Thursday, April 8, 2021

Spring Break!

Just a low-key day at the beach, but for granddaughter Lilly, it was the highlight of her spring break. We let her invite a friend, which was a BIG DEAL. With COVID, playing with friends has been very limited. With the adults all immunized, we were feeling a little more comfortable. Turned out to be a very uncrowded day, which also worked in our favor.

Really, the only downside of the day was the cool temps and gusty winds. You can see my wife is pretty bundled up. Did that slow down the girls? Heck no!

From swimming in the ocean to swimming in the pool (unheated), nothing seemed to slow them down. Ah, to be young again!
Not a sight you often see (no crowds at Tower 1, Huntington Beach).
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by. 
Stay safe & stay healthy!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Coals in a Forge

"The eastern sky was red as coals in a forge, lighting up the flats along the river."
Larry McMurtry (one of my all-time favorites)

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Majestic Desert Skies

 Last week, I took you on an adventure to an area I call Majestic Wash. It turned out to be one of my favorite recent hikes. My photo count was up to 27 with that post, which is a lot (even for me!). But I still had my hike-back-to-the-Jeep photos, and there are some good ones, so I'll share those with you here. Kind of a "Majestic Wash Part II" post, with the focus being desert landscape and sky.

Here's one I didn't share last week. While hiking along Majestic Wash, I came across this unusual rock formation. Dinosaur teeth? Picket fence?? I'll let you decide. I think geologists would really enjoy hiking in this part of Joshua Tree National Park. OK, let's move on to landscapes and skies!

It took me a long time to hike back to the car. Blame it on these beautiful skies!

Done, and still just a bit of light in the sky for this last photo looking east from Highway 62.
Happy Trails, and thanks for stopping by!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Majestic Wash

Majestic Wash... kind of a hokey name, but it works for me. When I first came upon my favorite arch in Joshua Tree National Park (Majestic Arch), I was following this wash. Ever since then, I think of this wash as "Majestic Wash". I was looking for a new place to hike, and after closely checking out Google Earth, I could see this same wash headed W/SW and climbed some rocky foothills into what looked like a valley, surrounded on all sides by rocky peaks. Perfect!! I love exploring new areas. Lets go check it out.

Desert Smoke Tree under a cloudy sky. Just prior to this hike, I had upgraded my old iPhone 6 to an iPhone 12, so many of these photos were taken using my new phone.

It turned out to be a perfect day to be out exploring, and the wash I was following was a nice one. As usual for this part of Joshua Tree, I wouldn't see another human being all day. Not even any footprints in the wash I was following (sharp-eyed observers might notice footprints in the photo above, which are mine). 

*** Disturbing Photo Alert ***
You may want to skip past this one...
Not sure I should have posted this photo of a rabbit I came across in the wash. It seemed like a recent kill, and I couldn't imagine what kind of predator would eat just the head and leave the rest. Certainly not a coyote, fox or bobcat, which would eat the entire rabbit. I Googled it and found out it was likely an owl. They are known to swoop in and eat the head right off small animals like rabbits. That was news to me. One theory is that it can be difficult for the owl to fly away with such a large catch. I also learned that indigestible parts (bone, fur) are later regurgitated as a round "pellet" (vs. being pooped out). I've seen their pellets many times, but was never sure what they were. OK, enough about the gross biology of owls, and sorry if I offended anyone. Moving on...
Big rock being held up by little rock.

As I followed the wash, I noticed what I assumed to be two shallow alcoves up in the rocks. The one on the left looks steep and difficult to access, but I decided to check out the one on the right. The opening had a deep shadow so no way of knowing how far it penetrated into the rocks. Likely a dead end, but let's go see...
This entry wasn't exactly spacious!
Imagine my surprise when I ducked inside and found this! Wow, not a shallow alcove at all, but a cave. The other "alcove opening" was actually a second opening into this large, spacious cave. What a cool find!
Heck, with a little tidying up, you could live in this place!
Let's continue on our hike and check out a little more desert scenery...

Just me and my shadow out enjoying this hike!

A very large alcove (taken with my 400mm lens)

Yet another large alcove and, on the right, an arch. These will have to wait for another time to explore, although I have my doubts about being able to get to them. Who knows, perhaps that alcove has never been explored. 

My favorite arch find of the hike.

I wonder if there's any way to climb up to this unusual rock formation??

I came to an area where the ground was littered with thousands of beautiful rose quarts. A rock-lovers paradise!
Was it just my imagination, or was this dude with a hat watching me??

Definitely being watched!

When the rock formations start watching me, that's usually a signal that I should start heading back! This had been a recent favorite hike. I love exploring new areas and finding new arches, alcoves, etc. 
On the hike back to my car, I said hello and goodbye to my old friend, Majestic Arch. I've climbed up there three times now. I haven't posted photos from my most recent visit, but I will be in the weeks ahead.

Thanks for joining me on this adventure!
Stay safe & stay healthy.
Linking with Skywatch Friday.