Thursday, September 8, 2022

Monsoon Summer 2022 (Part 2)

 I'm picking up where I left off on my last post. Mitch and I have just connected with Roger and started hiking into the Wonderland of Rocks (Joshua Tree National Park). It's about 3:15PM, and what started out as a ho hum blue sky is quickly changing as monsoon clouds fill the horizon. It's exactly what we were hoping for!
Off we go! I'm falling behind Mitch and Roger already (see them up ahead on the trail?) because I can't resist taking pictures when the sky is so pretty. If it stays like this, it could be an epic day!
I've photographed the old Wonderland Ranch ruins many times, but never under such dramatic skies. Even in b&w it looks pretty good!
Uh oh. That's a big, heavy rain cell moving straight for us!! We were hoping for dramatic skies, but we're not prepared for a really heavy downpour. This could get ugly fast.
Take cover!
Starting to come down! (click on little square, bottom right, for full screen)
Coming down hard now. Geez, we're getting drenched!
One final video. As we were hiking in the rain past the rock formation know as the "Freak Brothers", I noticed water flowing down a crack in the rocks (between two of the "freaks"). Kinda like a mini waterfall. Amazing! I've never seen anything like it!
I noticed something white on the ground. Perhaps a rounded piece of quartz? It finally dawned on me that I was holding a large piece of hail! We didn't get a lot of hail, but enough to make things interesting.
By now I was absolutely drenched, head to foot. My cotton pants and socks were soaked through, hat was soaked through, even my backpack. I was worried about damage to my camera and cell phone. Mitch said getting cotton soaking wet can be a very bad situation on an extended overnight backpack, and might require you to turn back. Fortunately, this was just a day hike, and while uncomfortable, it didn't cause any major problems. And, thankfully, my iPhone and camera didn't suffer any lasting damage.

A sight rarely seen in the desert: Raindrops dripping off the needles of a Pinion pine. By now the storm was moving on, and we were left with this magical wet desert!
Mitch, out exploring the Wonderland of Rocks and working his magic with his Nikon. Look at those clouds!!
Out exploring. My pants are a shade or two darker because they are soaking wet! We haven't even gotten to our primary destination for today's hike, which is a large arch. It's supposed to be somewhere up ahead, but the wash is choked with sharp spiny things and the rocks are steep. I tell Mitch & Roger that, at best, we have a 50/50 chance of finding the arch. The rest of our arch adventure will have to wait for a future post.
Mitch is up on the boulders, looking down at me. He's got a beautiful vantage point, but I have something amazing that I see from where I'm standing:
You'll have to trust me when I tell you this little stream was not here earlier in the day. After 45 minutes of desert thunderstorms, it just magically appeared, snaking it's way through the Wonderland of Rocks! The afternoon light reflecting off the water is a sight to behold, and I feel incredibly fortunate to have been out hiking on this particular day. It's a day I won't soon forget!
Thanks for dropping by and joining me on this adventure!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.


  1. Epic, those photos are awesome. You managed to bring atmosphere to them they are stunning. It looks like it was well worth getting wet for though I'm not sure I would want to be using my gear in the rain

  2. ...raindrops on the pine must seem strange in the desert. Often weather is a matter of all or nothing.

  3. Those are some scary clouds! Glad all you got was wet.

  4. Beautiful photos! The video of the water coming out of the crack in the rock was amazing! I've never seen or heard of anything like that before.

  5. Wow! What an experience ~ Divine ~ and what fantastic photos and videos ~ Wow! again! Xo

    Wishing you good health, laughter and love in your days,

    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  6. Dearest Peter,
    Well, your iPhone and camera had no lasting damage but I sure hope you did not catch a summer flu or cold with your soaking wet clothes on.
    What was the temperature you had to walk in 'after' this downpour surprise?!
    BUT if not any damage or impact, you sure were able to capture some incredible, unbelievable images! What a sight in the desert. Those clouds, the impromptu little waterfall and then the sudden stream finding its way through the rocks.
    Also the hail stone got perfectly captured!
    Those videos let us all experience its reality.
    Well, just a few weeks ago we both got drenched while on our bikes, only the final 2 km and with very warm weather. So stripping down the soaking wet things inside our garage and toweling dry was all it took. iPhones safe inside the protected panniers on our bike... But hose thick, heavy drops kind of hurt!
    Looking forward to the sequence...

  7. An amazing adventure you had. That last photo is spectacular, and so are your other photos.
    I guess due to humidity here, I hardly ever wear cotton on a hike. Technical fabrics only.

  8. The rain can be so magical in the desert.

  9. Amazing experience, Amazing photos. Greetings

  10. That's exactly a dramatic sky! The stream in your final shot is amazing.

  11. Once again you bring your adventures and your fabulous pictures to brighten my outlook! THe skies were totally amazing.

  12. I've been visiting you for a few years and this is the first post with storm clouds in the desert. Amazing photos - I love the b/w one of the ruins. It has a timeless quality to it. You blew my mind with the instant stream.

  13. That must be a very crazy experience walking in the rain through the desert. But it does provide very nice pictures.

  14. That ruins photo is amazing. I always love your photos, but that storm just gave them an extra something this time!

  15. An adventure with rain in the desert, what a breathtaking experience with great photos!

  16. Wonderful to see
    These ruins very beautiful

  17. I have been to Joshua Tree - beautiful place. Your. photos from the rain storm are truly excellent - love them. And yes - the black and white photo of the old ranch - exceptional.

  18. Unusual desert photos. Things I take for granted back east (water, streams, rain) and that desert scenery - what a combination. By the way, the full screen didn't work for me. I have a feeling it's my browser. Oh well, the videos were still impressive!

  19. Stunning pics again!!!
    Do you sell them?
    Wonder how life on that Ranch must´ve been.
    Rain in the desert, how beautiful.
    "Freaks"? I´d named them lovers.
    The hail looks amazing indeed.

    I love summer rain, but with cam, phone and all that... uh-oh! Sad how this has it´s negative sides...
    I always have a plastic bag with me and hope for the best...

    Wonderland is a good, matching word.
    And the water... life-saver.

    Thank you again for sharing this (and really... do you sell your pics?)

  20. Sabes escoger los mejores lugares, para hacer esas bellas fotos. Me ha gustado mucho tu recorrido.
    Te deseo un feliz fin de semana.

  21. The photos are spectacular! I would definitely not mind staying behind to take a quick shot of the breath-taking views and enjoy them for a moment! Thanks for taking us with you Mine's here ~ Ms. Donyarific

  22. This sounds like me - always trailing behind because I'm snapping pics:):) Love your views - my very favorites are the ruin and the river. By the way, you know I paint and at times I need a striking background. Do I need a general or a specific permission to use your captures? Please let me know. Thanks and have an inspirational weekend.

  23. It was a dramatic hike for you! Beautiful skies both in color and black and white. Amazing clouds. Hail can be quite big. I have seen photos of hail big as a tennisball.

  24. WOW!!! I would say, that the results of your awesome impressive images are worth every drop and these surprises can be the fate of cloud hunters, not true? Glad to hear that everything finds a happy end and that nothing was damaged or hurt.

  25. I love this! Nothing beats a nice desert rain. The air must have smelled wonderful.

  26. The clouds were spectacular and looked more threatening than it was. But I'm glad because hail can get real nasty. The last photo looks like the Garden of Eden. I figure the split in the brother's is because of that water over centuries, finding weak spots in the rock. Thank you. I hope the rest of the day's post is soon!

  27. I just posted about a railroad bike trail, and there's a photo I didn't talk about. The old tracks pass through sandstone bluffs, and caves. One photo shows a flume that needed to be built near the tracks to direct water run-off. That reminds me of your instant stream. Great post. Worth the soaking!

  28. I will not forget it either. What an exciting adventure. More so because of the rain/hail. And that sky.... wow!

  29. The jewel of hail and the little stream are amazing