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Random thoughts and pictures from our travels in a LazyDaze motorhome.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Keys View

Today was a driving day. Joshua Tree is a BIG park, since it was about 30 miles to the next campground. Cottonwood Springs is on the southern edge of the park, devoid of cell and land-line phone service, and commercial electricity. A large bank of solar collectors powers the lights at the visitor center, residences, and campground. There are two deserts in the park. The Colorado at the lower elevations, below three thousand feet and the Mojave above that. The joshua tree is found in the Mojave, and Carla's pic is a good example.

A forest of joshua trees as we drove to the Keys View. The view is on a high ridge looking west toward the towns of Indio and Palm Srpings.

A shot from Keys View. A couple of days ago I asked what important geologic formation can be seen in the vicinity? This picture confirms the location of the San Andreas Fault. Can you pick its location? Email us if you don't know.

On the park road tour, we stopped near the Barker Dam trail and did a short 1.5 mile hike. Barker Dam was built by local ranchers by hand, creating a permanent small lake of around 20 acres. It is amazing to see water in the middle of these rock formations. Cattle grazing was common in the area around the turn of the century and became increasingly risky as the climate turned drier in the 20s and 30s. Rainfall used to be 8 to 12 inches a year, now it is 2-5 inches.

Here is the small dam. Early ranchers built the base using small rocks. Another rancher in the 30s who bought the property extended it higher using concrete. He did a good job.

Here is the draw below the dam. An old wooden stock tank is still there plus a hand made concrete tank built in 1934. It is an unusual design with concentric walls. A pipe must have filled the small inner tank then flowed over into the larger area. The picture below shows it the best.

After driving around for a large part of the day, we journeyed north out of the park to TwentyNine Palms for a pizza at Rockies on Highway 62. There is a large marine base on the northern side of TwentyNine Palms with plenty of tattoo parlors on the road to the base. 

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