Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pioneer Days

Day Seventeen

Joshua Tree is more than the name of U2's best album; it's the name of a National Park in the desert about an hour from here.  I drove up via Berdoo Canyon (a 4 wheel drive route) with my son, Nikolas and spent the day there.

We took the Desert Queen Ranch tour which explores how early desert settlers survived in this harsh environment.  Bill Keys was a miner and rancher who settled in Joshua Tree before it was a National Park (and National Monument before that) and lived there until his death in 1969.  He and his wife had seven children who were raised on the ranch.  The tour in a testament of the ingenuity and hard scrabble living of these early pioneers.  

We also took a little hike around  exploring some Native American artifacts, another reminder of the early people living in the desert and how they did it.

Desert Queen Ranch from about a mile away.

This is a school house.  The Keys children and other children of ranchers and miners in the area went to school here.  San Bernardino County School Board paid for the school and sent a teacher.  There were twelve students.

Palm Springs isn't the only place with windmills

I need to go but not that bad.

Seems like I wasn't the only one who got here in a Jeep.

Nikolas discovered SNOW in the shade near the Barker Dam.  It last snowed here over a month ago!

An Indian grinding hole.

Rock Art.

I guess Indians liked football.

More rock art.

Nick, get down from there!  What are you going to find up there anyway?

Uh, how about some water?  A small tank which has held water for over a month.

Our shadows taller than our souls.

Joshua Tree is a great place that I never get tired of going to.  There is so much to discover and I look forward to more adventures here soon.  So much, in fact, that I bought an annual pass on the way out.

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