Saturday, April 12, 2014

Joshua Tree

On Monday I drove up to Joshua Tree National Park for a couple days of hiking and camping.  The weather was pretty ideal the whole time;  mid to high 70's  during the day mid to high 60's at night.

Shortly after I arrived at the campground my neighbor spotted this rattle snake.  But it's the only one I saw during my three day stay.

The campground was near the remains of the long abandoned Ryan Ranch.  The ranch was established about 1896 and occupied by the Ryan family for nearly forty years.  What remains of the ranch house's adobe walls is shown here.

Three Ryan brothers and another prospector also ran the Lost Horse gold mine located about 4 miles south of the house until about 1908.  Water required for the gold mine was supplied from a spring located near the house and piped to the mine through a three inch steel pipe, much of which is still in place today.

On Tuesday I hiked east on the California Riding and  Hiking Trail that goes by the Ryan Campground.  The old Ryan water pipeline is visible along much of the trail.

Joshua Tree is known for it's great rock climbing.  Headstone Rock seemed really popular with the climbers and is located just a couple of hundred yards from where I was camped.

On Wednesday I hiked the California Riding and Hiking Trail to the west through Juniper Flats.  There was a very light overcast which made for perfect hiking weather.

 As luck would have it it seems like I arrived at the peak of the wildflower season.
 In many locations the ground seemed like it was covered with a carpet of wild flowers.

 Late in the afternoon on Wednesday a couple of climbers showed up at Headstone Rock.  It didn't really take them very long and they were at the top.