Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Mastodon Peak Hike - Joshua Tree National Park

Roger here....  Dianne and I spent about 15 minutes trying to get a picture of this little guy on our last hike.  We finally got a good one.  This is a black-throated sparrow --- a first sighting for Dianne.

This is the road that we travel every day to escape from our RV park.  This very straight road goes directly into Joshua Tree National Park.  During a recent visit to the Visitor Center, a very helpful park ranger told us that the best time to visit the southern end of the park (35 miles away) was during the weekend because the road construction workers were not working.  She also told us, in a very British accent,  that the Mastodon Peak Trail was "lovely."  It's Sunday!  Time to find the Cottonwood Oasis in the southern part of the park.

On the way, we opted not to stop at the short cholla garden trail.  We have already seen so many of these beautiful, but painful plants.  Only Tequila, the restless one, has escaped the painful thorns.  However, this view was so cool that we could not resist snapping a picture from the car.

Along the way we transitioned from the Mohave Desert (with the Joshua Trees) to the Colorado Desert (with the Ocotillos).  We did not, however, leave the occasional oases which spring from the ground every time water finds its way through the cracks in the rock.  This one we found at Cottonwood Springs --- the trailhead for the three-mile Mastodon Peak trail.

Lots of ocotillos during the first part of the trail.  If you do not already know, these are among Dianne's favorite plants.  Here is a close-up shot at one of the blossoms.

There was only a moderate elevation change on this hike.  Dianne, why are you looking up?
There are only a few steps here.
Ok, just a few more.  This trail was rated as moderately strenuous, in the review that Dianne read.  (I read a different review.)  

We made it to the top of the trail.  I attempted to scramble to the very top of the "peak," but made it only two-thirds of the way.  Dianne waited patiently below.  We had a picnic lunch before heading down.

I am always fascinated by the rock formations in the west.  Look at how this dome split in half.  Glad I was not underneath the right side when it collapsed.

Dianne thinks this looks like a person sitting in the sun.  

We took several pictures of Mastodon Peak, but none of them really look like a mastodon, at least to us --- so no pictures here.

We walked by the old Mastodon Gold Mine.  It was abandoned after the discovery that the gold seam had split.  They could not find the rest of the seam.

Much of the outer portions of the mine seem to have slid down the side of the mountain.

The highlights of the remaining portion of the hike are definitely botanical.  Dianne took lots of cool pictures before we returned to Cottonwood Springs.

Paper bag plant?  If it is, it is also called the desert bladder sage.   We saw one the day before that was not in bloom.  This is a lot better. 

Look at this tiny blue guy.  There is a lot of color in the desert if you just look.

Ho hum, another cholla cactus.  Oh wait, this one is in bloom.

Have no idea what it is, but it's pretty!

Time to leave this beautiful place and return to our hovel of an RV park (for two more nights).  Well maybe for one more night.  Stay tuned.

The title of the pet picture of the day is: Pizza Please.  (Bandido and Tequila here:  He only gave us a couple of pieces of the crust!)   Mean Dad.

1 comment:

MsHeyduke said...

Really enjoyed your pics. Looks like you had a great day!