From Joshua Tree NP to Hemet, CA

Hey there! Have you missed me? We've been without internet or cell service for the past several days, and so we have some catching up to do. Since we last spoke, Mike and I moved on from Borrego Springs to Joshua Tree National Park, where it was so fricking cold and windy that our enthusiasm waned pretty quickly. We decided to stay just two nights, and then we moved onto Hemet, California, where we are now. Nevertheless, we packed a lot into our two days there, and it'll take me a bit to catch you up on the scenery and the hiking. For now, pour yourself a cuppa and settle in. Or don't...it's totally up to you. Here goes...

The road between Borrego Springs and Joshua Tree National Park essentially takes you through a huge wash. The landscape is pretty rugged between the two places.

It makes me wonder what happens to the road when it rains. Judging by its condition, I can't think it's a very good place to be traveling in bad weather.

And it is desolate.

Before too long, we could begin to see the Salton Sea. If you look a little below center in the next image, you'll see a dark sliver of blue. That is the Salton Sea. It's located directly on the San Andreas Fault in California's Coachella Valley.

We still had cell coverage at this point, and so I was able to pull up a satellite image of the area on my phone. The blue dot is where we are traveling.

With the exception of a few small towns, the road continues through this rugged and parched landscape.

That's pretty much all we saw even after we passed the Cottonwood Visitor Center at the south end of Joshua Tree National Park.

Joshua Trees (yucca brevifolia...pretty fancy, huh?) do not grow everywhere in the park, and so you have to travel some 20 miles before you begin to see them.

We camped in the Jumbo Rocks campground inside the national park boundaries. Joshua Trees are not the only item of interest in the park. For us, the rocks and boulders are at least as interesting, if not more. This is our campsite. You can see our rig just off to the right in the image below. 

It was getting late in the day when we arrived. Once we got set up, we went for a short walk. Like I said...it was windy and cold. 

The landscape was beautiful in the setting sun. The image below kind of encapsulates what you can see here, although there is much we have yet to explore.

Compare the Joshua Tree in the image above to the Mohave yucca in the image below. Obviously, the Joshua Trees are taller, but their fronds are also shorter. We've been fortunate enough to see the yucca when it blooms and it is beautiful. You can see some images of it in that link I've given you. On this trip, it appeared the Joshua Trees had just bloomed, or were about to bloom. We couldn't tell for sure.

I was able to capture this silhouette in the setting sun. It was a peaceful end to a day of driving.

Our furnace ran almost constantly overnight. It's a propane heater, but the fan is electric, and it nearly drained our battery. Since we were dry camping (meaning, camping without water or electric hook-ups), it became clear that we couldn't stay here for long. That meant we set a busy agenda for ourselves for this one full day in the park. We started with this short trail out to Arch Rock.

This whole area is made up of a soft granite. Here's what the sign had to say about it.

One of the more interesting formations in all of this is the appearance of dikes as erosion occurs. You can see an example on the right side of the image below. I'm speaking of the line of smaller rocks running more or less vertically through the large boulders.

And here's what the sign has to say about the dikes. (I bring this up because it's the one feature we remembered from our previous visit some years ago.)

This next sign explains the erosion process and what leads to the appearance of these huge boulders above the soil line. In fact, the soil is the eroded-away remains of what came before.

The image below corresponds to the sign above.

It was only a brief walk out to the arch. 

We've learned before that arches are formed by wind, and natural bridges are formed by running water. In this case, the arch is formed by wind and rain. I could only shoot directly into the sun, and so there are lens flares in this picture. Still, I think it gives you a pretty good idea what we saw from there.

There was more beyond the arch, but it would have required more "scrambling" over rocks than my knee was going to permit, and so we turned back and returned to our campsite. We were able to get Smitty out for a walk at this point. He loved the sandy soil and he rolled and rolled and rolled...which is a problem when you're trying to keep the leash untangled. 

There were some people in the next campsite over, and that kept him on guard.

We were able to get in about a 20-minute walk.

And we explored some areas where cats could go, but taller people could not.

He and Maggie are doing really well at this point. They still give one another a wide berth, but there is a lot less grrrring and yowling. We haven't had to bring out the squirt bottle of doom for at least a couple of days. Maggie has taken a few good swipes at him, and that leaves Smitty with an astonished expression on his face. He's not used to living with a cat who still has her claws. He's given her space when she decides she wants to use the catio. I doubt they'll ever go out together, as the quarters are a little close, but he hasn't interfered with her when she goes by herself.

Yes, I'm smiling now, but she'll pay later.

When we left Joshua Tree yesterday to drive to Hemet, CA, they were still negotiating for who was going to ride where. Maggie was in Smitty's usual hidey hole, and she seemed to recognize her error. When I made Smitty give her some room to maneuver, she went to the far side of the bed. She was still standing on the bed, when I shut the door. I assumed she'd get onto the floor between the bed and the closet, which was Gracie's favorite riding spot. When I opened the door after arriving in Hemet, I found her on the bed like this. She'd burrowed under my sweatshirt and was looking pretty comfy-cozy.

We're now in a park we've stayed many times in Hemet. We like Hemet for its wonderful climate, and we like this park for its hot tubs and activities. There has been a dearth of cats for me to make up to on this trip. This is the first one we've seen.

Yeah, not exactly something you'd want to cuddle up to. There is a craft fair going on here on Sunday, and that will be fun. Also, they have the most luxurious hot tubs...always a favorite of ours. We're here for the next four days, and Mike's sister will be driving over from Anaheim to see us. 

That's all for today, but I have a lot more hiking to tell you about from our Joshua Tree NP stay. Tomorrow I'll tell you about hiking out to Lost Horse Mine. It was over four miles round trip and I managed a new personal best on my Fitbit that day.

That wasn't our only hike, however. We also hiked the Skull Rock Trail, and so I have lots more to tell you. Just give me some time to sort through my pictures. 

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Lyndsey said...

Great Piccies. I really should have taken your advice and made a cup of tea but I was so eager to find out what you'd been up to. I'll make that tea now and leisurely reread the post and enjoy the pics.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

What - no shadow selfies this trip? I would hate to break down on that stretch of road - and with no cell service - scarey.

quiltzyx said...

So very interesting learning about the different kinds of rocks & how they came to be. Of course the wonderful pictures help too!!
I went to Joshua Tree once, supposed to be for a weekend 'conference' on Memorial Day weekend when I was 16 or 17. Yikes - it was close to 100f at 9 a.m.!! My friend that rode out with me & I decided we weren't going to stay, and 2 more friends asked to hitch a ride with us too. So the 4 of us & our gear were stuffed into my little Pinto for the ride home. I was the only one with a driver's license, so I had my own seat, 2 were in the other front seat & #4 was in the back seat, completely packed in, with an ice chest on his lap! Had a flat tire on the way & had to change a tire on the side of the freeway - had to unpack the whole trunk to get to the spare. But we made it home in one piece.
Every day is an adventure, isn't it?!

Dana Gaffney said...

I've gone through the pictures three times now and can't get over how beautiful it all is, rocks and not much else, but it's really beautiful.

Sherry said...

Thoroughly enjoyed the photos. Thanks for taking the time to tell us about your journey.
will look forward to tomorrow's post.

QuiltShopGal said...

Short visit in the desert, but it looked like you had fun. I'm not all that familiar with Hemet. A few recommendations, for you to consider:
- Hemet Quilt Show is the 12th & 13th. Small quilt show, but fun: http://www.valleyquilters.org/Show.html
- Polly's Pie in Hemet has been our must stop place for lunch whenever we go to the Hemet Quilt Show. My husband who has the will power of a saint, avoiding sweets, always appreciates if I bring him back a pie from Polly's. Great lunch special of half sandwich, salad and pie. Yumm.

I understand there is a hike up the mountain, from the Hemet side, to where the tram from Palm Spring stops, but I've not yet done that.

Hope you have better weather. Next couple of days should be warm during the day, but definitely cooler at night.


WoolenSails said...

That is an amazing place with the rock formations. Do they have creepy crawlers in areas like that, that get into the trailer?


Auntiepatch said...

I grew up in Hemet! Enjoy your time there!

Judy1522 said...

Thanks for the interesting post and great pictures. I am glad Smitty and Maggie are doing well together. I love the picture of Maggie under your sweathirt.

Celtic Thistle said...

What an amazing and inhospitable landscape. The sunset photo is beautiful.

Kate said...

Love your pictures. It may be desolate, but it certainly has it's own type of beauty.

Michele said...

Oh those pictures are just gorgeous.