Thursday, July 26, 2018

Sliced Bread

I only have time for a quick post today. On my last hike I was out searching for some petroglyphs and pictographs in Joshua Tree National Park. I'll do a full post on this hike at a later date, but I came across this funny rock formation that reminded me of a loaf of bread.
Then again, I had been hiking for quite a while and was feeling hungry, so my brain might have been playing tricks on me! What do you think... sliced bread? Perhaps stone-ground wheat??

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

Twin Tanks Petroglyphs

I posted last week about Pat Tillett and I tromping around the desert (remember? 6.8 miles; 18,711 steps; 13 floors) looking for petroglyphs which we never found. It was bugging the heck out of me because I know we were very close. After doing a bit more research, I was pretty sure I knew how to get to them and I was itching to try again! You might recall we hit a dead end (a dry fall) which we couldn't get around. Anyway, I'm keeping the location secret except to say it's somewhere in the Twin Tanks area. That's a BIG area, so I don't think any knuckleheads or troublemakers will find the petroglyphs based on my description here. The location also has something else in its favor: it's remote.
If you get to this remote spot in the wash, I'll be impressed! Somewhere in this general neck of the woods there are petroglyphs. Not a lot of petroglyphs... just a few that I am aware of, but in pretty good shape.

See the petroglyphs?
I didn't take this photo (wish I would have!). Photo credit goes to DzrtGrls at (used with permission). They have an extensive knowledge of all things desert, and their detailed posts have been super helpful to me over the years. They are careful not to give too many secrets away about locations, but they often seem to drop little hints. That's how I got interested in the Twin Tanks petroglyphs.

You have to climb up into a little side wash to get to the petroglyph location.

Connecting circular patterns with anthropomorphic pattern in the middle. Interesting and mysterious!

I have no idea what these rectangular patterns represent.
I felt a nice sense of accomplishment in finally locating the petroglyphs, and the surrounding area is really pretty. Also remote enough that I'm not seeing human footprints very often. Exactly the kind of place I like to explore, so let's keep going!
A little further up the wash, I came across some intense colors that I'm not used to seeing...a large white quartz boulder (what's it doing here??) next to a yellow shrub. The late afternoon sun was shining in at an angle, highlighting things nicely.

Hmmmm... I try to avoid boulder-filled washes like this whenever possible. It's a good way to twist an ankle or worse. I don't see any way around them, so I'll forge on (very carefully!). As it turned out, I found an easier way back so I only had to cross these boulders once.

Glad I decided to continue on, as the rock formations are decidedly interesting. The only sound is that of my own footsteps and the occasional chirping bird.

Push the button?? Reminds me of something off a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" movie where you push the button and boulders start moving and shifting around!

Just another Joshua Tree bowling ball!

This was interesting, and the photo doesn't do it justice. Viewed on Google Earth, I had marked a waypoint at this spot and called it "the wall". There is a perfectly straight line of rock for about 200' and very visible in satellite view. It looks like someone built a wall here thousands of years ago. Of course, that's not what happened, but I always marvel over some of the stuff nature creates! Oh, and a nice moonrise just to add interest to the photo!

Rocky cairn? Nope, another rocky structure courtesy of Mother Nature.

Yet another weird geologic formation. These craggly rocks cover a large area, but they are not boulders. It's the top of a huge, weather-worn, rock formation. In between the rocky nooks and crannies is solid rock. It occurs to me that this area would capture and hold quite a bit of water after a rain, and I'm guessing the local critters take advantage of that.

My favorite sky shot of the day (actually, just past sunset). A great hike and glad to have found the petroglyphs and explore some remote areas I've never seen. Only bummer was my partner in crime (PT) didn't get to join me on this hike. There's always next time!

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Twin Tanks Hike #3

6.8 miles, 18,711 steps, and 13 floors later, my friend Pat Tillett and I still hadn't found what we were looking for. This was my third hike in the Twin Tanks area, and Pat and I were on the lookout for some petroglyphs.

After hiking in, across, and around the maze of desert washes that criss-cross the area, we came to a dead end. The dry fall (above photo) blocks further progress up the wash. The good news is that we were getting close. Rumor has it that the petroglyphs are somewhere beyond this dryfall. How far beyond we had no clue, but we don't give up easily!

Pat checking out signs of Native American activity
We decided to backtrack, look for an easy way to exit the wash, and circle around the hills. Our goal was to eventually reconnect with the wash about a half mile or so beyond the dryfall "dead end". I had studied the area carefully on Goggle Earth and told Pat it should be easy. Ha, was I ever wrong!! Like I said, 6.8 miles, 18,711 steps, and 13 floors later and nothing to show for it. Well, that's not true. No petroglyphs, but we had a great hike, saw lots of cool stuff, and took lots of photos. The petroglyphs will wait for another day! Here are some of the photos.

Exiting the wash gives us a nice view of the Pinto Basin.

Yours truly holding a pottery sherd that Pat found. 

Pat checking out one of the two tanks that Twin Tanks is named after.

Alien seed pod? Dinosaur egg??

This alien pod appears to have hatched. Uh ohh.....

Pat finds this curious rock design waaaaaay out in the middle of nowhere. After a bit of study, he figures out it's a compass and the headings are accurate!

Lego rock? Binoculars??

 Finally!!! We make it back to (what we think is) the wash about 1/2 mile or so above the dry fall. Unfortunately, we hit an impassable dead end after just a short distance.

Emoji rock??
Mushroom rock?

No shortage of rocks, that's for sure!

I think this is the little alien UFO that NASA's been looking for. Or perhaps 1/2 an avocado??
Photo credit: P. Tillett

Big huge square rock. No other big rock formations in this area, and it really stands out when you see it!

Big, open desert vistas on this hike. One of those hikes where it's hard to look down to see where you are putting your feet!
Shortly after sunset the sky lit up in amazing colors! So we never did find the petroglyphs, but the beautiful skies and great hike made for an outstanding day!

Twin Tanks, we will be back!!

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Fourth of July Skies!

Joshua Tree National Park doesn't shoot off any fireworks in celebration of Independence Day (thankfully!). But if they did, it might look something like this:

This year, we stayed in town (didn't go out to JTree) and had a backyard BBQ and celebrated my daughter's birthday (yes, born on the Fourth of July!). Then we found a strategic spot to view our city's fireworks display.
I took this photo last year, but we returned to the same location this year (see below). Our city puts on an impressive fireworks display!

My granddaughter standing in front of our house, with the sun setting behind her. This photo is about a year old, and it's one of my favorites!

A few shots from last night... Above is my daughter watching my granddaughter swinging some glow sticks. Fun shot with about a 2 second exposure. Below are shots of our city's fireworks display.

For those of you celebrating, I hope you had a great Independence Day!
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