Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Nice 6 Miler Along the California Riding and Hiking Trail

On Christmas Eve day, Margie and I gathered with a few friends at the Juniper Flats parking lot, then headed East on the California Riding and Hiking Trail. Our final destination was the Geo Trail portion of the hike about 6 miles away. We parked a car on the Geo Trail and another at the Juniper Flats parking lot and then set out on our adventure. This is a great hike, not too strenuous, some ups and downs, but mostly just walking through the beautiful desert landscape with great views all around. Along the hike, we found the remains of an old miner's cabin and mine site which we poked around, but alas, no gold just laying about. Further on, we stopped about mid-way for lunch and then continued on to the Geo Trail, happy that we had a car waiting for us, because I was getting pooped by that time. It couldn't have been the two bottles of wine at lunch...

Monday, December 21, 2015

Catch the Fall Colors at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve and Covington Park

I got up early the other day and went over to Covington Park and took a little walk around to see some of our hi-desert fall colors. The Cottonwoods are showing some nice golden highlights, here and at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, so come on over and enjoy what we Westerners call 'Fall'. These are two wonderful places to come and take a stroll at any time of the day or year. If you're a transplanted Easterner, you'll feel right at home. Don't forget about Birding... Every Wednesday at 8 a.m. and every third Saturday at 8 a.m. during the winter and fall months. Ask for Dee, tell him Spin sent you.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Fascinating Rocks at Split Rock

Margie and I went over to Split Rock the other day and hiked in to an area that turned out to be chock full of interesting and bizarrely shaped rocks. We spent a couple of hours just bouldering up and around the rocks, found a nice spot for lunch and then bouldered around some more. The rocks seem like something you'd find find on the moon, if you didn't know you were in Joshua Tree National Park. What a fun day, full of great finds.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Pine City A Land of Wonder

This is a 'bang for your buck' kind of hike. No big up-hill climbs, just a nice, easy loping kind of hike, through 'hill and dale' with nice views and lots of interesting vegetation all around. You start at the 'Desert Queen Mine' parking lot and head out about a mile and a half, where you come upon some dynamic rock formations in which you can find a nice spot to have lunch and take a nap. When you're done, head back to the trail and it will lead you out to the end of the canyon overlook where you can explore further. Check it out next time you're here and don't forget the wine and cheese.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Early Morning Light at the Cliffs of Dover

I got up early and parked at the Quail Springs Picnic Area and took a walk out to the hills known as the 'Cliffs of Dover'. This is what the climbers have named it. There is a part that sweeps up the hill and does remind you of the cliffs, now that you mention it. I got there just as the light was sweeping along the front of the rocks. I walked along the base for a while and then turned back to see what was happening on the other side. The sun was just hitting the tips of the rocks in the side canyon, so I climbed up and around to take some shots and then headed up to the top, where you get a nice view of the valley. Then I went down the other side and back around through the valley to where I started. I was really pooped when I got home as I had done quite a bit of clambering up and over the rocks, all before breakfast. Great fun though. You can really do a lot of exploring in the one area. Worth a visit.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

An Early Morning Walk Near Lost Horse Road

I got up early, 5:30 the other day and went in to Joshua Tree National Park. On the way in, I noticed the temperature was 33 degrees, ouch. Luckily, I dressed warmly so it wasn't a problem. I'd seen this area near Lost Horse Road that had these interesting rock formations, so I had to check it out. When I got there, the light hadn't come over the mountain yet, so I wandered out to the far valley and then began to work my way back as the light came up. I just love exploring new terrain, taking my time, checking out every nook and cranny. You never know what you're going to find. There were some pretty unusual rock formations and some mixed vegetation (Junipers, Pinyon Pines, Joshua Trees) all in this one small area. Here's some shots I liked.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Manzanita Studies in Hidden Valley

It was kind of a mucky day and I started out with every intention of exploring this one side canyon in Hidden Valley, but as soon as I got to the edge of the hill I was supposed to climb, I found all these Manzanita branches splayed on the ground, so of course, I started taking pictures. I'm totally fascinated by the shapes and colors, and how they just seem to be assembled on the ground in these interesting designs. Next thing you know, I was just wandering along the edges of the rocks, taking pictures, finding more 'still lifes' to shoot. Here's a few I like.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

A Hint of Fall at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve

We got up early Saturday thinking we'd go 'Birding' at Big Morongo Canyon Preserve, but when we got there, found that they only 'Bird' on every third Saturday now. Boo hoo. But hey, it was a beautiful morning, so we just decided to take a walk along the Desert Willow Trail and back through the Marsh to the Mesquite Trail. It's such a wonderful way to start your Saturday before you head off to the Farmer's Market in Joshua Tree. The Alkali Goldenbush along the trail were in full display and there were some bits of red along the Marsh Trail. I thought to myself... 'a nice preview of fall to come.' Next month, the Cottonwoods should be taking on their golden colors, so plan to visit the Preserve and Covington Park.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Wandering Amongst the Manzanitas

The Manzanita is one of my favorite trees in Joshua Tree National Park and you only find it in certain places, so it's always a treat to run in to a group of these stately and beautiful trees with their gorgeous red and silver limbs. The other morning I decided to stop at Hemingway pull out and just walk along the edge of the hills to see what I could find. I meandered over towards Hidden Valley in this nice little canyon where I discovered my trove of Manzanitas. I spent about two hours there, just crawling around amongst and under the trees and came away with a few shots you might like.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Exploring Headstone Rock

Last Sunday, on the way out to Ryan Adobe, we noticed Headstone Rock in the distance, so we decided to investigate and explore the area. The most fun was discovering a cave on the underside of this fascinating rock formation. You can just imagine how the original native americans would use this for shade from the heat of the day. It's a perfect, protected area with views out to the surrounding desert and up to the sky. Sitting there, for a moment, you could almost hear their quiet voices.