...now on my laptop...

Friday, 2003-3-28

Joshua Tree

Deb and I spent a fun and relaxing weekend in Joshua Tree National Park this month. That's about 120 miles east of LA.

Not much of a wildflower bloom there, yet — most of the park is at 4500 to 5400 feet elevation. But many of the Joshua Trees themselves had large clusters of white flowers. It was fun to get back there again. When we lived in LA, we used to go out there fairly often for the weekend, for group camping trips with the folks from Interactive Systems [qv], where I worked at the time. We would camp at Sheeps Pass, and Deb & I would stick around for the Monday because we both had Tuesday - Saturday work schedules.

Sheeps Pass has five or six group sites, each one good for up to about 25 people. Rock Climbing wasn't quite as much of a rage then (this would have been around 1980) as it is now, so the group campground would often have only our group and maybe one other group site occupied. But by Monday, Deb & I would have the entire campground to ourselves.

The other weekend, we just did the main tourist loop: from 29 Palms ("An Oasis of Murals"), the visitor center there at the Oasis of Mara, up into the park, visits to Split Rock, Skull Rock, a quick nostalgic drive-through of Sheeps Pass campground, and down through Lost Horse Valley, to Keys View — Signal Mountain, in Mexico beyond the Salton Sea, was clearly visible that day, and Mt San Jacinto had plenty of snow, though it was not nearly as well covered as Mt San Gorgonio.

There's something cool about a view along the main drag of a desert town like Yucca Valley or Joshua Tree, but with this over-11,000-foot snow-covered mountain looming over, not too far away.

Anyway, our loop continued into the Wonderland of Rocks, and we stopped for the short walking loop around Hidden Valley.

The place we stayed in was very charming: "Spin and Margie's Desert Hideaway". Highly recommended. They have a pretty
nice website

I have a few of the photos up on my mac.com site, but the new version of iPhoto broke my post-processor script so the captions and commentary aren't in place yet. I'll list the captions here, and you can put them with the right photos:

  • The room was decorated with an "Our Lady of Guadalupe" motif; nice tilework in the bathroom.
  • The beaded curtain with OLoG was a nice touch. The kitchen is on the other side of it.
  • Our room's own little courtyard, with Mt San Gorgonio visible behind.
  • This kinetic sculpture is in front of the JTNP visitor center at the Oasis of Mara in 29 Palms. Not the sort of kinetic sculpture that one can race, though.
  • This geek inside Split Rock
  • This geek on top of a non-Split Rock
  • Deb took this picture of a split rock that isn't Split Rock
  • Skull Rock
  • A climber on an easy route at Sheeps Pass campground
  • A classic symmetric Joshua Tree
  • A rock column at Hidden Valley
  • Spin & Margie's welcoming front gate

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