Thursday, May 6, 2021

Bookend Arches to Majestic Arch

 With my last post, I left you with some photos of Alien Arch and the surrounding area. You might recall that we discovered a couple arches we called "bookend arches" right at the end of the hike (not enough daylight to go check them out). But I had been itching to get back to the area to see if there was any way to get closer to them. Finding new arches is always an exciting discovery!
This photo of "bookend arches" was taken using a telephoto lens, so things are further away than they look. Also, I figured at best a 50/50 chance that we would be able to hike/climb the rocks up to the arches. Fast forward a few weeks, and I've managed to talk my hiking partners Mitch and Roger to join me on the search for these newly discovered arches. So off we go!
 
Hiking up and around the rocks to bookends arch turned out to be harder than I expected (pause here while I huff and puff). Here's Roger and Mitch as we stop for a water break. Arches that are visible on the horizon often disappear when you get below them, but we know there are some arches around here somewhere!
 

No arches yet, but the weirdly eroded rock formations are always entertaining!

I'm always amazed by how much lichen I see out in the desert. My assumption that lichen only thrive in moist environments is clearly flawed!
 
 
Finally, we find what we think is one of the bookend arches. This is viewed from the opposite direction of photo #1 of this post. It's pretty interesting looking, and there are little horn projections at the back of the arch. Maybe "devil arch" would be a better name! There should be a second arch if one were able to climb up and over the rocks on the upper right of this photo (good luck with that!). It also looks nearly impossible to climb up to this arch for a closer view. But that doesn't keep Roger and Mitch from trying!
 

I have no idea how Mitch managed to climb up there. All I know is it's beyond my abilities!
 
Close-up of bookend (or devil) arch.

For most of our hike, Majestic Arch has been keeping us company off to our right. We discuss the possibility of hiking up to it from this approach. I've hiked up 2 or 3 times before, but always from the opposite side. I have my doubts about this approach, but we decide to press ahead. Heck, what's the worst that could happen? Nevermind, let's not go there.
We start picking our way around the car-sized boulders towards the arch.

We eventually make it. Top of the world!

Ahhh, there it is. Majestic Arch! My favorite arch in Joshua Tree National Park, and one that very few people have seen because it's so dang hard to get up here (plus it's in a very remote location where only crazy people go... you've been warned!).
 
From deep within the arch... looking out through the arches two openings always reminds me of looking through the eyes of a dragon. The tupperware container with the register inside (red lid in the photo above), placed here by Mitch a couple years ago, was still here. The last people to sign in were friends of ours who we knew had visited, and that was over a year ago. Clearly no random hikers seem to find this place, and that's fine with us!
 

iPhone pano shot.

 

It's like a rocky wonderland up here by the arch, and even though there is near constant wind and near zero rainfall, there are a few hardy plants that manage to survive.



 
You can call these critter burrows. I call 'em ankle twisters!
 
Hope you enjoyed this adventure. Majestic Arch is a magical place, and I hope to return again in the not-too-distant future.
Thanks for stopping by!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
 

I can tell you that it felt like much further than 5.6 miles, and much more elevation gain than 705'. I wonder how accurate these phone apps are??


44 comments:

  1. Wow, another great adventure. I did a little boulder climbing during our recent outing to the Wichita Mountains here in Oklahoma, the jaunts were a lot shorter and didn't have near as much elevation change as what you routinely do and I was at my limits.

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  2. Wow, that majestic arch - awesome! And so is that piece of rock with those big holes. To me it looks like an abstract painting:) So, who took the pics of you and Mitch - a 3rd person?

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  3. So amazing! I would probably be looking at everything with my eyes bulging and my mouth hanging open.

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  4. ...those pockmarks in #3 sure are neat. In New York's Adirondack Mountain I see moss and lichens on the rocks, but in your dry environment lichens are unexpected.

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  5. great fun to go with you again on another hike - I'm in love with that holey rock - a sort of Swiss cheese look to it.

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  6. WOW at the Majestic Arch! It is all so amazing, no rhyme or reason for some erosions.
    Thanks again for taking us long.
    Sherry & jack out in NC

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  7. Dearest Peter,
    Wow, those are some fabulous photos and all managed to capture in daylight time!
    That 'devil arch' photo looks like two snapping turtles, one mounting the other and a huge frog in front of them...
    Hugs,
    Mariette

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  8. Thanks for this fascinating perspective on arches! Always more than worthwhile visit when you post.

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  9. If those phone apps can give you a map of where you hiked, you could probably double check their math. I suspect it's probably fairly accurate. That looks like quite the hike.

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  10. Majestic Arch is aptly named! It is interesting that so few hikers visit it but it must be nice to keep it as your own special place. The bookend formation was also interesting. I'm curious if those giant boulders ever roll? There have been a few incidents I've heard about here in Colorado where hikers climbing in mountain boulder fields have gotten seriously hurt or killed by boulders running downhill. Please be careful! I was also surprised to see so much lichen in that area.

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  11. I am glad you have been taking some company with you on these hikes - safety in numbers, especially if you end up in one of those ankle-twisters (or worse). Wonderfully weird photos, as always!

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  12. wonderful, Loved the post and pics.
    Stay well.

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  13. Wonderful post. I like the struggle and then joy of reaching the summit of hike. Lovely sunburst too

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  14. Interesting holes and crazy with the lichen!
    Yes. I thought immediately of the devil. And wow, a gigantic one!
    The other looks like a mops-dog to me.
    Oh, wow, that pic with the sun as star is wonderful.
    Inside a dragon, some idea :-)
    Hmmmm, one more sun-star, beautiful, all the colors!
    "..ankle twisters"! Ouch.
    Quite a trip I would not take cause I don´t dare climbing, so: Thank you very much for sharing this!

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  15. Spectacular place. From what I remember from a field trip when I was 16, those pock-marks are called "honeycomb weathering", but what causes it I no longer recall! I've been reading about lichens recently and it seems they can survive almost anything - even being blasted into space and re-entering the earth's atmosphere.

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  16. Amazing pictures-- as always.

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  17. Majestic Arch is very aptly named. What a beautiful spot to visit :)

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  18. Nice post again and then to think that all those holes and cavities also needed water to arise. Tooks an awful lot of time.

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  19. Wow! Awesome photography of the Arches and surrounding areas ~ You guys must be in great physical condition ~ thanks for sharing this amazing place ~ Xo

    Living moment by moment,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

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  20. I'm always impressed by how the landscape stretches out. It must be wonderful to know of such places that aren't well-frequented.

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  21. Totally amazing. Super photos, great climbing and a successful trip. Well done!
    Happy weekend to you!

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  22. These rocks . . . look like other things . . as if we can recognize "something else" happened before that we can almost know -

    I am beginning to really look forward to your adventures. Thank you for sharing with us/me. (Thank you for taking care of one another out there.)

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  23. Greetings and Salutations! You three had a goal which was Book End Arches. You all achieved it. So proud of you all! I look forward to seeing what you are up to every week. Such adventures!

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  24. I like the idea of having a sign-in sheet available, just to see who's (fool)hardy enough to make the long and grueling hike! :)

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  25. your team members look so enjoy at second photo... love it.

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  26. I'd love to sign my name and put it in Mitch's Tupperware but alas we are stuck on the east coast for a while. That arch is beautiful. I'd love to see it.

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  27. Amazing nature captured so beautifully!

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  28. Oh my gosh---what a hike. Excellent and odd shots. I like the one with the odd almost holes looks like some here on the water---water does that to rock at times. Maybe you are in an ancient ocean.
    MB

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  29. Looks like it was a great dessert hike. Amazing rock formation. Happy weekend.

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  30. Every week you photos & trips to the park leave me in Awe this one no less with stunning views and photo's. You will like the ones I show in the next few weeks. though I doubt they will be as awe inspiring

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  31. Amazing photos, as always! I wouldn't have expected lichen either.

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  32. This is realy an exceptional landscape. Your shots are awesome.
    Have a nice sunday :-)

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  33. It's amazing what you find in the most unexpected places.

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  34. As always, a very nice landscape and prima photos!

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  35. Spectacular series! I begin to love the desert ...

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  36. Stunning, stunning, stunning! Unbelievable images SPP! I can totally see why you love hiking here so much, every experience is different. I enjoyed your looking out through the eyes of a dragon very much. Some of the climbs you do look difficult but so rewarding to get to the top and see the views ✨

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  37. Interesting rock. This series is wonderful.

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