Joshua Tree Back Roads - Easter Weekend 2003

Besides the furry, Seussian tree for which the park is named, Joshua Tree National Park is known for its dramatic topography. The central portion of the park contains vast fields of boulders and massifs on which the experienced rock climber and the neophyte hiker can play with equal pleasure. Upon our arrival at Jumbo Rocks, one of the larger of these outcroppings, I eagerly bounded up the boulders. This was a part of the park I had anticipated with some excitement. I joined my cohorts on the top of Jumbo Rock, perusing the commanding view of the valley. We struck a pose for the photographers below and descended, ready for the next adventure (though I wanted to stay and play on the rocks more).

DanaMite next led us along another back road to the Desert Queen Mine, where we found the ruins of the old ranch and mining residence. Here, I was foiled again in my quest to actually see a mine (having missed the one that Les and the others discovered on Black Eagle Mine Road). Maybe next visit.

We ended the day by driving through White Tank campground, which was our originally-planned camp site before Easter weekend crowds forced us into the southern end of the park. Hopefully we'll stay at this site on future visits. Fifteen sites sit nestled within towering boulders, offering dramatic vistas and fun climbing right in your "backyard." Best of all, camping at the site is free with your paid admission to the park ($10 per vehicle, good for seven days).

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