Thursday, October 14, 2021

Our dogs are barking 👣

Our grandaughters reminding us that Christmas is nearing!  Great picture by their mother.

Exhausted Weds. night!  We climbed Ryan's Mountain, then stopped at Belle Campground and the Cholla Cactus Garden.  

Ryan's Mountain Trail was a 3 mile round trip hike.

This trail is not only labeled strenuous, it is the most strenuous in the park.  At only 1.5 miles, how can that be?  Straight up, no switchbacks, and with an elevation gain of 1,000 feet that's how.   Lots of steps to help  but they are all different depths and heights.  Some are a little high for short legs. 

Almost there

Slow and steady gets us to the top.  Yes, Ann admits she is the weakest link.

We picked a rock (as did the 4 or 5 couples) to sit and watch the view, and maybe to recover a little from the hike.  Pat brought our self-inflating Thermarest seat cushions.  Greatly appreciated.

This guy was hoping we'd drop a crumb or two from our snack.

It was certainly worth the hike for the views.

Zoomed in from the top is Ryan's campground.

Zoomed in we could also see Cap Rock on the left.

So many cholla cacti, as far as you could see, on both sides of the road.  This is one of the very few spots in the park that offers what they need to grow. 

They look cute and cuddly--don't be fooled!

  Warning signs:  don't touch or brush up against them.  Each spine has a microscopic barb on it's tip that will go through clothing, shoes, and especially skin, causing the joint to detach and stay with you.  Called teddy-bear cholla they are also called jumping-cholla because of the above.

Keys View was our destination Tuesday.  At 5,185' it is perched on the crest of the Little San Bernardino Mountains.  On the short .2 mile loop trail we found beautiful, panoramic views of the Coachella Valley.  The 40 minute drive was worth it.  Wind?  Holy cow, we were lucky we didn't blow off.  It was so cold!  Were we prepared?  Of course not!  Too cold for hiking so we headed to Yucca Valley for some pizza and exploring after.

The San Andreas Fault can be seen from Keys View and is somewhere out there.  On a clear day (they don't have many any more) you can supposedly see Mexico.

We stopped at a Joshua Tree "forest."  The Joshua Tree only grows in the Southwest.  It is slow growing and fragile but crucial to the ecosystem of the Mojave Desert.

Everything is always better with a cute name, wine, paint colors and pizza. 

Pat's "Mayhem Fest" had pepperoni, sausage, red onion, roasted peppers and artichokes. Two sizes, individual and large.  Individual made me think 1 slice or a personal 7". 

"Lollapalooza," Prosciutto ham and pineapple, was Ann's.  Both were delicious and out of our "individual" pizza we each had 4 meals.
Located in Yucca Valley you will find more than 40 white sculpures and images portraying scenes of Christ's life and teachings.  It was sculpted and created by Antoine Martin beginning in 1951.  He died in 1961.

Samaritan woman at the well.

Sermon on the Mount

Sermon on the Mount

Blessing of the Children. 

Myrtle the turtle is the largest desert turtle. It was sculpted for turtle races that were held in the town of Joshua Tree years ago. The races used the desert tortoise, a protected species, eliminating the races.

Where are the Piepers now?  Twenty Nine Palms, CA

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