Within less than a mile, I came across a small road. I was expecting it (based on my Google Maps research), but what I wasn't expecting was a road without any tire marks or footprints. None. This road hadn't been driven on or even hiked on in some time, which seemed odd.
Hiking in just after sunset, I was treated to pretty desert skies and purple clouds.
A few hundred yards up the road, I found the first structure I had seen on Google Maps. Actually, structures (pleural).
Two pink cabins nestled up against the rocks. Both appeared to be abandoned and in bad shape (doors open and windows broken out). I'm pretty sure I saw bats flying in and out of one of the cabins. Finding these old cabins was not only exciting but raised a ton of questions. Since these are in the National Park, are they owned and maintained by the Park Service? What's their history? Why aren't they being maintained and why aren't they on the Park Service maps?? Here's another shot of one of the cabins. You can just barely see the old silver water tank out back, so the cabin likely has (or had) plumbing, but no electricity.
I very nearly missed it, but there's an old vintage trailer about 100 yards to the west of the cabins, hiding in the bushes.
I thought of my sister, who just finished restoring her own vintage trailer. She would like this. The little pink trailer looks like it's been sitting here a really long time. In very good condition, other than a couple broken windows. Here's a closer shot...
Peaking in the window, I could see the trailer was full of stuff. Boxes piled high. Again, all the questions swirling around in my mind. Who owned it? Why is it being left here to deteriorate? How interesting would it be to spend an afternoon sorting through the contents of this little "time capsule"! Looking at the cholla cactus growing in front of the door (and knowing how slow these cactus grow) makes me think no one's been in this trailer for a number of years!
A little further up the road, I found this old adobe homestead cabin.
How cool is this!!? It's in one of the most beautiful spots in the Park, with incredible boulder formations all around it. Keep in mind that by the time I found this little cabin, it was already dark. I wasn't able to do much exploring, just take the photo and move on. This is a 10 second exposure, helped along a bit by shining my flashlight toward the cabin.
Time to start heading back to my car. I haven't hiked too far, but it's now nighttime and I need to hike across open desert (no trail) to get back to my car. The last thing I want is to get turned around and have to spend the night in the desert!
Oh yes, and I did manage to get some decent Milky Way shots on my hike back. Here's one of my favorites.
Postscript: After posting the cabin pics on the Joshua Tree National Park Photographers page on Facebook, I learned this area is the "Cohn property". Strange as it may seem, this is private property within a National Park. The owners laid claim to the land and were living there prior to the land surrounding it being declared a National Monument in 1936 (Joshua Tree became a National Park in 1994). Although I didn't see any signs of him (or her), a caretaker lives in the area full time. Another website I found has this to say about the Cohn property: "The area marked off on the map on page 80 [the Cohn property] is privately owned. The owners are very unfriendly, and [rock] climbers have actually been shot at for trespassing here! Unless or until this situation changes, all climbers are advised to stay off this property." Yikes, glad I didn't run into that caretaker! A final thought: If my family owned this property, I would be living out here full time and restoring these cabins! Incredibly beautiful location within Joshua Tree National Park.
Post Postscript: Mr./Mrs. Cohn, if you read this and are interested in selling your property, please contact me immediately!!
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