Thursday, September 28, 2017

Crown Prince Lookout Hike Update

I posted a couple weeks ago about one of my favorite hikes in Joshua Tree, the Crown Prince Lookout Hike. I mentioned that there is very little known about the lookout, other than it was rumored to be a enemy aircraft warning station during WW2. I wasn't able to find any documentation on this... just rumor and word of mouth type stuff. Turns out my friend Pat over at http://patricktillett.blogspot.com/ had some information on the Crown Prince Lookout that he was able to find on his extensive hard drive full of data about Joshua Tree that he shared with me:
"The Split Rock Station (now referred to as Crown Prince Lookout) was activated on February 28, 1943. The station was designed by the Forest Service similar to their fire lookout towers to be 10 feet square primarily composed of windows and cedar shingle roof. The living quarters (an Army house trailer) were 50 feet below the station and accessed by a wooden stairway. The water tank had a 250 gallon capacity and sat on eight-foot stilts. And, a twenty foot pole to support a radio antenna. It remained on the peak for eighteen years until burned by vandals in 1961."
Pat even had a photo in his files of the lookout station and adjacent antenna. How cool is that?? And perhaps even cooler... there is supposedly a second lookout location in the Park somewhere (future hike alert!!). Again, a huge thanks to Pat for providing this historical information.

Based on the above information, I'm pretty sure the mysterious 3' x 3' concrete block on top of the Crown Prince Lookout must have been used to support the 20' radio antenna. There are multiple anchor bolts surrounding the concrete block, and there is still a heavy support wire dangling off the edge of the lookout from the block. Side note: If you are up on the Lookout exploring this area, be very careful not to trip over this wire. It's a good 30' straight down to the rocks below!
Look closely and you will see a heavy wire hanging over the rocks. This wire is still attached to the concrete block.

This photo is near the concrete block, and does a better job illustrating how steep the drop-off is from up on top of the Lookout!

One point of confusion for me has to do with the old photo of the station that Pat found. The rock formations don't look like anything like what I've seen up on the Crown Prince Lookout. If the radio antenna was on the concrete block (as I suspect) and the station is next to it, the Crown Prince Lookout has a steep, straight drop-off. I wonder if this might be the second lookout location that Pat mentioned? Clearly, more research and future hikes will be necessary!!

Also of interest up on the Lookout is this piece of cement with a metal plate in the middle. Although a piece of the concrete is broken off so you can't see the full name, it's signed by "Mandersche... 1961" (you may have to enlarge the photo to see this). May be someone named Manderscheen? Mandersched? We may never know. There's a second signature in the concrete that's not as clear. The 1961 date is interesting. That's the year the station burned down and it stopped being operational. I can imaging the military coming in and cleaning up and removing everything following the fire. Perhaps Mandershe... was part of the clean up crew?

Here's a nice view from up on top of Crown Prince. You can see the concrete block and the distant hills and mountains in the background. I took a ton of photos on this hike, so let me share a few more with you. Most of the following were taken during the hike back.

Another shot from up on top before heading down!

Yours truly... looking for that perfect shot!

We had an in-depth discussion... Is it harder to climb up or down? I think the consensus was going down is easier. Either way, it's a steep climb!







Golden light of late afternoon, AKA "the golden hour"!



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Thanks for stopping by!!

44 comments:

  1. I never knew deserts were so beautiful.

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  2. Really fascinating info shared by Pat and it occurred to me that the photo might have been from the second lookout position.
    Any which way you look, the scenery and skies are phenomenally beautiful! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Wow, some amazing photos. Thanks for sharing them :)

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  4. Sperbe hike a wonderful photos, love the ones taken on the way back

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  5. This landscape is just incredible. I love it.

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  6. Interesting, for sure. But your desert shots were absolutely incredible. By the way, I love the one in which the Joshua Tree appears to be being held up. Too many westerns, I think. Another wonderful post.

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  7. Some beautiful views there. Hiking must be an incredible adventure in the desert especially when you come across interesting things and can find info on them. I would think both going up or going down are equally hard, in any case you have to watch where the feet go.:)

    Great post and have a great day.

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  8. i kinda think that rumours add to the mystery about an area, don't you think?

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  9. Wonderful pics and interesting history -- you and Patrick are a good team. UP the hill takes more muscle work, but going down when you wear bifocals can be a bit scary I don't have to wear them any more (after eye surgery) but unfortunately I don't do very strenuous hikes any more either.

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  10. Great follow-up post Pete. As always, your photos are "top shelf" quality.
    Looking at the lower right corner of the lookout shack. It looks like it's foundation might be 6X6 posts, either anchored by something else, or dropped into "post holes." I can imagine it getting really windy up there, so it had to be secured by something. Talk about crummy military duty!

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    1. On the other side of the metal piece (across from Mandersche..., If you flip the photo, there is another name with what looks like "61" under it. It looks like maybe Garcia, or Garfin... or who knows! Maybe you can make it out better on your original image. Might be a clue!

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    2. Thanks again, Pat. Your background info. is so helpful and interesting! I would like to print out the photo of the lookout station and take it with me next time I hike up to the Crown Prince... see if I can match up the rock formations. Also, looking forward to a future hike when we can try to locate Lookout #2!

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    3. If I enlarge and flip the concrete signatures, it looks like "Carlin" or perhaps "Carlile" with a 61 below it. Another small piece in the mystery puzzle!

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    4. Yep, that will be fun! Especially if we find it...

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  11. The views are just gorgeous - as are your photos.

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  12. Wonderful photos!
    Amazing landscape!

    Greetings, Maje

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  13. Fascinating read.. and your captures are beyond beautiful.

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  14. Fabulous shots and scenery and an intriguing mystery. I'd be interested to know which enemy aircraft were thought to have the range (presumably, launched from a carrier) in 1943 and what the potential targets were. Clearly, by the 50s the threat had changed. Would it still be classified? It's not as lung-bursting going down, that's for sure!

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  15. Fascinatinng info on the lookout and your shots of the sky are glorious

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  16. Hello, beautiful view of the desert and sky. It is interesting learning about the lookout. The last sky image is gorgeous! Happy Friday, enjoy your weekend!

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  17. Nice story again about the viewing post.

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  18. NIce shots. Every time I visit with you I moon over my youth, hiking the desert with my GSD, Prince, when life was simple and carefree (and I didn't know what a tree looked like...haha)

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  19. Beautiful sunset through the rocks

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  20. Amazing landscapes, and what beautiful skies!

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  21. Fabulous photos, especially the last one. Thanks for sharing.

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  22. Some shriekingly wonderful shots! I love such things and places, but lack your courage and efforting :)

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    1. ... And therefore most appreciative of your posts

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  23. Again ~ a beautiful place and fantastic sky shots ~ soooo beautiful! ~ thanks, ^_^

    (A ShutterBug Explores) Thanks for coming by my blog and commenting.

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  24. That is all pretty fascinating. Cool that there was a lookout. What a lonely place. The piece about the trailer reminded me that when I was a kid and Dad the Forest Ranger was stationed in Coyote, New Mexico. It was such a remote place that the forest service had an old house trailer for people to stay when they came out on business and had a to stay more than the day. There were no motels nor restaurants for miles.

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  25. That last picture blows my mind! Excellent photograph. I look forward to seeing images that you take weekly. You are an amazing photographer. Keep up the good work.

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  26. How awesome terrain. It draws the human to muted. The photos are wonderful.
    I think climbing down is more difficult, but upwards it is heavier.

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  27. Interesting stuff. I'm sure you will let us know if you find out more info. Joshua Tree always has amazing skies. Love images 14 & 15

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  28. Beautiful desert images, as always. I think climbing down is harder!

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  29. Breathtaking view of the desert! Have a great day!

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  30. I love the random things you find in the desert. Beautiful capture of the desert and Joshua Trees. Love it! =)

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  31. Very insightful indeed and the photos are spectacular.

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  32. Very interesting post. Thank you for sharing. Pictures are beautiful as always.

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  33. That kind of hiking hasn't been for me for a longggg time (I've had balance issues a lot of my life) what a wonderful treasure you have shared with us (among the other treasures you have shared with us.) Yes, take more hikes, please continue to share!

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  34. It's so sad to see the destruction and as someone with asthma, I pray for everyone's health too.

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  35. I agree with the comment about enemy planes and range and such. no way they would place plane spotters that far from the coast, if I were to guess I would think it had something to do with Army Air Force training or even a beacon for navigation

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