DAY TWO HUNDRED AND EIGHTY THREE
About a week ago I got an email from a guy who'd read my blog and wanted to go hiking. He would be in town for a conference and would have some free time. He assured me he wasn't a serial killer--I'm sure serial killers do this, too-- and sent me a bio to reassure me. He is the part owner of a vitamin company, Celebrate Vitamins, and had never been to Palm Springs before. Like many people who've never been to the desert he was quite surprised by the mountains and all the beauty of the area. He expected cactus, sand dunes and probably camels. I didn't have any plans for my hike today so I thought it might be fun to go with someone new.
I picked him up in Palm Springs and we headed out to Joshua Tree National Park. We didn't have much time so we went to the Mill Street Mill from the Barker Dam parking area. My son, Nikolas, came along.
We went to Red Lady pictograph. The Park Service sign tells you about the seriousness of doing any harm to these valuable historical resources. But you would think that the Park Service would have spell check. What are CRIMINIAL PENEALITIES?
The famous Red Lady of Joshua Tree.
After leaving the Red Lady we went to Uncle Willie's Health Food Store. I figured it was a fitting place to take the vitamin guy.
There is a lot of "historical litter" in this part of the park. This appears to have been used for-- I have no idea what.
One reason there is so much in this particular area is the presence of water. There's this old windmill that was designed to pump water.
Unfortunately, it's no longer operational but that's OK because we brought our own water. That's a good idea for any visitor to Joshua Tree because there is no water in this portion of the park.
Along the main trail to the Wall Street Mill is this sign which was placed by Bill Keys. Mr. Keys was a famous settler in the park and shot Worth Bagley over a right of way issue. Joshua Tree truly was the Old West.
The Wall Street Mill is registered as a National Historic Place and is a good example of an old gold mill. Ore was crushed before the gold was extracted.
The ore poured down on this side.
And a man worked in here to process it. There is a fence around the mill to keep souvenir hunters out and keep it in good condition. It looks a lot like things I saw at Knott's Berry Farm when I was a kid in Orange County.
There is a new sign here that explains the history of the Mill and how it worked. The Park Service must have gotten some new funding because it looks like they used spell check here.
If anyone wonders why someone settled here in this inhospitable place I think it's because they may not have had a choice.
Cars just don't hold up too well out here.
The Wonderland of Rocks here in Joshua Tree is like a playground for boys...of all ages.
We hike around a bit more but it would take more time than we have this afternoon to really explore even this small portion of this almost 800,000 acre park. I hope Nick the Vitamin Guy had a good time because Nikolas and I sure did. Can't wait to come back to JT.