St. Peter's Church in the village of West Lydford, England.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Keinton Mandeville, England.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Pogradec, Albania on October 2nd.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Another great day in Joshua Tree National Park

Written Wednesday morning, April 6th.

Around 8:30am yesterday morning, I saw a park ranger walk by with some paperwork in his hand. I went out and flagged him down to ask about their "campground full" signs.

He says "I've only found three vacant this morning."

And I replied "Yeah, but yesterday when we arrived just before noon the sign said campground full, yet we found  at least a dozen empty sites".

He says "Well, out of 125 sites, that's only 10% vacancy. I say that's full."

Huh? Okay. What else can you say about that? I turned to walk away.

He followed me and went on to say that it's very labor intensive to go around checking sites and that due to budget cutbacks they just don't have the manpower. I also asked about the outdated tags on the posts and he says it's the campers responsibility to remove them. Okay, but when they don't, I told him it was their responsibility. Oh, but then there's those budget cutbacks. Too much labor, don't ya know.

Yikes...maybe if they ran it more efficiently there wouldn't need to be budget cutbacks. Maybe put in a camp host site whose job it is to keep track of the vacancies and outdated tags. As it is, if it's full every night they've got over $50,000 a month coming in. Makes you wonder how they spend it.

The Beetle on the "4 wheel drive" road.

We went for a drive down the Geology Trail, a dirt road with a sign that said "4 wheel drive only". It just looked like a normal dirt road to me, so I figured the Beetle was up for the challenge.

Nothing to it.

We only went about half way, so perhaps the road got worse further on, but any vehicle could have easily done the section that we saw. Not the greatest scenery though, so we turned around.

Lots of desert plants in bloom.

Then, we did the 1.3 mile (2 km) Barker Dam Trail. Some nice scenery in the rocks.

Heading towards the dam.

More desert flowers. Such brilliant colors!

Neat scenery.

Group selfie in the desert.

Climbing on the rocks.

The dam.

Back in the 1940's someone thought they would try and do some cattle ranching here and they built this dam to keep water available for the cattle year round. They learned that you can't raise cattle in the desert! During rainy season, the water level is full, but then it just evaporates through the dry season.

More beautiful flowers.

Hummingbird posing on a branch.

Then, we did the paved road to Key's View. And it was a great view, but I neglected to get a photo because I was busy with a very weak cell signal posting yesterday's blog for you all. There is no cell service in most of the park, but with a clear view down into the valley, I picked up a useable signal.

Back at Sherman for a late lunch, and then we did the short hike to Skull Rock.

Skull Rock.

Tony and Ruth.

Yoga on the rocks?

Ruth, sitting on the big rocks.

This morning, we're moving on to the Cottonwood Campground at the south entrance to the park. There's water and a dump station available, and hopefully a cell signal so that we can get back online. There's also a 4 mile (6.5 km) hike that we'd like to do.

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  1. Beautiful cactus flowers! That sure is a pretty place.

    1. We missed the Joshua Tree blooms but we are definitely getting our fill of cactus flowers and other wild flowers. The desert right now is quite colourful in certain areas.

  2. Some very interesting scenery and many different types of cactus there as well, enjoy,

    1. It's a great time of the year to visit the park! :-)

  3. We love Joshua Tree. The beauty of the desert in bloom and the huge boulders are just fantastic!

  4. I think we could stay in this park for a long time! What a beauty.... It is now on our bucket list...

    1. Yes, I wouldn't mind coming back here again and seeing more of the park and do some more hiking, it really is a beautiful park.

  5. So glad your time together is working out with great scenery and weather. Great hummingbird photo.

    1. Surprisingly enough we are doing really well with 4 us in Sherman. It is a little cluttered but we have all been making it work well.

      Thank you, we have seen quite a few hummingbirds. Helen and Tony love them, they don't have hummingbirds in England.

  6. Have you every gone to Borrego Springs. There is a Boon docking spot north of town called " Peg Leg ".

    1. That is exactly where we are right now. Pulled in yesterday evening and spent the night here and will probably spend another one here tonight. :-)

  7. The sad part is many State Parks are ran the same way or worse. And they don't mark the reserved sites so if you come in and take one the people that reserved may well show up late at night angered that you are in a site they reserved and paid for months age. AAnd this park had three camp host as as well as the park rangers. Only at the gate could you actually get a site and they closed at 5:00 PM.

    1. Wow, that is really bad! We would be totally upset on either end of the situation. How could they take a reservation and then not mark it on the site, very bad planning!

  8. Looks like you are in for some cooler weather!

    1. Yes it does, just in time for the beach! :-(

      Helen's feet will like the cooler weather though.

  9. Cattle ranching was very successful in that area for decades and still is in many if the surrounding areas. BLM grabs up all the land with water and forces the ranches out of business but that a whole other story.
    Try to make it out to Borrego Springs it is awesome.

    1. I believe you when you say that ranching was successful but we find it hard to believe that the animals managed to serve in this desert climate but like everything else they do adapt.

      We did check out Borrego Springs and enjoyed the little town and the boondocking that is available here.

  10. This same problem existed last time we were at Joshua Tree (2013). But I sort of can sympathize with their situation. Clearly they can't be expected to switch the sign every time there's one spot open and then back again as soon as it's filled. But then maybe two more become vacant, and they switch it again...until an hour later when those are filled. They may be better to not put any sign out at all. Or we could just realize that we should check for ourselves. Signage that has to be physically changed, cannot always be up-to-date.
    ~Love that park. Want to bring my grandkids there - we'd play on those rocks all day!

    1. We totally understand that they can't be switching the signs around all the time and we said the same thing to ourselves, that they should just do away with the "campground full" signs altogether! I think it is just better to drive through the campgrounds themselves and physical check each ticket/tag to see if it is valid or not and if it isn't valid than take the spot, and if it is valid then move on to the next vacant site and repeat the process.

      Yes, it was fun bouldering! :-)


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