Monday, February 9, 2015

Road Trip 01-15 Joshua Tree/Death Valley

(Note : I put the pictures from my phone on here and added comments. Then I got the ones from Matthew's phone. They didn't all get in exactly the right place and some of the comments are repetitious. Sorry!)

Though Matthew had lots to do during the school break, he needed to take some vacation. 
He took a week off towards the beginning of January
and off we went on an adventure!
We left on a Saturday morning heading to Yucca Valley 
where we stayed three nights.
Telephone Road
Tippecanoe Ave.
Brings a few memories to mind :)
This was rather amusing!
Heading kind of from LA towards Palm Springs

First day in Joshua Tree Park.
Ryan Mountain
1.5 miles each way

The first 1.5 being of course, uphill!

Was nice to go up here first to kind of get a feel for the land and scope out the territory. 

This kind of cactus seems to glow in the sunlight the way the sun reflects off the needles
 Scenery on Lost Horse Mine Trail
 The Lost Horse Mine workings

Thought this was one brave root! It was growing directly through the rock!
This was the second hike on Sunday.
Lost Horse Trail and Mine.
Yep, you are right.  Back in the 1800s a man lost his horse and went out to track it and he found a gold mine!
He sold it to someone else who had it in operation until 1934 I think it was.
It was a really neat hike. You begin out in the middle of nowhere, and then hike
for a few miles into the middle of the middle of nowhere! So quite.
Do you see the couple towards the left of the middle of this picture? We only saw
them,another couple, and a few guys on this part of the hike. It was a circuit trail,
we started on the long leg to the mine. A lot of people hike the short leg (probably a little
over a mile one way) to see the mine and hike back out that way.
The long leg is probably 6 miles!
Several spots along the trail had shafts scattered everywhere.
They were all filled in, though.
Maybe you can read this...
Day two in Joshua Tree, we drove all the way to the south end of the park to do the Lost Palms hike.  That was an out and back of about 4.3 miles each way I think.

Cottonwood Springs, where the hike started
Another kind of cactus
Lost Palms Oasis viewed from the trail leading down into it
We thought these looked interesting! 
We ate lunch, talked to some guys from New York, and explored some
 (I knew one was from Baltimore because he sounded like Dr. Flynn!)
No, there was no water around! They say that oasis form at fault lines and underground
water seeps up closer to the surface at these places. Also, there was something about there not
being very many of these kind of palms left or something.
On the drive back, we took a video of entering the Cholla forest.
There is regular vegetation, with an occasional cholla plant cactus and then,
suddenly, they are everywhere and not many other plants! 

We started back north a bit after noon. We stopped at all the exhibit signs and learned lots about the desert animals, plants, and formations.
We also stopped at a few more sights.  This is, how did you guess!...
Arch Rock. 
Our very dusty, dirty little car!
This kinda, sorta gives you some perspective. That little black sign in the middle says 'You are Here'. And that dot is how big you are!
 I tried including the pictures of the information signs, but I don't think they will be readable so I took them out...
There was a group of people slacklining at 'Hall of Horrors'.  We still aren't sure why it is call that, but we had fun climbing around on and underneath the boulders and watching these people.  The drop is a lot further than appears in this picture!
Heading out of the park Monday evening. We had to stop and enjoy the sunset before leaving Joshua Tree Park behind!
Tuesday we headed to Beaty, Nevada
We were driving along and saw this crater 
So we found a road that went out there.
The road ended, so we found the path!
We drove through the Mojave desert and saw lots of desert.
We also saw this crater off in the distance and found a road that led to it. At the end of the road we found a trail, so we got out and started hiking. I didn't realize it, but Matthew's boyhood scary dream was running from an erupting volcano! But he faced his fears and went into the very middle of the crater! Do you see him? It is an 'active' volcano, meaning it last erupted like 10, 000 years ago. 
This is opposite side from the road. It most recently blew out this direction.
On the road side of the rim, the top of Matthew's head is where we hiked in

Someone missed, well missed SEEING the 'road closed' sign!
We got back to the parking lot (it was about a mile each way) and I found this ant pulling a sunflower seed shell along.
I had been thinking about the power of that volcano. 100s of 1,000s of tons of rock being thrown for miles. And God is more powerful than that. God can let that happen because he is more powerful, or He could make it not happen. God is more powerful than a volcano, but he made this ant. He gave this ant the extraordinary ability and advantage to be able to carry things bigger and heavier than itself.
Why do I not trust God at times?
Some scenery along the drive....

Thankfully this area of the desert had some larger bushes =)

See the red road? I took a video, but no, I still haven't figured out
how to get videos to work on here, so I'll try to explain it...
Looking ahead, this road appears reddish in color. Looking out the side mirrors and
rearview mirror, the road appears dark grey. I wanted to turn around and drive the other
 direction for a bit to see what color it would seem going that way!
Also, this road would win any pothole contest!

Getting close to Beaty, NV
Our hotel in Beaty was rather interesting:

Notice the flat screen TV? It is above the AC unit. There was even a heater!
It is plugged into the wall, on the other side of the bed, on of those long radiator things.

And metal aliens out front.  It was named "Atomic Inn"
While we were eating dinner at a small diner nearby (nothing wasn't near by) Matthew said he'd come to two conclusions about Beaty. I begged him to wait until we were in the car with the windows rolled up before telling me!
1. Everyone smokes
2. All the buildings were built at least 60 years ago
But the hotel room was clean and passingly comfy, for which we were thankful! We stayed there Tuesday and Wednesday nights while visiting Death Valley.

This is Badwater Basin. Do you see the little white sign over half way up and slightly to the left?
That is sea level. The white stuff on the ground is NOT snow, but salt!

This is where people can walk out into Badwater Basin

We did a short hike to see a Natural Bridge
A little beyond was this water shute!
Sorry I didn't get the picture with people underneath the bridge, this is pretty big!
Artist Palette
Mosaic Canyon, last hike of the day. Two miles off the road you start hiking up a canyon. There are several small waterfalls, and then a bigger one. You can climb past that one and walk a bit further where....
There is THIS waterfall. I'd love to go beyond this one, too,
 but you'd need some special gear or a helicopter!

Next day, we headed west through the park and then took a LONG road southish to the middle of 
Kind of funny to be driving along and see a sign that says "elevation: sea level".
In Death Valley they haven't giant bees!
Just kidding. These are charcoal kilns. I don't remember the dates of when they were built, but it was a long time ago. I think it was in the '60s that Chinese reconstruction works repaired them. They are some of the best preserved due to how far away from anything they are and the relatively protected environment. I believe they put 10 cords of wood in each one (there are 10) and burn for like two weeks. Of course it has to cool for about the same time before the charcoal could be removed. Oh, and I was saying this is far away from ANYWHERE? Yeah, it took us at least 30 minutes off the main road to get here, and that is the only road. And the elevation here is somewhere around 6, 000 feet. But no, we didn't drive all that way to see these, interesting though it was! It was the beginning of the Wildrose Peak trail! 

Part way up Wildrose peak, the second highest surrounding Death Valley.

The peak beyond this snowy one is Telescope Peak, which we wanted to do, BUT
your 4 wheel drive has to have chains, and you have to have crampons and ice picks.
Also, it is 7 miles one way...
Looking westish/southish
Looking towards Badwater Basin
At the summit, there was a cache with several notebooks.  I had to smile at this entry! Driving through all that empty country, empty of people and man-made things, and full of God-made things, I got to feeling very small and feeling God very big!
So we drove out the west side of the park that afternoon, through some magnificent landscapes, ears constantly popping from elevation change. Along roads scratched in the sides of mountains, hairpin turns, then wide desert valleys stretches of road that you go STRAIGHT across. The sun set over the Sierra Nevadas, and we arrived in Lone Pine, CA. The hotel was a bit nicer there, and we ate at a homey restaurant. The wife/mother was the main waitress, her older teenage daughter helping some. The husband/dad and grandfather sat at a nearby table chatting after their meal. It was named, um, Mt. Whitney something.  The next morning after a quick breakfast we hit the road south to go around the Sierra Nevadas as there is no way through. The east side of that mountain range has no foothills, just bam, snow covered mountains! We went through Bakersfield trying not to breath because the smog was so thick. We arrived safely home mid-afternoon. Mom and Sarah Beth left Saturday afternoon on the train to go to Washington to visit Grandpa and Grandma Jorgenson. We went ice-skating with Austin that afternoon, and combine our dinners that night at their house. Sunday we had Nelson and Cherisa and Dad and Austin over for lunch, and then the bachelors came over one more time that week. Cherisa and Grandma Pauls also fed them a few times, so I don't think they fared too badly! =) The other women folk got back Friday noon. It was my first time to pick someone up at the train station! That morning we had decided to stay AT Yeager this year, so I spent the afternoon packing and baking for that. Matthew had to work Saturday because it was intake day at Grizzly, all the kids arrived. One of Sarah Beth's school friends got to come Friday evening and all day Saturday. It was fun to have her and the several out of towners. Tanja and Nancy came for a bit on Saturday and most of Sunday as well. So good to see them out again!

Caleb and Amy got back to town Monday evening, inviting us to stay out at Ron and Sue's beach house in Cayucos. I went out Tuesday and Matthew joined us after work. Thursday I brought Adalyn home with me while Caleb and Amy stayed out there for one more night.  They came back Friday, had dinner with us, and after sing, went to Brad and Vanessa's for the weekend. They left to go back south on Monday.
So much fun having Adalyn all to myself! She was one tired girl after playing at the beach! 
Couldn't wait to color when she woke up
She asked every ten minutes if we could go see the 'cow', Buttercup, that is :)
Buttercup doesn't like to get her picture taken (obviously) but she did great with Adalyn.
Friday I had to grab a few groceries, then we went to the Atascadero Lake park for a few minutes.
So that is pretty much the end of January. Many great times and memories, but I have been enjoying the quieter and slower pace of February so far! Happy New Year and God bless you all, Margaret