwest.

    Liked the sunset photos too.

    1. Glad to have you along, hope you enjoyed the leg stretch. The wind was pretty cool and crisp at the top of the loop and then it whistled down the washes but the rocks seemed to warm it a bit in the washes.

      I was going to offer but I didn't have a tow strap but I think he's been in that situation before because the tow strap used belonged to him I think.

      It's not as cold here today as the weather folks said it would be but who knows, it's all a guess anyway. At least it's not snowing!

      Thanks, I enjoyed the sunset myself.

      Take care, be safe,

  2. Love that area enjoy it while you are there, That is the Salton see that you have in you photos and interesting area to explore. if you get a chance. Getting stuck in the sand is not fun, we know about that LOL.... Glad he got out.

    1. I thought the Salton Sea was a bit further away but I guess not. We did smell it on our way into Coachella the other day, smelled like a paper mill to me.

      I hope not to have that experience of getting stuck in the sand, as the Alberta Big Boys may not be there to pull me out. LOL I'm not sure why he buried it so deep but the little jeep did some sand spitting to get him out.

      We are enjoying the area but will be moving on early next week as our two weeks will end mid week anyway.

      Take care, be safe,

  3. You two sure got a great hike in, good for you! Looks like an awesome view up there! I agree with Doug, 'the seasoned hikers look'.
    Good that Riley got her 'tire' fixed without any cost. :)
    The temperatures are rising again come Wednesday and actually it IS good walking weather.
    Glad the jeep could help that guy could happen to anyone! ahem, not just a Ford dually. ha ha

    1. Hahaha...I wondered if you would catch that little quip. I couldn't resist. Sorry Bill!!

      We had a great hike, long enough for Riley but we are both very happy that she was able to do the whole thing with only a couple little breaks. She's getting into her stride again and hopefully will enjoy doing a different one or part of one at least before we leave the area. She had a couple of flats with the small pebbles from the washes getting into her shoes.

      Yeah it's warming up here too, not as cold as they said it would be but the wind makes it much cooler than the temp reads as you know.

      Take care, be safe,

    2. HI folks, sure love your sunset pic. Could you please not keep telling us your temp. lol

    3. I have to tell you the temperature, sharing is caring and I care that you know the temperature. LOL

      Glad you like the sunset pictures, I enjoy them too.

      Take care, be safe,