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Joshua Tree National Park Backpacking Trip – May 2019

05/26/2019

Joshua Trees on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

I was down in Los Angeles for a recent vacation and we hiked into Joshua Tree National Park for an overnight backpacking trip. These pictures were shot on an iPhone 8 (not 8 Plus) and no filters we’re used (or animals harmed) for these photos in the making of this adventure. All shots are todo natural. You cannot go wrong when such incredible beauty is surrounding you…all you have to do it point and shoot!

 

We hiked the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole and the Wonderland of Rocks area.

 

The trail starts up into a rocky valley, which you have to hike into, and then up and over (about 1000 foot elevation gain) to gain the expansive valley floor of Joshua Tree park (where the actual Joshua Tree’s start to manifest). It’s a beautiful, relatively moderate hike, and it starts here –

 

Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

When you get high enough on the ridge, the view towards Yucca Valley and Twenty-Nine Palms starts to open up –

Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

When you get up and over the ridge, the park opens up to a otherworldly land of Joshua Tree’s as far as you can see –

Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

There’s also a view in the distance of Mt. San Gorgonio, the highest mountain in Southern California at 11,503 feet elevation. It’s called “Old Greyback” for a reason and is the highest mountain going out towards Palm Springs (on the left if you are on the 10 Freeway). Center of photo –

 

Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

This is what the trail looks like. It wasn’t too hot on the desert valley floor (about 72-74 degrees or so). The sun was hot though, since there is no shade at all.

 

Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

There were incredibly majestic Joshua Tree’s all around us, as far as you can see –

 

Joshua Trees on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

 

“The name Joshua Tree is commonly said to have been given by a group of Mormon settlers crossing the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century: The tree’s role in guiding them through the desert combined with its unique shape reminded them of a biblical story in which Joshua keeps his hands reached out for an extended period of time in order to guide the Israelites in their conquest of Canaan” – Wikipedia reference cited here.

 

Joshua Trees on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

The desert was in bloom with many beautiful flowers and signs of life – lots of flowers everywhere!

 

Desert Bloom on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Desert Bloom on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Desert Bloom on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Desert Bloom on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Desert Bloom on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Desert Bloom on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

And a barrel cactus too –

 

Desert Bloom on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

We saw lots of wildlife. Desert cottontail rabbits, hundreds of ant hills, a RED western rattlesnake (look really close in the picture) and two desert tortoises (we kept our distance). The desert felt healthy and alive. We also heard coyote’s howling in the distance in the evening. A bit unnerving however, still a welcome and joyous sound in the desert.

Desert Tortoise - Boy Scout Trail - Joshua TreeWildlife on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019Wildlife on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019Wildlife on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

We hiked into the Wonderland of Rocks area and there were massive ancient rock formations everywhere. It was like a Flintstones world. I felt as though a Pterodactyl was going to fly up over the rocks any moment…seriously.

Rock Formations on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019Rock Formations on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019Rock Formations on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019Rock Formations on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019Rock Formations on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019Rock Formations on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019Rock Formations on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

The shadows were getting longer as evening in the desert came on –

Evening on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

Evening on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

Shadows Getting Longer

Evening on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Evening on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

Burned out tree on the Wonderland of Rocks Trail - Joshua Tree - May 2019

Evening on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

Evening on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

Evening on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

Evening on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

Home for the night –

Camp

 

I felt this was the evening’s best picture of a Joshua Tree that I was able to capture. I was really pleased with the way that it came out. My personal favorite – no filter.

 

Joshua Trees on the Boy Scout Trail to Willow Hole - Wonderland of Rocks - May 2019

 

The sun can be an oppressive force, so I was pretty well screened up with desert hat, white long sleeves, and sunscreen on my face (I like the Badger brand right now)….and lots of water. We packed 11 liters between us for two days.

 

Sun - The Desert's Great Oppressor

 

When we were driving back there were some ominous looking clouds (sort of reminded me of like Ghostbusters) gathering over Mt. San Jacinto.

Storm clouds assembling on the road to Mt. San Jacinto

 

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