Joshua Tree National Park – Ocotillo Patch & Turkey Flats

From Arch Rock I continued south on Pinto Basin Road.  It’s Friday meaning the park is filling with weekend visitors and I wanted no part of the crowds.  The southern entrance gets far less traffic and should give me some peace.  This post is a bit “odds and ends” that don’t fit elsewhere so I can put pins on my mashup map.

Ocotillo Patch

First pullout heading south is at Ocotillo Patch, a scenic stop where you can observe hundreds of ocotillo spotted across the gravelly desert landscape.

Did you know these aren’t cactus but in fact a woody deciduous shrub?  They can also grow & drop their leaves up to 5 times a year based on moisture levels.

I didn’t hike into this area for fear of damaging the ecosystem.  This one was close to the road and must have been 10-15 feet tall.

Turkey Flats

Next pullout was at Turkey Flats.  According to the sign it was named this way because someone thought it would be wise to start a turkey farm here (Narrator: it was not wise).

The desert spans for what seems like eternity here.  Appears there are backcountry hiking opportunities here but I didn’t partake today.

Bonus: Odd Horror Story

I only spent a few minutes at Turkey Flats because the only other person in the parking area freaked me out.  It was an elderly couple in a very old Subaru packed full of what looked like their entire belongings.

The woman exited the car and approached me slowly with wide-eyes.  As I said “Hello” she responded softly with phrases like “Don’t hurt her, please don’t hurt her” and “That’s how they get you”.  I got the impression she had some type of mental trauma / dementia, was on drugs, or both.

As I listened to her incoherent statements trying to respond politely and assess the situation I peeked at the car in my periphery.  Her husband was in the car and sat stiff as a mannequin clutching the steering wheel and not moving so much as to blink or breathe.  In this instant I got chills down my spine and don’t know why.

Not even 100% sure these people weren’t apparitions.  Felt major murder vibes so I packed up and kept moving on.  If you see a ghost Subaru find another spot.

Lat = 33.9269981 , Long = -115.9057922 -- Show at Google Maps

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