Thursday, October 11, 2018

Squaw Tank Area

Squaw Tank is one of the stops along Geology Tour Road (GTR) in Joshua Tree National Park. GTR is one of my favorite off-road drives in the Park. I've driven by Squaw Tank many times, and I've stopped a couple times to check out the "tank", but I've never really taken time to hike and explore the area beyond the tank. So I figured I was long overdue.
Hopefully you can see my little squiggles on this screen shot. GTR, which runs N/S, is easy to spot. Look closely and you can see the small turn off and parking area on the right side of GTR. Squaw Tank is a very short hike from the parking area. That's about as far as most people explore. Today's hike explores the prominent rocky outcroppings in the area (red circle). Side note: you can get to this area in a 2WD vehicle. Beyond Squaw Tank, 4WD is strongly recommended.

Photo of Squaw Tank, courtesy of my friend Elliot Koeppel over at http://cali49.com
I didn't come to check out the tank today, but I did want to check out a little-known and hard to see inscription that's on the dam.
Unless you knew this was here and you were actively looking for it, it's very unlikely you would notice the faint inscription:
Little William age seven
He died and went to heaven
We can't always sometimes tell
But Little Willie might have went to HELL

Who wrote this and when? Who was Little William?? Another of many bizarre desert mysteries, but it seems kind of mean-spirited to me. Can't help but feel sorry for Little Willie!

The first thing I did is hike up to the top of the boulders south of Squaw Tank. From this vantage point, there are some incredible views! In the photo above, looking SE, you have a beautiful view of Pleasant Valley and beyond.

I passed by this boulder on the hike up the hill. Kind of reminds me of a hippo. What do you think??

Looking north: Geology Tour Road, the turn off and parking area for Squaw Tank, and Malapai Hill

Looking south: the junction of Geology Tour Road


Interesting rock formation near the parking area. See the shelter?
Inside the rock shelter
Behind Squaw Tank. Look closely and you can see the top of the dam in the center of the photo.



Seemed like the further away I got from the parking area, the more interesting the rock formations got!

X marks the spot... rocky dike or intrusion in the granite.

Another little rocky alcove.
View from inside looking out of the alcove. Sorry about the foot!

Yet another alcove. This area seems to be full of them!

View from inside looking out of the Bat Cave!
Beautiful view toward Malapai Hill

 I found it interesting how the cosmic stonemason seems to have laid these perfectly level sheets of rock over the monzogranite. Amazing!

Perhaps my favorite shot of the day. Something very calming about the location and the late afternoon light.

Sharp, rocky spires!


Joshua Tree with Malapai Hill in the background.
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!
"Take only pictures, leave only footprints"

43 comments:

  1. What an incredible landscape! Beautifully photographed.

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  2. I love those desert vistas with broad areas of bright blue sky!

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  3. Fantastic Photography of a very intriguing place ~ such an adventure for you and us ~ thanks, ^_^

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

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  4. You had some beautiful blue skies for your hike, as I recall that is not always the case at Joshua Tree. I enjoyed seeing the rock formation through your lens.

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  5. Beautiful photos - great rocks all over your desert!

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  6. You are the ever intrepid explorer, crawling into snake dens, I mean alcoves. All by yourself.

    Great photos and a great adventure.

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  7. You are the kind ambassador of places I shall never otherwise see

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  8. Beautiful capture and a neat description as always!

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  9. Of course the more interesting stuff is farther from the parking lot. It seems like we've gotten so lazy that no one goes very far from their cars.

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  10. Very interesting rocks formations. It would be interesting to know the story behind little Willie's death and burial. It is mean to write that on his epitaph.

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  11. Little Willy in the best of sashes, fell in the fire and burned to ashes. Also a tad mean-spirited I've always thought. But let us not swell on mean spirits. There're plenty of those around. These pictures are especially tactile today. Your work is always spectacular!

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  12. Absolutely amazing rock formations. fab photos too.

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  13. Stunning I love seeing your photos of the desert. Tht is a strange inscription to find on a dam in the desert like that, bet ithas you intregued

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  14. Such cool rock formations. I love the inscription you found too.

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  15. Wonderful shots of a strange and amazing landscape.

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  16. Beauty as far as you can look. The boulder looks for me more like a turtle head but okee a hippo wil do also.

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  17. You can let go your fantas in these different rock shapes ! The little Willie inscription is so cute !

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  18. Hello, the landscapes and rock formations are beautiful. Wonderful series of photos. Enjoy your day and weekend!

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  19. That landscape is incredible. Its other worldly. Great photos.

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  20. Amazing captures and an eerie poem.

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  21. Okay, you had me off reading about monzogranite and fractional crystallization. Hope you're proud of yourself, as though I had nothing better to do! :)

    I think it was a turtle head.

    Nice shots, as always.

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  22. Those rock formations are indeed amazing. The hippo is perfect... even the eye is visible! The black and white shots remind me of a lunar landscape.
    Enjoy your hikes!

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  23. So much to see for such a sparse-looking place. I thought the pink rock looked like a pig.

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  24. So gorgeous...and a cute poem..and on first pass your hippo looked like a pig to me.

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  25. Quite a spectacular area but I do feel sorry for whoever William is.

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  26. Poor William, I feel sorry for him too. Beautiful images of the stunning landscape. I could see that rock resembling a hippo. It's amazing to see some of the big rocks reminding us of differnt things.
    Have a wonderful weekend.

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  27. Lovely desert photos, and your black and white favorite is also my favorite. Thanks for stopping by my blog and saying hi! :)

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  28. Oh la! The cosmic stonemason outdid him/herself here and as always you have captured the magic. I absolutely believe young Willie went to heaven, he wasn't old enough to be bad 😀😀

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  29. You are so fortunate to live near to such an amazing place! The rock formations are so interesting and like clouds they seem to change shapes and tickle the imagination. I also feel bad for Little Willie if he were a real person. Maybe it was an old time rhyme or graffitti in the view of "Kilroy was here" ?

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  30. Another wonderful series of desert pics ! Interesting rock formations... and yes, it is a hippo.

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  31. What an interesting landscape and that sky is just ... amazing. The inscription is funny and someone went to a lot of work to memorialize little Willie. Or maybe he made him up! I love your photos.

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  32. I liked the shot of Pleasant Valley - it occurs to me that this is how much of the landscape appeared before we started putting houses on it ….

    I also imagined that the 'intrusion' might have been a dinosaur backbone, and that the rocky spires were the jawbone of a giant that needed some serious dental work. Yep, imagination on overdrive right now!

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  33. you must feel like a kid in a big giant playground (and I mean that as a huge compliment....I’d love to play there... so much to appeal to the imagination... caves, climbing, and even hippos). However, must admit that the pictures with blue sky appeal to me more because the approaching evening ones bring out the old lady side of me...it’s time to get home when the sun goes down )).

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  35. Both of my son were boy scouts.
    Coffee is on

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