Just A Note: I had to cancel my BIRTHDAY TRIP because of various issues this year. I was VERY disappointed because it’s the ONE THING I look forward to all year long. I was able to scrape some money together and make it out to Joshua Tree just so I could grab some ME time. I’m glad I did- at least it appeased the Adventurous side of me…for the moment!
Where to go: Trailhead: Take the 10 freeway to the 62 – head North, pass through Morongo Valley, Yucca Valley and the town of Joshua Tree. You will see signs that say Joshua Tree National Park. Turn right on Park Avenue, there is a sign and a stoplight. Follow the road for 6 miles to the entrance gate. Pay your entrance fee and continue, drive for about ten miles, until you see the sign for Barker Dam, turn left and follow this road to the parking lot.
Speaking of The Parking Lot, here was the view when I pulled in. OMG! What is that white stuff in the middle of the DESERT?!?!? Yup…You Mid-Westerners should recognize it.
The Lowdown: Look for the Information Sign and you’ll see the beginning of the trail. This is a fun but WELL USED loop with little elevation. I actually went on Presidents Weekend for a reason. That reason being that I would be visiting the park alone and felt that I needed to give up a liittle solitude for safety and believe me- I did. The trail was PACKED! If I would have sprained or broken ANYTHING trust me there were plenty of people who would have helped me outta there!
I began walking up the trail and instead of going in the direction of the arrows, I hung a left at the first information plaque and went up these rock-stairs:
After passing a few MILLION other hikers, I came around a bend and discovered a site I was VERY surprised to see…
A snowman in the DESERT…that was a first for me AND a first for the other hikers who stumbled upon him.
About half way to the dam, I came across a sign that said “Petrographs” with an arrow pointing the way. I was thinking to myself, “Oy! How many miles do I and my frozen head have to walk to see them?!?!” Ummm- they were *like* 10 feet from the sign…
From here, the path was peaceful and I only ran into a handful of people.Throughout the trail were signs explaining the terrain, vegetation and wildlife. They were a good excuse to stop and rest! Eventually, I climbed up another long flight of rock-stairs and landed on top of the dam. It was a very pretty view but AGAIN, very crowded. There were people picnicking up on the rocks and it’s hard to grab a quiet minute when you hear “Can you pass the ketcup, please?”
Below, you can see what the dam is daming…
This is where I grabbed some quiet time. Ahhhh Serenity….