Joshua Tree, Day 2: Willow Hole and the Wonderland of Rocks

Distance: 7.2 MilesElevation Gained: Eh.Difficulty: ModerateCritters: RavenGet there like this. Details:Willow Hole and the Wonderland of Rocks. That sounds like either a fantasy movie or an album by an obscure prog band. Turns out that this is an actual place - and a beautiful one, at that.This was the signature hike for this camping trip. I …

Joshua Tree, Day 2: Ryan Mountain

Distance: 2.9 MilesElevation Gained: 1,070'Difficulty: ModerateCritters: NoneGet here like this.Details:While I was sitting atop Ryan Mountain and enjoying a panoramic view of two deserts, a man came huffing and puffing up to the summit. He looked left. He looked right. He then stood there for a couple of minutes, turned around, and left.I struggled to …

Joshua Tree, Day 1: Barker Dam

Rocks showing the waterline within Barker ResevoirDistance: 4.5 milesElevation Gained: Not certain there is anyDifficulty: EasyCritters: A roadrunner, a hawkGet there like this.Details:Everything in the desert is centered around water. Plants evolve elaborate responses to the climate such as small, waxy leaves that balance the need to conserve water with the need to photosynthesize abundant …

My Top Ten Hikes

Many components can comprise a great hike: degree of difficulty, sense of accomplishment, scenery, one's companions, and variables such as weather conditions, wildlife, or uniquely memorable incidences, all of which can transform a routine or average hike into something spectacular. Just about every hike contains a degree of any one of these elements, although some hikes will …