Joshua Tree National Park, November 11 & 12, 2017

This past weekend we headed out to Joshua Tree National Park, one of my favorite places to visit.  We arrived early Saturday morning and started the day off with a climb up Ryan Mountain.  This hike is a 3 mile out and back with about 1,000’ elevation gain/loss.  The summit has some really great 360 views of the park.  We could see all the way out to San Jacinto and San Gorgonio from the peak.  It was a very enjoyable hike with a little bit of a workout too.  When we got down from the mountain, the parking lot was full of people.  I knew it was going to be a busy weekend, so to avoid the crowds we drove to Juniper Flats which is the halfway point of the California Riding & Hiking Trail.  The California Riding & Hiking Trail is a 35 mile backcountry trek that traverses the park.  We hopped on and headed in about 3 miles.  If you want to experience the rugged desert and have the trail to yourself this is the way to go.  The only sound I heard besides our own footsteps were the birds and maybe a plane overhead.  As much as we both wanted to keep going, it was time to turn around and head back to our accommodations at the Campbell House, my favorite bed & breakfast in the desert.  We arrived just in time for afternoon coffee and sweets which is served daily in the great room.  Then, after a nice relaxing shower we headed off to the 29 Palms Inn for dinner.  The 29 Palms Inn never disappoints with delicious food and great cocktails.  The rest of the evening we spent enjoying our beautiful room.  The next day I slept in until 6:30 am.  That’s actually pretty late for me, and I admit it was hard not to wake my husband up at 4:30 am and drag him out of bed and off into the desert.  But I resisted the urge and enjoyed the warm, cozy bed until breakfast was served.  After breakfast we checked out and drove up the 62 to Canyon Road which dead ends at the trailhead for the Fortynine Palms Oasis.  The trail climbed up to a ridge and then down into a canyon where we ended up at a magical, green oasis bustling with wildlife.  It was a beautiful thing to see; a wonder of nature.  After the hike, we headed back home.  It’s always so hard to leave the desert.  We had a fantastic weekend.  
 

GPS stats:
Ryan Mtn:  2.9 miles, 5,457’, (1,079’ +/-) 
CA Riding & Hiking Trail + spur trail to Ryan Ranch:  5.7 miles, (312’ +/-)
Fortynine Palms Oasis:  3.2 miles (768’ +/-)
 

 At the trailhead.  Only 1.5 miles to the peak, but it's a nice climb with 1,000' of elevation.  

At the trailhead.  Only 1.5 miles to the peak, but it's a nice climb with 1,000' of elevation.  

 It must have taken a lot of work to build all these steps.

It must have taken a lot of work to build all these steps.

 Still going up steps. :)

Still going up steps. :)

 Winding around the mountain.

Winding around the mountain.

 The sky is getting bluer.

The sky is getting bluer.

 Still going up.

Still going up.

 Looking back to enjoy the views.

Looking back to enjoy the views.

 The summit sign and cairn come into view.

The summit sign and cairn come into view.

 Views from the peak of Mount San Jacinto and Mount San Gorgonio.

Views from the peak of Mount San Jacinto and Mount San Gorgonio.

 One day I will climb this giant!

One day I will climb this giant!

 And maybe this one too!

And maybe this one too!

 Views.

Views.

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 Last photo from the trek down Ryan Mountain.

Last photo from the trek down Ryan Mountain.

 Heading straight into the backcountry on the California Riding and Hiking Trail.

Heading straight into the backcountry on the California Riding and Hiking Trail.

 Wonderful trail if you like solitude.

Wonderful trail if you like solitude.

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 We turned around to head back at this giant black rock we found after about 3 miles in.

We turned around to head back at this giant black rock we found after about 3 miles in.

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 This was a great section of trail.  

This was a great section of trail.  

 Sunday morning, heading up the trail to Fortynine Palms Oasis.  First time I've ever been on trails that have steps built into them.

Sunday morning, heading up the trail to Fortynine Palms Oasis.  First time I've ever been on trails that have steps built into them.

 Heading up to the ridge.

Heading up to the ridge.

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 Now dropping down into the canyon.

Now dropping down into the canyon.

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 And suddenly the palms appear.  

And suddenly the palms appear.  

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 What a magical place.

What a magical place.

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 It was very surreal to see this in the middle of nowhere.

It was very surreal to see this in the middle of nowhere.

 My husband admiring this wonder of nature.

My husband admiring this wonder of nature.

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 Last photo from the trek down.

Last photo from the trek down.