5-May-01 Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree National Park is located NE of Palm Springs.  The park consists of both high and low deserts with some of the best rock scrambling / climbing in southern California.  Our group planned to make two day-hikes in the park.  The first was a loop hike that would take us past three major abandoned mining sites.  The second would explore some of the strangest rock inscriptions anywhere.

Our team this trip consisted of eight friends and neighbors.  From left to right in the above photo are Tracy Billings and Ken Perilli both previous co-workers who now have moved to the Bay area.  They made the long drive down to J. Tree arriving at midnight with enough energy left to complete the full itinerary.  Hal Lonas and two of his daughters, Stephanie and Emily are now regulars on our weekend adventure trips.  Roy Burrows and his daughter Marlen are first timers to J. Tree and our particular brand of adventure.

The initial plan was to rock climb on our first day in the park.  Tracy brought her equipment and had agreed to lead climb and top rope for all the rest of us novices.  Anyone who didn't want to climb could opt for rock scrambling.  Plans changed when we thought about the time everyone could spend in the park before having to leave for home. 

The new plan extended the abandoned mine tour to a full day, making it into a loop, bushwhacking off-trail through desert canyons and washes to get from mine site to mine site.  The second day was reorganized into a half day hike to Samuelson's Rocks.  This latter hike was more an adventure of the mind than a physical test. Think of what you would do if your goal were to enshrine the wisdom of a lifetime on eight stone tablets.  One Joshua Tree resident did just that.  We found and made our stab at decoding their messages.


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