Before we backtracked to the BLM land, we decided to do a nearby hike. Alice stayed in the trailer, and the rest of us did a 2.5ish mile loop around the hills. There was a little detour that we took, where you climbed up a big pile of rocks called Mastodon Peak. From the top, you could see the Salton Sea in the distance! It's very pretty around here, we're definitely In God's Country.
Another attraction on the trail was a really old abandoned mine. There was a mineshaft that was still open, but you had to squeeze through some bars to get to it. There's a bunch of mines around here, it seems like, there was probably a Red Hill Mining Town or two around here.
After the hike, we drove back south out of the park to the BLM land, where we stayed the night. We put up the antenna, but we couldn't connect to any Internet. (I've been pretty Internet-less recently, I've been looking and looking, but I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For!)
The BLM land was nice, not too crowded. One thing you see a lot of on public lands like these are shotgun shells. (A lot of them too, like someone was trying to Bullet the Blue Sky!) There's
also a bunch of broken glass around too, apparently people will use bottles for target practice.
We drove back into the park the next morning, after doing some spring cleaning. On the way through, we talked to a couple of bikers. They're newlyweds who are biking across the country for their honeymoon! (That's a cool idea, I'll have to remember it...) Their blog is honeycycle.blogspot.com .
All the roads are pretty aptly named around here, it's not like some other places we've been, when it feels like we're Where The Streets Have No Name.
We stopped for lunch at a "cactus garden," and talked to some other full-timers who noticed that we have solar panels. It's always fun talking to other people on the road. My dad showed the guy our solar system, and they talked about how best to "Trip Through Your Wires.") You can definitely tell that it's Spring Break, this is the most people we've seen in a while.
As we drove farther north, we started to see Joshua trees, and these HUGE piles of rocks! We pulled over by a bunch of rocks so Alice and I could get out and climb around. There was one time where Alice almost got her foot stuck, and she couldn't move -- it was like she was Running to Stand Still! She got herself out pretty quickly though, thankfully. (I told her that I was gonna keep going "With or Without You!")
I really enjoyed looking at the Joshua trees, I think they look really cool. There's a TON of them in the north end of the park, not so much in the south end, or outside the park. In the north end though, there's a bunch of them. (There's no "One Tree Hill" around here, the trees are all over the place, hill or no hill! They're kinda like the saguaro cactus that way -- they're all over their ideal environment, but not so much outside of it.)
We kept going, until we came to a trail that we had talked about doing. As we were getting ready to go for the (short) hike, I was looking at the rocks and thinking that it might be more fun to scramble around for a bit. I convinced Alice to come, and we went for a little adventure while the parents took a walk/hike.
We scrambled up/around/under up the pile, until we came to this big, dark crack in the mountain that we couldn't find a way past. Right about then, some other people squeezed out of the rock from the other side of the mountain. They told us that you couldn't come through from the side we had come up, you had to go up the other side, squeeze through this tiny chute into the crack we were in, and go down the other side. Oh well... We turned around, and made it to the ground right about the same time the parents got back. (The trail was only a one mile loop, but they got a little lost... I thought they would've been back ages ago, and my mom would be wondering where we were, like one of the Mothers of the Disappeared.) I kinda wanted to stay and go up the other side, but everyone else was tired, and it was getting late... So we packed up and made our Exit from the national park, and over to some BLM land east of (the town of) Joshua Tree for the night.