High Desert Chill

December 15, 2022- Skull Rock really does look forbidding. The formations that dot Joshua Tree National Park are all pretty aptly named, though I must admit that the Hall of Horrors did not seem all that harrowing. My hikes were rather limited by the lingering chill that has decided to stick around the Southwest, for several more days-in lieu of a week of snow and rain that was forecast, as recently as a week ago.

This first visit to the crown jewel of the Mohave. After three days along the coast, the inspiration came to head northeast, along CA 62. Here are seven photos of the park’s main route, from the West Entrance, in the town of Joshua Tree, to Cottonwood Springs, just west of Chiriaco Summit. While the trees which some Mormon settlers thought reminded them of the Prophet Joshua, with his arms upraised in triumph, give their name to the Park, the rock formations are what bring visitors back to the area, time and again.

Keys West
Near Quail Springs
Butte, near Hemingway Campground
Quail Springs climbing area
Hall of Horrors
Skull Rock
Jumbo Rocks

The day started off with a breakfast from Zebra House, in downtown San Clemente, my first experience with ordering a meal from a computer screen, when there was a full crew standing at the counter. It does help the team streamline orders, but I felt a bit awkward doing things this way. The breakfast burrito was excellent, though, and I got to exercise more options. As with any novel experience, I would be more relaxed next time.

The drive across CA 76, 15, 79 and 74 brought me to a more familiar place, Gramma’s Country Kitchen, in Banning-as usual, taking a place at the counter. Half a tuna melt and a few steak fries later, I was headed towards Joshua Tree. It was, as said earlier, a chilly visit-weather-wise, but I encountered several friendly folks, both park rangers and visitors, especially rock climbers, who were planning each step very carefully. Most memorable were a newlywed couple, in their nuptial attire, being photographed at various landmarks. My paternal self fretted, just a bit, for the bride, in such lightweight attire. It was not surprising, about fifteen minutes later, to see the young lady wrapped in a blanket, with a forlorn look on her face. I hope the rest of their life together is more well considered.

Chiriaco Cafe’s chili added a fine finishing touch to a lightly-planned, but fascinating afternoon. It will not be my last visit to Joshua Tree, not by a long shot.

4 thoughts on “High Desert Chill

  1. Lovely photos. We visited there but didn’t spend as much time as Sparky would have liked because we had plans and reservations that wouldn’t allow dawdling… Next time we will allot more than half a day!

    Liked by 1 person

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