Monday, September 14, 2020

Lost Arch Hike

Allow me to escape back out to the desert for this post. Hiking in the middle of nowhere helps me clear my mind and, at least temporarily, forget about all the challenges and issues going on right now.

A number of months ago I had the opportunity to hike with Cousin Curt (Scott is the cousin I usually hike with, just to avoid any confusion 😉) and my friend P.T. 

That's Curt on my right (your left)... thanks to P.T. for the photo. We had a specific destination we were heading to and limited time. The route we were traveling was a new one for me.

So you can imagine my surprise when we spotted this arch on our hike in. It looks like a beauty, and I couldn't recall anyone ever posting a photo of it. However, our primary destination was calling us, and trying to find a way up to this arch would be a serious, time-consuming detour. I snapped this photo and we continued on, but I knew I would be back soon. I gave it the name "lost arch" just in case I couldn't find it again!

Fast-forward two weeks later...

... lets go see if we can find "Lost Arch"!

My search for Lost Arch took place in mid-March. An absolutely gorgeous day with some wildflowers to keep me company.

Echinocactus polycephalus

This heart-shaped opening in the rock caught my eye.
Luckily, I found Lost Arch pretty easily. As I would soon learn, the hard part wasn't finding it but getting up the rocks to get a closer look! As I climbed my way down the rocky wash in the direction of the arch, I soon lost sight of it. As I got to the area that should have been just below the arch, it was not visible. Also, the rocky hillside was very steep. Hmm, this is going to be harder than I thought! I ended up continuing down the wash, and circling around to the back side of the rocks before make my ascent.
Finally, there it is, dead ahead! Getting over these very steep rocks to get a closer look is going to be a challenge. I think my poor camera got a couple new dings on this hike.
Ah, that's better. I'm trying to get a good angle so I can see blue sky through the arch, but these steep rocks could care less about what I want!
I take a short break from the climb to enjoy the view looking north and to catch my breath. I saw no cars parked along Highway 62 (which is the norm), so I have this entire area of Joshua Tree National Park to myself!
I'm nearly inside the arch now, and yes, you guessed it. I wonder if I can get through the arch and get some photos from the other side?? This is when you wish you weren't wearing a backpack and a full-frame camera. Oh well, let's give it a try...
Success! I've just squeezed through the arch and this is the view from the opposite direction (looking west now).

A little further away from the arch, there's a small scraggly juniper somehow clinging to life on the rocks. It adds some color and interest to the photo.
 The arch looks dramatic in b&w, and notice the sun is starting to drop behind the rocks. I better keep track of time because I still have some exploring to do, and I need to figure a way down off these rocks!
One last shot of this beautiful arch. Oh, and wait a moment, let me get a couple more of the surrounding desert. For me, last shots are almost never last shots!
The view north. Just for perspective, that rock with the pointy nose is about the size of a bus. It's huge, and looks like it might slide down at any moment!
And a last view east, looking at the Coxcombs. This time with the Juniper in front of me and Lost Arch at my back. And an important note... I shared photos of "Lost Arch" with my friend Mark R. who's done a lot of exploring in this area. I was surprised that he had already found it, photographed it, and named it "Dragon's Eye" Arch!

So now it's time to see if I can figure out a way to safely climb down off this pile of rocks. I guess you're just going to have to wait until next week to see if I'm successful, and if so, what else I find in this area. Until then...
Stay safe, stay healthy, and thanks for stopping by!!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.


  1. You know I thought that might be tough going from the first photo you showed of it. Good on you for getting there. What you need is a lighter FF camera like I just bought a Canon EOS R6. Take care

    1. I've given this a LOT of thought. Most of my money is tied up in my Canon lenses, so it limits my options. But my 5D MarkII is ancient by camera standards. Anyway, I read a review that said by the time you add the lens adaptor to the mirrorless camera body, you don't save much from a weight perspective. Still searching...

  2. Hello,

    As always, your photos are beautiful. They make me wish I could visit Joshua Tree NP.
    The skies, the wildflowers and the views are lovely. I love the arches and both the names Lost Arch and Dragon's Eye Arch. Another great hike and post. Take care, enjoy your day! Wishing you a great weekend ahead.

  3. your desert skies are always so unbelievably beautiful

  4. What a beautiful photo, the color one with the straggly juniper, the first one after you squeezed through! It does look like a dragon's eye.

  5. ...what a fabulous photo op! Much more appealing than you post of last week. Take care and I will look forward to your next installment.

  6. Such beautiful sky and the rock. Your posts always make me smile!

  7. Beautiful photos of Lost Arch or Dragon's Eye Arch. It's always interesting to see how nature has carved these rocks by erosion. I also loved seeing some of the unusual desert flowers and shrubs in your photos.

  8. Wow, that was really a challenge to get to. Dragon's eye makes sense, as dragons' hoards would be difficult to get to as well.

  9. The lost Dragon's Eye Arch. Oh, that needing to get the "one last photo". All of us feel that way, sometimes. Thank you (again) for taking us along,and I have a feeling you did safely make it off those rocks. But not without adventure...

  10. Some serious rock climbing you´ve got going on there. I´m impressed, couldn´t do it myself. Carrying all your gear and still manage to take impressive photos. Kudos!

  11. Dear ?,
    That was quite a daring adventure for climbing up to that new found arch!
    But the reward is great when capturing such fabulous photos with different light angles.
    Thanks for sharing and sorry for the dings to your camera...

  12. Another little window to the world and ohhhh, that sky! The flowers! And it is a heart indeed, beautiful nature.
    I bet you have the happiest camera ever. Mine only caught raindrops.
    The green plants there are truly a surprise for such a dry area, I did not expect that.
    Climbing up is ok, but down always is a pain for meeeee.....
    Thank you for sharing this beautiful hike!

  13. The combination of redbrown and blue is stunning as ever. Doesn't look that the air is polluted with smoke. Hope it keeps that way.

  14. Amazing! Such a beautiful place to hike.

  15. Truly amazing.
    Happy weekend. Greetings

  16. The skies over the Joshua Tree National Park are always spectacular SPP, do you think the cloud formations are created by the landscape below? This is exactly the kind of hiking my husband would enjoy, I love hiking but not so much the rock climbing 😊 Beautiful views through the Lost Arch 💙

  17. Another intrepid adventure from you. Great job.
    I wonder if you are going to find an arch someday, a smaller arch with the skeleton of a guy with a backpack and camera? Poor guy tried to squeeze through the arch but couldn't make it.

  18. To many people, the desert seems like such an empty, boring place. But to those who have eyes to see (as you do), the desert pulsates with energy, and new delights are just around the next corner, er, rock pile. :)

  19. Good luck with those rocks. They're the reason I just replaced my hiking shoes. :-)

  20. Spectacular photos. I'm so glad you have a few cousins who love to hike in the desert with you.

  21. The desert's beauty is always a joy to see it through your eyes. Awesome photos!
    Take care, stay safe, and I'll tune in for the next post to see what's up.

  22. Awesome photos I can see why you like that area ~ always amazing formations of rocks and beauty abounds ~ thanks ^_^

    Live each moment with love,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  23. Es una maravilla ese lugar y ese arco.Madgnificas fotos.

  24. I like your descriptive prose about the Lost Arch you managed to find as well as the name Dragon’s Eye, which suits the formation very well. :)

  25. The landscape you are showing us in this post reminds me of some scenes in "The Lord of the Rings". Especially the B&W shots.

  26. The lost arch would be something to come back to, and I like the point of a car/bus! It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful the desert is when the flowers are blooming!
    We came by this area on our way to Texas, and immediately thought about your posts! Looking at the road, it looked so innocent, nothing like a serious desert area would be behind it!
    The idea of moving in itself was not hard, I like new places, but now I am here, it is finding out how attached I have become only in a matter of 6 years to forest life! Daily, I am bringing up something we miss now, what an extra 1000 feet cannot give us back. Not to worry, once I changed countries, this should be easier, haha!

  27. Those were some wonderful views and glad you safely made the climb to the lost arch, which was now found. And, I'm figuring you made it safely down so you could complete this post. Stay safe in those climbs where there is no worry about social distancing.

  28. Beautiful views from your daring and exciting adventure scaling the steep rocks to get close view of the Lost Arch. Do be careful in your rock climbing especially when you are doing it alone. Take care and stay safe.

  29. those hikes would clear my mind any time. gorgeous.

  30. Your photos of the desert fascinate me more and more.

  31. Thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a nice comment. Took me a while to return the visit, it's been a busy time, but I'm glad I finally made it to join you on this hike, fantastic scenery and photos. We are in lockdown so these are all the more wonderful to me.

  32. Another cool hike! First let me say the skies in these photos are just incredible looking. They really compliment the rocks and the arch so well. The lengths you go to get these shots is true dedication. I absolutely love that balancing rock at the end of your hike - truly amazing. Well done!

  33. You know felt like I was hiking right along with you as I read...the narrative with the pictures is just wonderful. I believed every word, until the last paragraph...I don’t believe you had a laptop with internet up there at lost arch so I’m pretty sure you made it back home. (Still I’ll check back next week to be sure)). The desert photography really is amazing and I thought it was good you mentioned how big that one boulder was. I have seen such a sliver of JT compared to you, but enough to know about the scale. But I’m pretty sure a lot of people have no idea.

  34. Great read about the Dragons Eye. And the photos are really good.