Joshua Tree/SoCal Trip – Part IV – Lost Horse Mine

Sunday, 26 April 2009 (continued from here):

After a light breakfast we drove into Joshua Tree National Park and headed to the trailhead for the Lost Horse Mine.  We hit the trail at 8:45 with only one other car in the parking area – sweet!

The trail angled through some Joshua Tree woodland before becoming more chaparral’y.  A pair of hikers, presumably from the other car in the lot, passed us the other way, and as far as we could tell we had the trail to ourselves.

Trail by you.

Lost Horse Mine Trail

Joshua Tree/Socal Trip – Part III – Oasis of Mara, Noah Purifoy, Key’s View, Cap Rock

Saturday, 25 April 2009 (continued from here):

After our hike to Twentynine Palms Oasis, we drove to the town of the same name to check out the main Joshua Tree National Park visitor’s center, and the adjacent Oasis of Mara.

Oasis of Mara by you.

Oasis of Mara

The visitor’s center was surprisingly devoid of interpretive displays, and after picking up a book on cacti & a book on desert wildflowers, we walked around the paved trail to the Oasis of Mara.

Joshua Tree/SoCal Trip – Part II – Twentynine Palms Oasis

Saturday, 25 April 2009 (continued from here)

We drove ~20 minutes from our house to Twentynine Palms, then up a road for a few miles until it ended at the trailhead for the Twentynine Palms Oasis trail.  We hit the trail at 8:05, just behind a large’ish group of hikers, so we started slow to let them get well ahead of us.  I was slightly annoyed that I had failed to check that I had this region loaded into my GPS, so although it provided hike stats, I had no map to look at, oops!

Trailhead by you.

Hikers on the Twentynine Palms Oasis Trail

Joshua Tree/SoCal Trip – Part I – Getting there, settling in

Friday, April 24 2009:

We left home early, encountering no traffic at all getting out of the bay area, and drove the long’ish slog down I-5 to Bakersfield.  Fortunately the drive to this part of California is “only” a couple hundred miles on mind-numbing I-5, rather than the full many-hours-long epic to get to LA, and after a quick lunch at Foster’s Freeze in Bakersfield, the drive was interesting enough as we drove through Tehachapi, and through the desert on Hwy 58 past Mojave and through Boron.  We stopped to browse a funky antique shop at Kramer Junction, then continued to Barstow and from there headed south on 2-lane Hwy 247.

Hwy 247 went through some pretty high desert, and some very depressed-looking communities, especially Lucerne Valley, and ended at Twentynine Palms Hwy AKA Hwy 62, in Yucca Valley, a charmless and endless strip mall.   We noted a couple of grocery stores for future reference, and continued east to the town of Joshua Tree, which was considerably more enticing than Yucca Valley (a good thing, as we were staying there!).  A few miles up the road to Joshua Tree National Park brought us to our rental house, a short 500 miles and 9 hours drive from home.

Beavertail Cactus by you.

Beavertail Cactus (Opuntia basilaris)

Joshua Tree teaser

We still have two days left to explore this amazing place, and we’re already planning a return next year. To our surprise, the desert is blooming great guns, especially the many different cacti. Bird-wise I’ve picked up a few lifers: Scott’s Oriole, Black-throated Sparrow, Gambel’s Quail, Cactus Wren, Costa’s Hummingbird, and Verdin. Hopefully we’ll get…

A Sunday in Marin Headlands – Part II

(continued from here)

At the Headlands Visitor’s Center, formerly the Chapel of Fort Cronkhite, I headed out along the trail on the south side of Rodeo Lagoon.   As is usually the case, I quickly saw a trio of River Otters splashing and swimming by the lagoon’s east side.   A Great Blue Heron stood patiently in the reeds, hopefully not noticed by the otters (a fellow bird photographer caught an amazing sequence of one of these otters going after, and narrowly missing, a Great Blue Heron!!).

adampaul-P1020582 by you.

Rodeo Lagoon

A Sunday in Marin Headlands – Part I

Sunday, 5 April 2009:

A couple of weeks ago, finding myself flying solo due to Sarah being in a metalsmithing class, I decided to head north to Marin Headlands and wander around some of the parts I hadn’t been to in some time.

BW Bunker by you.

Battery Smith-Guthrie(?)

After a pretty drive across the Golden Gate, up Hawk Hill, and the dizzying descent toward Point Bonita, where it feels like you’re about to drive off the edge of the Earth, I parked at a turnout by some of the many abandoned military buildings dotting the hills here.