Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Second Day in Joshua Tree National Park- Tuesday, March 26, 2013

We returned to Joshua Tree National Park today.  We wanted to travel the Geology Tour Road that was said to have the "most fascinating landscape in Joshua Tree National Park".  It was an 18 mile tour with 16 stops that corresponded to a paper that we had gotten at the Visitor's Center yesterday.  The road was composed of soft sand and some steep grades.  4-wheel drive vehicles are recommended.  We were in the Jeep but didn't need to resort to using 4-wheel drive at any point but a higher clearence vehicle is a definite need.  Again we saw piles of rocks but then we crossed a valley, Pleasant Valley,  which was still desert environment but different than the other areas of the Park.  The tour took about 2 hours as we stopped at several places.  Squaw Tank is a concrete dam built in a wash.  Dams were built by cattleman to catch the run off water for their cattle in the early 1900's.
After the Geology Tour we drove to Keys View, the highest point in the Park accessible by car.  It was noticably cooler there but the views were wonderful.  We ate our packed lunch at Quail Springs picnic area and were entertained by the ground squirrels and families with small kids crawling over the rocks.
 Moving on, we stopped at a pull out and walked a trail to the Ryan ranch. The Ryan's were a ranching family that had lived here years ago raising cattle.  Apparently, there was a strong well that was able to supply water for the livestock at that time.  Today there are just remnants of adobe buildings on the property.  As we were walking the trail to this ranch we were watching rock climbers climbing some distance away.  Rock climbing is the sport in this park.
About 3pm we returned back to the campground with a feeling that we had gotten around the Joshua Tree National Park well and tomorrow we would move on.