Joshua Tree National Park - Day Three


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Published: September 30th 2017
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The Lost Horse MineThe Lost Horse MineThe Lost Horse Mine

Abandoned mine equipment. The square behind the wooden structure appears to be a shaft into the old mine. Above and to the left of where we were to take the picture is the remains of an old winch. Apparently cables ran over the top of the wooden structure and to the bottom of the gorge to transport the ore.
Geo: 34.1347, -116.312

For our second day hiking in Joshua Tree NP we did the Lost Horse Mine Trail, about a 6.5 mile loop around the Lost Horse Mountain, including a short spur trail to the actual abandoned mine site. Met a nice young man who has started on the same goal we have of hiking in as many national parks as we can before we become too old and decrepit to do it any more. Hopefully we can get most of them in. He has plenty of time to do all of them.



On the last half of the Lost Horse Mine Trail we hiked along a valley with lots of Joshua Trees. Many had huge flower blossoms on them. The Joshua Trees are so named because the first settlers thought they looked like Joshua of the Old Testament raising his arms. Maybe, if you use a lot of imagination!



After the Lost Horse Mine Trail we drove to Keys View and hiked to the top of Inspiration Point on an unofficial trail about half a mile in length but with an elevation gain of around 400 feet. Fantastic 360 degree views from there of the Coachella Valley
Along the Lost Horse Mine TrailAlong the Lost Horse Mine TrailAlong the Lost Horse Mine Trail

Taken along the trail by a nice young man that we met on the trail who was from Ventura, CA.
where the San Andreas Fault lies to the south and the high desert in the park to the north.



On the way back to the motel we stopped at another trail called the Boy Scout Trail. This is a fairly long trail through the middle of the desert but with a side trail to some water sources about 3.5 miles from the trailhead. We made it about 1.5 miles down the trail before deciding we had had enough. The trail was pretty boring and we were beat having done about 11 miles total this day.





Additional photos below
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A Joshua TreeA Joshua Tree
A Joshua Tree

Joshua trees are a relative of the Yucca plant (another name for them is Yucca Palm) which is also very abundant in the desert here. The park has relatively flat desert areas with hundreds of these trees, then, for no apparent reason, the area transitions to plain desert with no trees, just other usual desert plants of yucca, creosote, sage, etc. The name Joshua tree was given by a group of Mormon settlers who crossed the Mojave Desert in the mid-19th century. The tree's unique shape reminded them of a Biblical story in which Joshua reaches his hands up to the sky in prayer.
A Joshua Tree FlowerA Joshua Tree Flower
A Joshua Tree Flower

The flowers are produced in spring from February to late April. These flower clusters were huge and lots of trees had the blooms. They do not bloom every year. According to Wikipedia, their blooming is dependent on rainfall at the proper time. They also need a winter freeze before they will bloom. Once they bloom, the trees are pollinated by the yucca moth, which spreads pollen while laying her eggs inside the flower.
From Inspiration PointFrom Inspiration Point
From Inspiration Point

Taken from Inspiration Point above Keys View. The Joshua Tree and rocks in the forground are on the summit while the flat area beyond the mountains in the background is some 5,000 feet below.
Another from Inspiration PointAnother from Inspiration Point
Another from Inspiration Point

This picture is a combination of two pictures stitched together. The circular area in the left center of the picture is the walkway to the overlook at Keys View, some 400 feet below Inspiration Point.
Boy Scout TrailBoy Scout Trail
Boy Scout Trail

The Boy Scout Trail traverses the flat desert. Not too interesting if you're looking for expansive vistas but very interesting if you take the time to look at the plants. The desert has had a good bit of rain this year so lots of flowers, relatively speaking, were blooming.


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