Homestead National Historical Park

Homestead National Historical Park - George Palmer cabin exterior

Sometimes visiting a place leaves you angry, upset, but ultimately glad it exits as a record of horrible things from the past. That’s pretty much how I felt after visiting Homestead National Monument today on a dreary and gray-skied morning in Beatrice, Nebraska. [Update: It appears the name has changed now to Homestead National Historic … Read more

Saguaro National Park (West)

Saguaro National Park - View of the mountains and petroglyphs from atop Signal Hill

Had enough of the Phoenix area for a while so I started heading east. Ended up at Saguaro National Park, West Section (Tucson Mountain District) which is of course in Tucson, Arizona. Weather was a perfect 72°F and partly sunny, however I forgot it was a Saturday which means National Parks regardless of location are … Read more

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument - Hazy desert view from atop the Bull Pasture trail

After booking a terrible AirBnB in Maricopa it was time to get back on track with my plans. The original idea was to fly in and immediately drive to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument and hike a couple days. Now plans have changed but at least I get one full day until I can come … Read more

Joshua Tree – Lost Horse Mine

Joshua Tree - Trees on Lost Horse Loop

As I completed hikes I was crossing them off my paper map which was now covered in a fair amount of X’s.  The big hike for today was to Lost Horse Mine / Lost Horse Loop trail for a 6.5 mile ass kicking. The trail starts and immediately climbs but has a gentle ascent that … Read more

Joshua Tree – Ryan Mountain

Joshua Tree - Views From Atop Ryan Mountain

No time to waste today, weekend crowds would surely be crazy so it’s time to get on the trails ASAP.  First stop is Ryan Mountain, a small peak popular for it’s 360° panoramic views. The trail is about 1.5 miles each way but climbs about 1000 feet in that span.  Most of the trail is … Read more

Joshua Tree – Belle Sunrise

Joshua Tree - Sunrise from Belle Campground

No star photos last night (overcast skies) but I did catch an awesome sunrise from camp this morning.  Not much else to say – this is what makes my trips worth the effort. After my nutritious breakfast of coffee and Pop Tarts I broke down camp and headed out for some final hiking.  Stay tuned, … Read more

Joshua Tree – Lost Palms Oasis

Joshua Tree - Lost Palms Oasis Trail

From Mastodon Peak I continued on the trail to Lost Palms Oasis.  This is an in/out trail going about 3 miles each way. The trail winds through many different types of landscape – hills, sandy washes, patches of rocks, and just about everything in between. Damages from flash flooding in October has blocked off the … Read more

Joshua Tree – Mastodon Peak

Joshua Tree - Mastodon Peak

Today’s afternoon trek would be a long one starting at the far southern entrance at Cottonwood Springs.  Parts of the road & trail were closed due to flood damage but you could access the trail via the Cottonwood Campground. The trail starts by winding through a sandy hike through the lower lying fingers and has … Read more

Joshua Tree – Ocotillo Patch & Turkey Flats

Joshua Tree - Ocotillo Patch

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 … Read more

Joshua Tree – Arch Rock

Joshua Tree - Arch Rock Nature Trail

Still overcast this morning so no sunrise views.  Took a short drive south from the campground to check out the Arch Rock Nature Trail.  Parking at the Twin Tanks backcountry trailhead makes this a short bit longer than signs indicate. The trail first crosses flat desert and is mostly unspectacular.  This section is only about … Read more