Thursday, June 7, 2018

Stirrup Tank Lookout

Like most of my hikes, this one doesn't follow any established trails. After following a lonely desert road in Joshua Tree National Park for about a mile or two, I ended up at a small sandy parking lot in the Stirrup Tank area. From there, it's just rocks and open desert. There are no established trails in the area that I know of.
I'd been studying Google Earth after my First Visit to the area and was anxious for a second hike. I noticed an area that looked like a ramp (yellow arrow above) that dropped off steeply to one side. Rocks on the left, rocks on the right, but this "ramp" looked like a smooth ascent up to what I was hoping would be a beautiful, elevated lookout point. The blue lines on the map (above) are my actual hiking tracks. I ended up hiking a ways past my designated lookout point because things got really interesting. But I'm getting ahead of myself!

Of course, as I've said before, things look much different when you're on the ground in the desert vs. at home looking at GE on your computer! My smooth ramp turned out to be steep and rocky, but still doable. On the map above, you can see the red line I followed heading up the "ramp" to the lookout point (circle/arrow).


On the hike around the rocks over to the "ramp" area, I was treated to some nice open desert views (two photos above). In the first photo above, I'm pretty sure one of those hills on the far horizon is the Crown Prince Lookout. At this point, I'm really enjoying the hike. After getting a short distance away from the parking area, I didn't see a single person for the rest of my hike.

Just before getting to the ramp, I spotted some large boulders that looked interesting, so went over to check them out. It looked like they would provide pretty decent shelter and shade in a pinch.

Let's take a closer look:
Wow, very cool! A remote shelter with fire ring. I have no idea how old it is, but the soot on the rock indicates the fire ring has been used.

Going a little deeper into the "Fire Ring Shelter", this is the view out the other side. A nice, comfy shelter!

Still heading up the "ramp" at this point in my hike, but these are the views that I was hoping for! Interesting how the Joshua trees seem to lean in to the hill.  

Finally at the top of the "ramp", things are leveling out and the views seem to go on forever!

Exploring beyond the lookout, the rock formations are beautiful and interesting, and the area had that remote feel. It's likely that this area sees very few visitors. Only one problem: The sun was setting (you can see the horizontal light in my shadow selfie) so I had very little time to explore or I would be hiking home in the dark!

Mohave Yucca and a huge view!

Nice little rock shelter.

Sharp Tooth rock??

Nope, not going to name this one. Use your imagination!


Mojave Yucca sunset.

Linking with Skywatch Friday.
 Hope you enjoyed joining me on this desert hike.
Thanks for stopping by!!

44 comments:

  1. You photos from every visit are completely different, it's awe inspiring to me.

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  2. This is such a beautiful area. I have a terrible sense of direction, so I admire your ability to navigate this area.

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  3. You always capture so well the unique beauty of the desert. Beautifully done. Have a marvellous weekend.

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  4. I always enjoy a walk in the desert with you. I love your light photography - the sun in the bright blue sky.

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  5. Splendid. I do enjoy your images and stories

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  6. Very mysterious terrain and rock formations ... almost as if from another planet.

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  7. Superb the scenery and sunset were simply beautiful

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  8. Awesome shots. I like that unique vegetation too...

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  9. Hello, beautiful views of the desert. I love the rock formations, the Joshua Trees and the Yucca plant. Cool shadow shot. Lovely sunset. Happy Friday, enjoy your day and weekend!

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  10. Beautiful desert scenes! Those huge rocks are amazing
    Have a wonderful weekend!

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  11. You manage to surprise every week again with those strange desert scenes.

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  12. What an arduous hike! Thanks for taking us along through your gorgeous photos!

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  13. Love seeing these photos. The 5th one intrigues me as it is not from nature. It appears carved and part of something else at one time. The ring around it is what intrigues me.
    That must have been a wonderful day out taking those photos. Very very cool.

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  14. ahhh

    ohhh

    I wish I could trade some of my pine and oak woods for your views once in a while.

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  15. All wonderful desert shots ~ Favorite is the BW with your shadow!

    Happy Weekend to you,
    ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor

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  16. Wonderful photos! I visited Mojave desert two years ago and it was such an out of this world experience. Such a different but stunning landscape. Your photos brought me back to it.

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  17. Oh wow! Incroyable images SPP, love the wide open views! The rock formations are fantastic too, some interesting formations 😀 The light in the just before and actual sunset is too too beautiful ✨

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  18. I admire your adventuresome spirit!! Into what looks like snake heaven to me.

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  19. Another great set of images and narrative!! Personally, I like flat....

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  20. you always have such beautiful places to share. I think you can hike the area for a year without visiting the same place twice :) Love it!

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  21. I love deserts ! Nice pictures !!

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  22. Our hikes are very different, but that's one of the glories of blogging - we each get to share the beauty of our own locales! It warms my heart to see that there are vast stretches of desert that ARE vast and unpopulated by anything other than a fire circle of indeterminate age!

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  23. I enjoyed hiking with you. What an adventure!

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  24. Thanks for this wonderful walk in the desert with you.
    Fantastic photos.
    Greetings
    Maria
    Divagar Sobre Tudo um Pouco

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  25. What beautiful lighting in your last few photos. I am so grateful that you take us with you, virtually speaking.

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  26. Amazing desert images, thanks for sharing.
    Happy weekend!

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  27. Your photo's are as always right to the point and beautiful in the grand splendor of nature. Love those desert shots. So different from our normal surroundings.

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  28. Wonderfully, rocky scenery ! I really like your post good blog on site,Thanks for your sharing.

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  29. You find art in those rocks! I loved the sunset ones. Your desert landscape is so different from my water world but I love coming here and seeing what you have found on your walks.

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  30. I love your desert shots !

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  31. Thanks for stopping by my Ocala blog and I thoroughly enjoyed your desert hike, having lived for a number of years in the Phoenix area. Glad you made it back safely.

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  32. Interesting rock formations. I love your previous post, especially the last photo, very effective :-)

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  33. I really likes your blog! You have shared the whole concept really well and very beautifully soulful read!Thanks for sharing.
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  34. Yet another great post Pete! Great photos and a very interesting running narrative sure keeps my attention. It sure is a fantastic place.

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  35. Walks with you are always fantastic experience.

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