Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Revisiting Joshua Tree National Park

We have had some very nasty weather lately, including unseasonably cooler temperatures, steady rains, and high winds!  But we took advantage of some nice days last week and took two road trips into California.

We spent a day driving along the Colorado River on a quest to see wild burros.   We stopped at the once bustling shanty town of Crossroads.  In its heyday of the 1930s, it boasted a population of over 3,000 people.  Now all that remains is the crumbling wall of the once general store and some ATV trails.  We enjoyed a four mile hike along the trails, but were not successful in spotting any burros!  We hopped back into Big Boomer, drove about ¼ mile away, and we hit the jackpot!  Packs of the little buggers all over the place!

View of the Colorado River

Remains of the General store in Crossroads

On Saturday morning, we revisited Joshua Tree National Park, viewing a glorious sunrise through our mirror!

We hiked the Lost Palms trail near the Cottonwood Visitor Center, which we did not get to complete last year.  It was 8.8 miles round trip, with overall elevation changes of 450 feet.  The trail is rated by the National Park Service as “challenging” (their highest degree of difficulty).  But based on the fact that Mom didn’t fall at all, I say it’s not that bad!  After all, she has an unconventional way of downhill hiking--her technique includes coming down on her arse!  But she did use her walking sticks this time, so perhaps that’s what kept her upright for a change.  The trail has a variety of scenery and topography and culminates with one of only six groves of California fan palm trees found within the Park.

That's one HUGE crow!

We spotted lizards, jackrabbits, cottontails, and Phainopepla (which look like black cardinals to me).  Unfortunately, still no desert tortoise sightings!

We toured some of the Park campgrounds just to see if there is ANYWHERE we would fit.  NADA!  But if you have a smaller setup, the campgrounds are pretty cool, nestled around boulders, Joshua trees, and other natural settings. 

We also checked out 29 Palms and the Visitor Center located at that end of the Park, something else we didn’t have an opportunity to do last year.  We did the Oasis of Mara Nature Trail, the second of the six areas containing California fan palms.   Interestingly, we noticed the mountain tops in the distance covered with snow!

Visitor Center at 29 Palms Park Entrance

A grove of California fan palms on Oasis of Mara Nature Trail

Snow covered mountains in the distance

Watching the sunset as we travel back home

As I mentioned to you in another blog, Quartzsite is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year.  In addition to the commemorative parade (which we attended in January), the town hosted a “Walk in the Past” Historical Pageant at the Pioneer Cemetery on Saturday.  Local residents, dressed in period costumes, portrayed some of the town’s colorful pioneers and notable residents.  For example, local nudist/musical artist/book store owner Paul Winer portrayed “Hi Jolly” of the U.S. Camel Corps circa 1856.  It was an interesting and entertaining event!

A fully-clothed Paul Winer portraying "Hi Jolly"


We continue to persevere with our dance lessons.  After all, practice makes perfect!  And we do our daily 5-6 mile hikes to see how the desert transitions from winter dormancy to spring blossoms.  We've spotted our first scorpion of the season, too!

Scorpion hunting with blacklights at night scored our first find of the season

Our latest endeavor is investigating the purchase of another big boy toy, an ATV.  Dad's brain is working overtime to figure out how we can haul one with our current set-up. Mom and I have complete confidence that the madman will develop a plan.  After all, where there is a will, there is a way.        

Some of our desert friends are leaving the area already, so we hosted another Happy Hour.  

And we just finished preparing an Alaskan fish dinner (halibut and salmon) to share with our Canadian friends Steve and Dianne.  They were the very first people to befriend us here in Quartzsite three years ago.  They are a wealth of knowledge when it comes to full-timing, boondocking, and fun places to visit.  As always, we had great fun and good times.

Our Alaskan fish dinner with Steve and Dianne

I’ve got to get ready for nighty-night now.  We are getting up early to head to Mexico tomorrow to meet up friends Curtis and Stephanie.

 Stay well and I’ll speak to you soon!


  1. Thanks again for a wonderful dinner!

    1. You are quite welcome, it was certainly our pleasure and enjoyed the company immensely.

  2. Sounds like more awesome times! We loved Joshua Tree! We are down to 3 packages of halibut, plus one package of the cheeks! All our salmon is gone 😔

    1. Guess it is time for a return trip to Alaska for a restocking of the fish!

  3. That looks like a pretty cool hike and glad to hear Sue did not fall. Looking forward to seeing what you work out with the ATV setup, should be interesting.....