Monday, April 20, 2009

Rock On


Today I went up to Joshua Tree to find a place called Samuelson's Rocks. Samuelson's Rocks are some rocks that were written on by some crazy old coot named Samuelson. He wrote a bunch of political, religious, philosophical mumbo jumbo on boulders near his homestead and now it's part of the National Register of Historic Places. He ended up in a loony bin and then escaped and died somewhere in Washington State. I wanted to see what the rocks were all about.

There was one problem, though. The directions on the NPS website are somewhat cryptic and I didn't have a map. No map, no directions: my kind of hike. I mean, how hard could it possibly be to find some rocks in Joshua Tree?

So the directions say to start at the turnout west of Quail Springs Picnic Area (aka Trashcan Rock) and then walk one and a half miles. The problem is they don't tell me WHICH turnout--there are about ten--or one and a half miles in what direction. I guess that's how they keep the area pristine. I decide to go this way.

There are a fair amount of flowers blooming and I expect more in the coming weeks up here. The area near the West Entrance is covered with flowers.

Here are some rocks! Just not the rocks I'm looking for.

I come upon some old junk (historical litter) on my hunt.

And even more junk, which probably means there was a mine or a well or a home in the area.

Well, whaddaya know? A well.

And it has a pump. Let's see if it works!

It actually does! I get a good steady flow of water after just about 10-12 pumps. Of course, by the time I quit pumping and rush over to get a picture of the flowing water, the water stops flowing. Next time I come to this area, I'm going to bring someone along to pump for me.

So I go and check out these rocks but they are not THE rocks.

Nor are these.

Nor these. I don't have much time to wander around and find the real rocks because I have to rush home and pick up kids at school. But there are two things I have learned. One, there IS water in Joshua Tree! I always tell people there is none but now I know that's not entirely true. Two, I know where the Samuelson Rocks are NOT.

You never know what you're going to find while exploring. I find someone's water cache but I have to wonder why it's needed with a nice functioning well nearby. I guess maybe they don't have a pumper along either.

This is an interesting part of the park I have never hiked in before and I look forward to coming back. Next time, I'll find those rocks and who knows what else?

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