I have been travelling East to West and West to East, back and forth – across the wide open, arid space of Joshua Tree National Park. In my camper, of course, placing water and food caches across the ninety some miles I am going to backpack.
This to me is ironic, seeing as on the 800 Mile Arizona Trail, I relied on just a couple of public locker box water caches. (These boxes were contributed by volunteers from the Arizona Trail Association).
Additionally, In 1984 and 1985 my x-wife and I hiked the entire length of the Canyon Country existing on only natural resources! Perhaps, the providence of a living God, saved us from turning into desiccated corpses laying on the desert floor. I called that trip, Walk the River Grand – From Source to Sea – Down the Colorado. That was over 30 years ago. The ultimate uber Canyon Country hike. Sixteen months from Rocky Mountain National Park to the Sea of Cortez. Look in the future for a book on our journey.
At any rate, I marvel at how dry Joshua Tree is. First I drove the long dirt road, and buried a cache of water, and cans of soup and fruit at Covington Flats. The next day I again drove a dirt road, and buried some water on the Eagle Mountain Road. Next I left food and water at the Porcupine Wash Trail head. The following day I drove the Geology Tour Road and placed a cache at the Pleasant Valley Trail head. Lastly, I left a cache at the Ryan Camp Ground.
Tomorrow I will start hiking on the California Riding and Hiking Trail from Black Rock Camp Ground, East towards Covington Flats. From their I will hike on the same to Ryan Camp Ground. It is of some interest to me that the CRHT, farther South, was once used for some long stretches of the Pacific Crest Trail. Often, a lot of two track road hiking, which I hiked on in 1972. Ah, the seventies – the glory days of the PCT!
Next, I continue on to the Pleasant Valley Trail head, where I embark on series of cross country wash hiking: Fried Liver Wash, Washington Wash and Porcupine Wash. I will finish on the Black Eagle Mine Road and the through the Big Wash hiking corridor, also cross country to the Eastern boundary of Joshua Tree National Park.
My long time friend Harley “Snuff” Walker is going to pick me up there, which will help avoid a very difficult hitchhike back to my truck at Black Rock Campground.
When I arrived at the Park, the weather was beautiful, hinting of spring and making me wish I had a sombrero. Quickly things changed, with wild winter weather – hollowing wind driven rain, turning to light snow. It is supposed to warm up, which leaves me with the question? Do I go ultra light as I did on the Arizona Trail? Or do I carry a warm sleeping bag and tent? I think I will go safe and pack for comfort.
Yours truly, always wandering in beauty,