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Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms, California

View of the Mojave from Indian Cove campground
View of the Mojave from Indian Cove campground

After hiking in Joshua Tree National Park, I camped in Indian Cove beneath batholiths. I had come to see the Wonderland of Rocks, which thanks to Minerva Hoyt is publicly preserved and accessible.

Surrounded by the long-leaning shadows of the mammoth rocks at sunset, with an expansive view of the Mojave and picturesque vista of snow-capped San Gorgonio, I was a happy woman. And as the sun dipped below the horizon, the drumming began.

Somewhere amidst the prehistoric rocks and thorny bushes, a group of drummers pounded the skins by campfire. Very primal – it couldn’t have been more perfect. I’d seen some interesting things and heard some great music throughout my travels, all seemingly fitting for time and place, and this was no different. The moon rose and galaxies appeared. I climbed the boulder behind my tent and put out my arms to the heavens, smiling, elated for such small blessings.

After an excellent night’s sleep, I broke camp. I had noticed murals in Twentynine Palms and wanted to go back there to explore, having just driven through town on my way to the Park. Barstow had murals, too, and I was curious, noting an obvious trend.

Turns out, both towns along the old Route 66 have walking maps guiding tourists to the murals along their “main” streets. Most are historic in nature, although not all. The paintings in Don Gray’s Dr. Luckie mural and John Whitalk’s Dirty Sock Camp mural are so realistic, they look like a series of vintage photographs.

Aside from the murals, Twentynine Palms was an interesting find, and I’m really glad I bothered to backtrack. Situated strategically between the Mojave and Joshua Tree, the small town serves as the gateway into some of the country’s most desolate, windswept sand fields.

Good thing the area also affords unsurpassed beauty, clear skies and thermal hot springs. It was named after twenty-nine palm trees that surrounded Mara Oasis when the gold diggers first rolled into the vicinity. After centuries of providing shelter for local inhabitants, the trees were promptly logged by the mindless meandering miners. Although the world's largest Marine base is also located there, I saw no evidence of it anywhere. (Then again, I wasn’t really looking for it.)

Out of sheer curiosity, I made my way over to the 29 Palms Inn, where U2 wrote The Joshua Tree – because really, how could I not.

With an eclectic spread of historic buildings comprising its "rooms," many which were relocated to the property, the Inn has long since been a hotspot for Hollywood starlets. A vintage houseboat floats in the palm-shaded Faultline Pond, so named because it sits right smack on top of – you guessed it – the San Andreas Fault.

The restaurant serves fresh produce grown out back in an expansive garden fenced with piney palm frond stems. I had the black bean tostada, which was really good.

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View of the Mojave from Indian Cove campground
View of the Mojave from Indian Cove campground

After hiking in Joshua Tree National Park, I camped in Indian Cove beneath batholiths. I had come to see the Wonderland of Rocks, which thanks to Minerva Hoyt is publicly preserved and accessible.

Surrounded by the long-leaning shadows of the mammoth rocks at sunset, with an expansive view of the Mojave and picturesque vista of snow-capped San Gorgonio, I was a happy woman. And as the sun dipped below the horizon, the drumming began.

Somewhere amidst the prehistoric rocks and thorny bushes, a group of drummers pounded the skins by campfire. Very primal – it couldn’t have been more perfect. I’d seen some interesting things and heard some great music throughout my travels, all seemingly fitting for time and place, and this was no different. The moon rose and galaxies appeared. I climbed the boulder behind my tent and put out my arms to the heavens, smiling, elated for such small blessings.

After an excellent night’s sleep, I broke camp. I had noticed murals in Twentynine Palms and wanted to go back there to explore, having just driven through town on my way to the Park. Barstow had murals, too, and I was curious, noting an obvious trend.

Turns out, both towns along the old Route 66 have walking maps guiding tourists to the murals along their “main” streets. Most are historic in nature, although not all. The paintings in Don Gray’s Dr. Luckie mural and John Whitalk’s Dirty Sock Camp mural are so realistic, they look like a series of vintage photographs.

Aside from the murals, Twentynine Palms was an interesting find, and I’m really glad I bothered to backtrack. Situated strategically between the Mojave and Joshua Tree, the small town serves as the gateway into some of the country’s most desolate, windswept sand fields.

Good thing the area also affords unsurpassed beauty, clear skies and thermal hot springs. It was named after twenty-nine palm trees that surrounded Mara Oasis when the gold diggers first rolled into the vicinity. After centuries of providing shelter for local inhabitants, the trees were promptly logged by the mindless meandering miners. Although the world's largest Marine base is also located there, I saw no evidence of it anywhere. (Then again, I wasn’t really looking for it.)

Out of sheer curiosity, I made my way over to the 29 Palms Inn, where U2 wrote The Joshua Tree – because really, how could I not.

With an eclectic spread of historic buildings comprising its "rooms," many which were relocated to the property, the Inn has long since been a hotspot for Hollywood starlets. A vintage houseboat floats in the palm-shaded Faultline Pond, so named because it sits right smack on top of – you guessed it – the San Andreas Fault.

The restaurant serves fresh produce grown out back in an expansive garden fenced with piney palm frond stems. I had the black bean tostada, which was really good.

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Comments
2

i climbed there...with a dusty colored lover who made me forget the desert heat but not his own

~~i loved both~~

Jan. 7, 2012

Leave it to you!

Feb. 21, 2012

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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