So it rained last night, that's got to be rare in the summer in the desert, my little earth pod kept me dry and warm (er a little too warm to be honest) and I was woken at sunrise by crows (little freaky).
I made my way into the State park as there was a guided walk at 9am I wanted to take to learn about the area and as the park is large and I had no idea where I was going I needed to give myself plenty of time to get to the right place. A $15 entry per vehicle (once again penalized for being single, lol) gets you access for 6 days to the park, which seems pretty reasonable given the cost it must take to keep these parks running.
I just got there on time and there were only a few other people waiting for the walk. Carey our guide took us on the 2 mile loop of Skull Rock and was excellent at explaining all about the plants, wildlife and formation of the park and area. Highlight was seeing a chayote, that's a first for me. Now I just need to see a roadrunner (beep beep) and I'll be happy :) I realized these State Park Guides really know their stuff and I am sure do this job more for the love of it than the pay check, great job though, outdoors and communicating with people all day.
After Skull Rock I did a couple of other small hikes. Split Rock (2 miles) and i had the place to myself, again the isolation and peacefulness was inspiring and it was fun just to sit on a bolder and look around the desert floor. After Split Rock I took a quick drive to Keys View, this time I had an excellent view of the Cochella Valley and could see as far a Palm Springs as the sky was a crisp blue. I then hiked the short loop at Hidden Valley, by the time I had finished it was 2pm and hot as hell and I had no water left so it was time to leave the park to get some lunch and a diet coke (which I had been dreaming of).
After a little siesta in the afternoon, I went back into the park for a nighttime drive and a Ranger talk. Here is where once again the world shows you what a small place it is. Earlier today my friend Lauren was trying to connect me on Facebook to her boyfriends sister who is a Ranger at Joshua Tree. When I rocked up for the talk and saw the name badge of the park ranger conducting the evening talk, I recognized her name as Lauren's friend and introduced myself, totally random that we met since it was a total off chance that I even went back into the park. Anyway her talk about the nocturnal wildlife in the park was fun and informative and I was very pleased I went.
I returned to my quiet Earthpod and this evening the clear skies meant the star gazing was spectacular, I wish I lived in an area whee I could do that more often but Philly does not really afford that luxury.