Thursday, October 25, 2018

Quail Springs Pump House

I think this location qualifies as one of Joshua Tree National Park's "secret spots". I won't give away the location other than to say it's a mile or less from Samuelson's Rocks (which is itself somewhat of a secret location). No signs, no trails, no mention in any NPS brochures. Just a water pump out in the middle of nowhere! I had seen pics and a blog post or two, and knew the approximate location, but it was still like looking for the proverbial needle in the haystack. After scouring Google Maps, I noticed a very small square object and thought that might be the pump house. Then again, it might just be a square rock!
We had some dramatic skies for the hike to the pump house. The hike also included a visit to Samuelson's Rocks and an old homestead location, but those have been covered on previous posts.

I think it's somewhere over there!!
 In our search for the pump house, we crossed this wash which contained all kinds of interesting old pipe and other debris. I knew something had to be "upstream" from here!

Eureka! We found it!! 


Cousin Scott checking out the pump and mechanism. It appears it might have been belt-driven, with a belt turning the wheel on the pump (left side) to pump the water.



The really cool thing about this pump is that it still works!! Move the pump handle up and down and it pumps water out the black pipe to the metal water holder you see here. There was water in the container and I'll bet critters come by after dark to get a drink here on a regular basis. I was tempted to taste the water but decided it might not be too clean once it passes through the rusty pipe. Had it been a typical hot desert day, I could have soaked my head with genuine Joshua Tree well water!

I'm sharing a video from my friend Elliot Koeppel's blog post, which you can check out here


I took my fisheye lens on this hike, so I'm required to share a couple shots. One is barbed wire in the Samuelson corral area, and the second is the signed rock. Such an interesting and bizarre area!

Time to start the hike back. Look at these beautiful desert skies!!

During part of the hike, you can follow the old double-track trail. But it disappears after a while.

A final parting shot.

"Leave only footprints, take only photos"
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

55 comments:

  1. Hello, beautiful skies and landscapes. The Pump house is a neat find. Great photos and post. I have always loved the "Leave only footprints" quote! Enjoy your day, have a great weekend ahead.

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  2. Beautiful photos! Finding that pump must have been so exciting, and then it still works!

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  3. Everything is beautiful but that first photo grabbed me. An amazing shot of clouds

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  4. You always find such intriguing places and lovely sky shots!

    Happy Day to you,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  5. What an amazing find in the middle of the desert. Lovely photos as always.

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  6. Great shots! Imagine how hot that pump house got during the height of the summer!

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  7. I'm away for several months and come back to find that you are still taking amazing hikes and shots in the desert...kudos...

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  8. Exciting that your found the pump.

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  9. That is so cool! As usual, your shots are amazing. The desert is breathtaking!

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  10. I was wondering if there was still any water in that well. Have you heard about how they're trying to tap the ground water from the desert for farming and such? It would destroy that ecosystem.

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    1. Thanks, Liz. Yes, one of the most controversial ones that I am familiar with is Cadiz Water. It would pump groundwater from the desert to south Orange County. The problem is that there are very few springs and oasis left in the desert. Most have dried up. You are correct... tapping the ground water can potentially destroy this fragile ecosystem.

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  11. How fascinating that that pump house and pump is still there and still working! You find the most fascinating things out there in that desert.

    Our community had a pump house that dates back to when this area was a cattle ranch. It seems to channel water from a nearby creek into the stable area. Our historical society had it restored, photographed and then sealed to keep wildlife, kids out as it is in the middle of homes amd trails.

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  12. The pump is totally cool! Great that it still works.

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  13. Another interesting post. Amazing photos.

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  14. Looks pretty hot over there. But the view is great. Have a nice day

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  15. Wow - wonderful clouds and what a charming little hut/shed.

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  16. I wonder how old the pump and its house are... All are wonderful, but the two last pictures would be envied by ANY photographer. Well done, my friend.

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    1. Thanks, Bill, you're too kind!! Wish I knew more about the history of this old pump house. I'm guessing it's one of the locations people used to go to fill up barrels of water and take back to their homestead cabins.

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  17. Oh my gosh!! How exciting. Love the pump house and the signed rock
    MB

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  18. So when the track disappears how do you find your way? Great sky shots interesting pump that still works.

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    1. Hi Diane. Thanks for your comment. I have GPS markers on my phone that I follow. I do a fair amount of research before my hikes to place markers on my map to follow, since there are no trails.

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  19. Beautiful just beautiful. Some superb photos bof the park. The pump is a seat find and being in working order. Don't think there is anything wrong with the water coming through rusty pipes so long as it is running clear

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  20. And just al those discoveries. Amazing that the pump still works.

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  21. I've enjoyed your post about this hike. Great that you found the old pump, it's hard to imagine it still works in the hard conditions overthere.
    Your skies are beautiful with those partly dramatic clouds

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  22. Mother flings a little humidity here and there and creates wonderful works of art.

    She's special

    Just like JTP

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  23. I sincerely hope that your blog a rapid increase in traffic density,
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  24. A breath taking series, wow!

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  25. That pump looks almost like a surrealist installation in that isolated location. The landscape and your photography are as impressive as ever. "Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos, kill nothing but time" is the version I'm familiar with.

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  26. Awesome shots! That pump house is impressive and it still works which is incredible. Thanks for the link to the video.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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  27. The desert can be full of surprises... you never get bored.
    Have a nice weekend!

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  28. Thank you so much for taking us along! Apppreciated

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  29. What a marvelous adventure you had!! hard to believe the old water well still works. And I wouldn't have tried the water either.

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  30. I would have definitely drank some of that water!

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  31. Well that's pretty cool having a water pump out in the middle of the desert.

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  32. Not a very good road for my little Toyota.

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  33. Those are some beautiful skies, love the fisheye lens effect!

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  34. A psychologist would have such fun trying to analyze some of the things you find. Mankind at his strangest; nature at its finest.

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  35. It must have been really hot ! Coming from a tropical country I admire your enthusiasm for walking in the hot sun ! Your landscape reminded me of ‘Mackenna’s Gold ‘ . I felt hot just seeing the movie ! Well shot

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  36. The pictures from your hikes are always interesting. Must be exciting to have found the pump house and that it still works.

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  37. Not only wild skies but also a wild landscape

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  38. Lots of awesome photos here. I love how the sky "meets" the land.

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  39. I love fisheye photos. What a cool find in no-where's-ville. I hope critters are able to get a drink. Expansive, epic views too.

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  40. It is truly a different world, and the presence of the water pump make it still in the world. hahaha. Your photos are always great. Thanks for the tour which is so different from us here.

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  41. What a rewarding adventure you had. Your photos are wonderful. This looks like such a great place to go exploring.

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  42. Amazing skies and that pump house is such an interesting find.

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  43. Those skies are spectacular, especially the one in your first photo. I love the sound of a pump handle. You'd get more than your daily recommended dose of iron out of a sip of that stuff though!

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  44. Always beautiful photos. I wonder how long ago the pump was used regularly?

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  45. Amazing the pump house is still there AND it works. I would have expected someone to scavenge that metal … The fisheye shots are a real treat in this post - the fence with barbed wire has to be my favorite … And thanks for sharing the 'to die for' skies!

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  46. I’m glad you understand that you are required to share you pictures ))! This was wonderful...the pump house ...and working pump yet ...out there in the middle of all that desert beauty and solitude....what an interesting find...and that rock too....you wonder about the people.

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  47. You did nice job with fisheye lens. It's always cool to find something secret.

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