The Split Rock Trail - Winterlude 2020 - CycleBlaze

February 25, 2021

The Split Rock Trail

Moving day today.  We’re off to Twentynine Palms for three nights, for a few days to revisit Joshua Tree National Monument.  From the looks of the sky this morning, we’ve picked a good time to leave.  After ten straight sunny days, today the sky is thick and grey, with poor visibility - you can only see the nearest ranges.  Not an attractive day for a bike ride, really.

We’ve been going back and forth last night and this morning trying to fix on the best plan for the day.  Should we get up early and hike up Palm Canyon before we leave, hoping to see those big horned sheep?  Or should we get to 29 Palms early and take an afternoon hike there?  Should we have breakfast downtown before leaving, or there after we arrive?

It looks too cold and windy to sit outside for breakfast at either end, and the cafes we’ve scoped out don’t look like they do outdoor dining anyway.  Finally it occurs to us that we’ll be passing near Palm Springs on the way, and we could eat there.  

It was worth all the deliberations to finally hit on the perfect solution.  Palm Springs nicely breaks the ride in half, and breakfast at The Farm is excellent: a French place with patio seating, it serves us up heaping omelets sided with grilled potatoes and a baguette, plus a French press.  

And it’s interesting seeing a bit of Palm Springs for the first time.  It doesn’t look like much of a cycling base, but it could be a good spot for a few hiking days.  Imposing mountains rise straight up for thousands of feet just out of downtown, and there is a bushel full of tempting restaurants to come back to at the end of the day.

On the drive east to the Salton Sea, we can barely see the outline of the range in the background. Doesn’t look like much of a day for hiking out to Fonts Point either.
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It’s a tradition! Every time we pass through Desert Sands we stop for another look at Shesha Sand Storm, the unnerving mural painted here in 2013 by Christina Angelina and Fin Dac. You’ll remember Fin Dac, of course: he’s the guy that paints those exotic, geisha-like murals all over the world. We saw one of his creations in Tucson, and one home in Portland.
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Downtown Palm Springs. Not exactly my kind of place - too glitzy and car-centric - but the trees and mountains are amazing.
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They do revere their palms here in Palm Springs.
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This bottle brush tree is huge - it must be 30 feet tall. I had no idea it grows to this scale.
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We arrive in 29 Palms sometime after 2, hit up the grocery store, and check in at our motel for our three night stay.  A half hour later we’re back in the car and driving up into the national monument.  We end the day on the Split Rock Trail, a short 2-1/2 mile loop hike through the huge, wildly sculpted granite piles and boulders that characterize the high ground at the top of the park.   

It’s a great walk, and a perfect end to the day - we make it back to the car not long after the sun drops below the mountains.  If you’ve been to Joshua Tree before, you already know that this (and early morning, I imagine) is the best time to see this country.  The granite formations really spring to life at the close of the day.

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The famous Split Rock, I presume.
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It’s an enjoyable and comfortable trail to hike, outlined by stones here and there.
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Isn’t that Team Anderson? I take it for granite.
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Jen GrumbyTeam Anderson is on the Granite ..
Like creatures from distant planet!
With two arms between them
Strange voices through thick phlegm
Rachael changes her name to Janet.
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1 month ago
Bob DistelbergYou guys rock!
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Bob DistelbergAnd the best comment of the day award goes to . . . The envelope, please.
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1 month ago
Juniper berries.
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On the Split Rock Trail.
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Cholla here too, so you have to watch your step and keep at a safe distance. My lifetime worst cholla encounter was here in Joshua Tree, when I was brutally attacked by a gang of jumping cholla.
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I’m really unclear on what distinguishes the Mojave and Sonoran Deserts, but the vegetation mix is definitely different here.
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Bill ShaneyfeltJoshua trees are a distinguishing characteristic of the Mojave Desert and Saguaro cacti are a distinguishing characteristic of the somewhat lower and "generally" warmer Sonoran Desert. There are other characteristics as well. Here is a web site with nice, succinct coverage of our southwest deserts.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mojave_Desert
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1 month ago
Another full moon night - or nearly so. It won’t actually be full for another three nights, so we’ve still got a few acts to look forward to.
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On the Split Rock Trail.
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On the Split Rock Trail.
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Just another moon shot.
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What a doughy, dumpy figure this cuts. What kind of petrified creature is this, anyway?
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Steve Miller/GrampiesOverweight, lost, pelican.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesPathetic, but brilliant.
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1 month ago
On the Split Rock Trail.
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Patrick O'HaraBeauty shot, Scott.
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1 month ago
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Yucca Man.
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Jen GrumbyYucca Man, with his spikey hair:
Not suave! And not debonair!
This guy is hip
Don't give him no lip!
And, please! Don't stand there and stare.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Jen GrumbyAnother two limerick day! I’m honored.
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1 month ago
On the Split Rock Trail.
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A Joshua tree, in Joshua Tree.
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