Thursday, April 29, 2021

Alien Arch

 This hike started out as an exploratory hike into a trio of washes in east Joshua Tree National Park that was new to us. When I say "us", I mean Mitch, Roger and myself.

It turned out to be a beautiful day for a hike, with all the expected weird rock formations, and the Coxcomb Mountains keeping us company just a little ways off to the east.
 
 
When I say "hiking", it also includes a fair amount of climbing. Here's Roger climbing up a sheer rock wall (sorry about the sun flair).
 
And then looking down at me, as if to say "OK, your turn!" Nope, no way, not going to happen. I swear Roger is half mountain goat! I, on the other hand, am not as sure footed and am not a big fan of heights. In hikes like this, it's important to know your limitations!
 
In a world of strange rock formations, this one's really strange. Kind of phallic-looking. See the moon?

Mitch in his element.
As we get to the end of our hike, we still have some daylight hours left. There's an area nearby I've wanted to explore. I have a planned route that passes through a narrow wash (at least I hope it's passable). So off we go!
 
Here I am making my way through the narrow wash. I had to laugh at this photo because it reminded me of all the preparation that goes into a hike. You try your best not to forget anything. Backpack? ✔ Camera gear? ✔ Water? ✔ GPS? ✔ And the list goes on and on. For this hike, I remembered everything... except my hiking boots!! Geez, that's a first. A long gruelling hike in my slippery, flimsy street shoes. Not ideal.
 
Baby arch and sun flare.
 
We discover this really cool-looking rock formation, and Mitch has figured out a way to climb up to photograph it.

From this angle, the opening in the rock looks like an "L". I look closely for any sign of rock art, but I don't see any.
 
Mitch out exploring. The sun is getting low on the horizon... my absolute favorite time for photography!
 
A nice little cave.

And inside the cave, looking out.

Ah, there it is. Alien Arch!!
 
Such an incredible rock formation! See that alcove to the left and behind Alien Arch? Let's go check it out. 
 
Not an easy climb.

Those rocks to my left appear to have been placed there to make a partial wall to protect the shelter. Whether in recent times or long ago, it's impossible to tell. Photo credit above two photos: M. Miller

Inside, looking out. Lots of room in this alcove.

After finally making it up the narrow wash, it leads us to this upper wash area. It's an area rarely visited, and I would love to explore more, but unfortunately it will be dark soon. But just around the next corner we see...
...two arches! If you are an arch lover like me, this is a big deal. I wonder if anyone has ever photographed these arches up close before? Distance is deceiving because the photo was taken using a 400mm telephoto lens. It sure looks like two arches to me, one on either side, kind of like bookends. I immediately start talking with Mitch about a return visit to see if we can somehow hike/climb up to "bookends arches". Stay tuned!
 
I think we finished up this hike in the dark (wearing headlamps), which is usually the sign of a great hike!
Until next time, thanks for stopping by.
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

42 comments:

  1. love that photo of Mitch with the sun lowering behind him

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  2. Awesome photos and I can only imagine how more amazing it is in person.

    I LOVE the sun flares!

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  3. ...all that I can say is, barren and beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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  4. Another great adventure. In street shoes!! And still climbing into snake dens I see.

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  5. Beautiful rocks! So much to explore.

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  6. Wow, these are all such beautiful photos. Looks like it was a great hike!

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  7. Dearest Peter,
    Sorry for your shoes but other than that this sounds like an expert and enjoyable hike with a nice trio!
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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  8. ha! that funny looking rock also looks like a finger beckoning someone or something. You always manage to find some interesting things.

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  9. Incredible landscapes. In those shoes you're lucky you didn't twist an ankle.

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  10. Your street shoes served you well on this hike. Amazing photos!

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  11. Wonderful , Great post and pics.

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  12. Yet another wonderful hike series. Every photo is favourite especially the star-burst and twilight scene

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  13. I love that last shot-- fabulous!!

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  14. Awesome there is such beauty in the desolation of the park

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  15. It is beautiful to explore a world so strange to most of us. Coincidence and presence of mind determine the content here with always a great outcome.

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  16. Great hike with some phantastic shots again.

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  17. What an extraordinary landscape, the rock formations are truly spectacular and you have captured them beautifully. Thank you for sharing this interesting photo report.

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  18. It does look like alien eyes. I'd love to see that one. Great outing and out-of-this-world photos! We're already planning a 2022 Spring trip back to redrock country. Moab, lake Powell and such. Can't wait.

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  19. Another wonderful area to explore. I can't recall ever leaving my boots behind though I did once forget my map when leading a group of a dozen or so walkers, luckily I'd walked there before and got away without mishap.

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  20. I can always count on you for an interesting virtual outing with striking sights along the way :)

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  21. These desert photos are as fascinating as ever. The light seems to resculpt the rock, it's impressive.

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  22. Another great hike with some beautiful finds. Glad your shoes worked out for this trip but next time you'll remember the boots, I bet. Thanks for sharing the desert beauty with us. Have a great weekend.

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  23. Wow how exciting. I mean you see some beautiful stuff and you share it----exciting to me. Such strange rock formations.
    MB

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  24. Glad you had a good 'hike' despite not having your 'boots' ~ Awesome photography what an adventure ~ Xo

    Living moment by moment,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  25. Another amazing adventure . . Thank you for sharing . . seems there are limitless stories to find in those rocks . . . don't ya wonder how the heck all that happened?
    I keep looking at your photographs . . . just . . "wow!"
    🙂

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  26. Lovely blue sky. The rock looks like a finger pointing to the moon. Interesting rock formation and arches. You and company are great explorers and climbers. Thanks for the great virtual tour.

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  27. Another incredible spot in the desert!
    Wishing you a happy weekend and a happy new month of May.

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  28. Another eexciting adventure! I wish I was in as good a shape as you are!

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  29. Great pictures !
    Incredible how beautiful the desert can look through your lens.

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  30. outstanding! oh, my. I can so relate to the list of essentials and forgetting something so important as hiking shoes at the end.

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  31. Gorgeous shots. Love the blue blue sky and that last shot.

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  32. Superb series of captures SPP, every rock formation is unique. I still say it looks as if you are on another planet! I cannot believe you did that hike in a normal pair of shoes, astounding 😉

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  33. Greetings and Salutations! Oh my goodness, you are wearing street shoes. That is something I would do. Milk. Check. Bread. Check. Bacon. Check; but the one thing I need isn't in the sack when I get home. Why? Who knows? As always, your photographs are top notch! Be safe.

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  34. It's so funny what one can forget. I bet you won't forget your hiking boots again. You guys got around.

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  35. These are gorgeous photos! I love them all. I see a bit of nature's art work in some of them.

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  36. The whole hike was amazing from beginning to the beautiful sunset! Stunning scenery, with a bit of humor thrown in . Fun post, loved the hike. Glad you know when to say no, that’s probably even more important than the right footwear! Hope you get to go back to checkout the double arches soon.

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  37. Love your pics. I like a challenging hike but i think I'd pass on climbing the shear rock wall too.

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  38. A challenging hike to be sure and to have managed it without hiking shoes is even more amazing! Great views and I enjoyed all the explanations, as always, thanks.

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  39. A half mountain goat :-) And the moon. Only as you mentioned it, nature sure is funny.
    Baby arch and sun flare is absolutely beautiful. And a big wow how you captured your friend taking a pic. Perfect.
    You truly live in a great place there.

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