Thursday, October 27, 2022

Amboy, CA

 Amboy is one of those little towns on old Route 66 that time has forgot. At one time it was thriving. Now, not so much, but tourists and photographers are still drawn to it. Roy's Hotel has got to be one of the most photographed signs in the desert!
They've refurbished the sign and now leave it on at night, which is great for taking pictures! The vintage car next to the sign is a nice touch.
While I was there, there was a couple from Germany posing by the car, so Amboy has become something of a destination. To my right and behind where I was standing for this photo are 8 - 10 bungalows that were the actual motels. Weary travelers could pull their cars right in front of their bungalow, unload the kids, get gas, a quick meal, and (hopefully) a good nights sleep before getting back on the road the next morning to continue their travels. 
The old Amboy cemetery on the outskirts of town. Can you see the Roy's sign?
Getting ready for Halloween, Amboy style!
Totally unplanned, I spotted this beautiful full moon rising to the east of Amboy. It appeared to be resting on a bed of clouds. What a lucky opportunity! Putting my camera away, we jumped in the Jeep prepared to drive the rest of the way home. We only got about 100 yards beyond Amboy when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw this wonderful view:
Lucky shot #2.
Thanks for stoppying by, and have a Happy Halloween if you celebrate it!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Slab Rock Pictograph Site

 I ran out of time last week on my post, so this is actually a continuation of that same hike (Echo T hike). When you have to split a hike into two or even three posts, you know it was a good one!
As you can tell from the photo above, the sun is low on the horizon, so my hiking time is limited. I'm searching for a small pictograph site I literally stumbled across years ago, and haven't been back since. I think I remember it being in this area, but memory can do funny things as the years pass.
I climb up on some boulders to get a better view of my surroundings. I know I'm getting close. What a beautiful time of day, with the long shadows and golden light. I love all the Joshua Trees in this area... like a little JT forest.
This looks familiar. Very close now.
Ah, there it is. Just a shallow alcove located on a huge rock slab. From this distance, you can't see anything, so let's take a closer look.
Definitely some rock art here. I'm using dStretch to enhance the pictograph colors a little. In this late afternoon light, my eye is drawn first to what looks like black pictographs, which are pretty rare. I can see something that looks like a rectangle with rounded edges and two short, thick lines coming off the upper right corner (lower center/right of the photo). Above that, something that reminds me of the roman numeral III. Normal erosion on the rock surface or actual pictographs?? You decide.

There's no shortage of ochre colored pictographs in this little alcove!
Just as exciting a find as these pictographs is this beautiful bedrock mortar very near the alcove.
So perhaps this was a seasonal stopping point for a family or small group of Native Americans (since there is only one mortar) where nuts or seeds would be ground up as part of the food preparation process. Another guess might be that this site was used to prepare the ochre dye used to make the pictographs. Notice that the area around the mortar has a faint reddish stain.
View from inside the alcove, looking out. Whatever this site was used for, it's a delightful spot with a nice "feel" which makes me want to linger. But it's time to move on.
I took this photo on the hike back to the car, but as I posted this, I couldn't remember why. Maybe just for the golden light on the rocks? Then I noticed all the little dark specks in the sky. That was it... a large "swarm" (I'm sure that's not the right word) of turkey vultures were riding the thermals on this particular day. It was quite a sight, but I only had my wide angle lens with me, so you will have to use your imagination a little bit!
With the sun setting, I can't resist taking one last photo. Click... put the camera away.

Wait... one more. Click, put the camera away.

Wait... one more. Click, put the camera away.

Wait... one more. Click, put the camera away.

Seriously... the last last photo!
Thanks for joining me to check out the Slab Rock pictographs!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, October 13, 2022

Echo T Hike

 This is another of my summer hikes where I'm looking to hike at higher (and cooler) elevations, relatively short and flat (3-4 miles or less), and something fun to see. Parking at the Echo T lot in Joshua Tree National Park checked all the boxes. A friend of mine had told me about some historic trash in the area that I had never seen (barbed wire, old bed frame, etc), so I wanted to check that out as well as some pictograph sites (one site that would be new to me, if I could find it). So let's go take a look!
First stop: The "Brunette Lady" pictograph site. I've seen her before, but it's been a while, so wanted to stop by and say "hi". I find her to be very mysterious!
Near the Brunette Lady is another picto called "The Twins". Almost impossible to see with the naked eye due to years of weathering. I had looked before and couldn't find this picto, so it was fun to see it today (and use dStretch on the photo to really see it)!
Joshua Tree seed pods.

This area of the Park is full of Joshua Trees and beautiful rock formations. I'm on my way to find some historical "trash". Shouldn't be too much further.
I'm always intrigued by Manzanita bark!
Ah, here we go. Right where my friend said it would be! Lots of old rusty barbed wire in the area. This spot must have been used for cattle ranching.
LOTS of historic trash in this area. It's really fascinating. Look closely at the photo above and you can see old soot marks on the large rock (upper left). These rocks were likely part of someones fireplace.

Another common site: Lots of nails but no wood. Wood was a very valuable commodity in old time Joshua Tree, and had to be shipped significant distances and at considerable cost. Old miner and rancher cabins and outhouses that were abandoned would be taken apart board by board and later repurposed. Much of the wood that was here probably ended up at Bill Keys' ranch!

A nice mix of old and "new", including a newer piece of pottery and a Native American pottery sherd. I should mention that ALL items found during this hike were placed back exactly as I found them (no exceptions). 
Joshua tree arch

I came across this really interesting opening in the top of this boulder formation. Reminds my of a horizontal arch, and the nickname "sunroof arch" comes to mind. It's pretty good size, as you can tell in the photo above where my legs are dangling through.
To reach my next destination (a small picto site I've not seen before) requires some bushwhacking. Turns out that's not such a bad thing on a hot summer day in the desert, as it provides some much needed shade!
A view rarely seen in the desert!
Near where I think the picto might be, I notice this small object on the ground. It doesn't look like it was made by nature, and my guess is a Native American bead. I've never seen anything like it, and I'm torn between taking it so I can share it with someone from the Park Service vs. leaving it. I opt to leave it where I found it, although it's unlikely I can relocate it. 
I finally locate the picto I've been searching for. It's an interesting one, and reminds me of a human figure, with two arms and two legs (but no head). I've seen this style before on other pictos in this area, where it looks like there are too many fingers and toes. Makes me wonder if the same person is responsible for all the pictos done in this style.
The sun dropping low on the horizon reminds me it's time to start the hike back to my car. It's been a great summer hike, and I've not seen another person all afternoon. I guess there are not too many people crazy enough to hike in the desert in the summer.
A final photo of the Joshua Tree seed pods. 
Until next time...
Thanks for stopping by!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, October 6, 2022

South of Quail Springs (Part 2)

 The Quail Springs hike turned out to be very productive. So much so that I had to split it into two posts! As you may recall from my last post, it was a hot summer day and I was hiking solo, so I was being careful to keep my hike to a comfortable distance as well as hike in an area of JTNP at higher elevation where it's a tad cooler. 
A typical desert scene south of Quail Springs in Joshua Tree National Park. The sun was getting low on the horizon, the shadows getting long, and I was having a good ol' time!
More "historical trash" (or what some would call "desert gold"). There was a lot in this area. These old soldered center hole cans are some of the oldest known in the area, and date to the early 1900s. 
This is likely an old condensed milk can, which was a staple of the day. They almost always look like they were opened on opposite sides using a knife blade or punch of some kind.
Not quite sunset, but getting close.
Let's follow the sun as it drops down and below the horizon. All of these photos were taken a short distance from the Quail Springs parking lot. Unfortunately, Blogger scrambled the order of the photos, but you get the idea!

Thanks for joining me on another desert adventure!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.