Joshua Tree NP – Day Three – 3/21/13 – Zero Miles
When Jeff sent me the itinerary for the Joshua Tree trip he included a description: hike to the summit of Quail Mountain, the high point of the Park, mostly off trail (out and back, 10.5 miles). I immediately knew that this would be my town day. Too many miles in the hot desert, no trail so I would have to keep the guys in my sights, and I just wasn’t feeling it. So I dropped them off and…
Went to Coyote Corner for my hot shower. As I walked from the parking lot, a small woman walked alongside me, didn’t say hi, sped up a little bit to get in the door ahead of me. At the counter she paid for two showers (her and her husband who was somewhere close by), meaning I had to wait because there are only two units. Took the hubby nearly 25 minutes to be done – Lord only knows what the wife was doing.
Checked out the Park’s Visitor Center, watched their excellent video, learned that the rock piles in Joshua Tree are the result of slow erosion, not a big flood or rocks tumbling from great heights. The VC was extremely crowded so I didn’t hang around.
Returned to Crossroads Café for a little brunch. I had a food deficit to make up for: yogurt and granola with fresh fruit, plus French toast. Reading my guidebook, drinking a second cup of coffee, sitting on a soft chair – yeah, roughing it makes you appreciate the “soft” parts more. As I paid for my meal at the counter, a male customer behind me said, “I don’t normally say things like this but…” Hhmmm, what’s coming? He continued,” But your hair looks beautiful.” He should have seen me an hour ago! Haha!
Drove around a bit to uncover the town of Joshua Tree but, to my mild surprise, there really wasn’t much going on. It was mid-week, but this is supposed to be their busy time, right? Art gallery closed, a couple of stores closed, but a couple of vegan restaurants were open. Is it too soon to eat again?
By 1:00 p.m. I returned to the trailhead to meet Jeff and David and settled in to read my book, “Tortilla Curtain”, a fantastic story for the setting we were in. They were due back at 2:00 p.m. but didn’t show up until 4:30 p.m. They chose to return a different way, adding unforeseen mileage (yeah, that possibility is one reason why I didn’t go.) It sounded like a rewarding but tough hike and Jeff acknowledged that I made a wise choice to opt out. Good for him, too, so he didn’t have to drag me back.
Watched rock climbers at the parking lot while I was waiting
Back to Coyote Corner for the guys to get hot showers, too, then dinner at the Joshua Tree Saloon. I had to settle for a burger without mushrooms because they ran out. What, no grocery store to run to for such a simple thing?
Saw this gem as we were leaving the Saloon, by that time it was closed. How did I miss this???
We cruised a few streets in town, stopped to fill up on water at the VC’s outside spigots, then back to Ryan Campground. The sky was very clear with a two-thirds moon and the stars were very vibrant. The usual noisy campers were nearby but earplugs can fix that.
I finished my book (wow!) and lights out.
“If you can spend a perfectly useless afternoon in a perfectly useless manner, you have learned how to live.” ~Lin Yutang