Tag Archives: rocks

Climbing Jumbo Rocks

IMG_8973Jumbo Rocks is one of nine campgrounds located at Joshua Tree National Park. My friend and I stopped there for a picnic lunch during our visit. We drove around the campground for a bit and eventually found an empty site to rest. The site, like most of them in the park, was right up against some rocks. It would have been so awesome to camp there. Too bad all the sites were full the weekend we wanted to camp. We’re just gonna have to try another weekend.

We ate our lunch while listening to the white-tailed antelope squirrels scuffle in the bushes near by. They weren’t confident enough to come ask for any of our food, which was sad, but also a good thing. It means campers aren’t feeding them and they are still able to find their own meals in the park without relying on the humans. We also watched as some lizards chased each other around the rocks, stopping to bask in the sun.

We finished our lunch and decided to check out the area a bit. We climbed up the nearest rock and could see trails leading around and through the campground. I found a rock with hand and foot holes that could be used to get to the top. I decided to give it a try and then realized how unsafe it was and found another way up to the top instead. We also found some impressions in the rocks and laid down to look at the sky. It was so blue and clear. You could see for miles. What a beautiful day!

We cut our exploring short because we had a couple trails we wanted to check out and as we  drove out of the campground we realized that there were a lot of free sites. So, if you want to camp in Joshua Tree National Park and can’t get there early Friday or  Saturday morning to claim a spot, try Sunday, not on a holiday weekend, and you shouldn’t have a problem.

© Caroline Foley
© Caroline Foley

 

 

K58 – Surfing Puerta Del Mar

IMG_8971While in Mexico on my surf trip we went surfing a ton. When we first got there we geared up and headed straight to the beach break right out front of our house. The waves were about 3-5 ft and were steadily coming in. We charged through the white water to the line-up and once we got there we hung out waiting for a wave with some shape that we could ride for a bit. Occasionally an even bigger outside wave would approach and we would all paddle our hearts out to get over it. Often it would petter out and then reform again closer to shore. We each caught a couple waves and then decided to head in for some burgers at the other house.

The next morning we woke up early and headed out again. The waves were a little smaller, 2-3 ft and it was probably the best surf session of the trip. The wind hadn’t started up yet and most of the sets had some nice shape to them where you could catch a little corner either breaking left or right. We stayed out for a long time and our other trip buddies joined up with us as we drifted north, closer and closer to their set of stairs. We each caught several waves and hunger started to call our names back to the house for breakfast.

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We had heard the guys talking about a point break far off at a house that you could see from our beach break that they surfed the following day and that morning so we decided to take a walk south to check it out in the early afternoon. We walked the long tedious trek over sand, small round rocks, and volcanic boulders to arrive at the point break. It was a beautiful break that reminded me of Malibu, a slow mushy wave that goes right and rarely closes out in front of you. It was quite shallow at low tide and looked very treacherous and difficult to get out into the line-up. You had to either walk and paddle over sharp rocks or carry your board across volcanic rock and carefully time a jump into the line-up. On top of that, we couldn’t figure out how you got out of the water after you were in surfing. You couldn’t go back the way you went in. It would be too hard. (Later we learned there are stairs to walk up further down along the beach.)

Since the tide was so low we decided to walk back and have another little afternoon session at our beach break. We padded out, but the waves were mainly walled up and closing out too fast to get a good ride in. Instead we spent a little time just catching white water rides to the beach.

The following morning we had one more surf session at our beach break again. The waves were big again, 3-5 ft and didn’t have great shape. As the morning progressed I watched the waves from the white water get larger and larger and close out faster and faster. Occasionally they would form up again on the inside and I would be in the right place for a short green ride to the beach. Eventually we called it a day and headed in for some breakfast and packing to leave our beautiful oceanside paradise.

Next time, I plan to be confident enough to try my hand at the point break as that looked like the best place to surf within walking distance from our house. Gotta get out and surf more and now!

Slip Into The Slot

IMG_8613I started by driving to the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park in my little Honda Fit. Not the best choice for many of the dirt roads in the area, but workable for the one leading out to The Slot, a small hiking trail inside a canyon crevice.

The road leading out to The Slot is so small that I literally drove past it, had to turn around, and find it the second time. Luckily, not many people travel that way so a U-turn was completely safe on the 78. It was a dirt road and was a little unsure about taking the turn off the pavement. I had heard that driving on packed dirt was ok, but anything loose and soft could cause me to get stuck if I had to stop since I did not have 4-wheel drive. One car wide, I slowly made my way down the bumpy packed dirt. It got looser as I went and I hoped no one would come down the other way. Luckily for me any cars I came across were nice enough to pull off the road and allow me to pass on the firm dirt. My heart was in my throat by the end but I arrived at my destination safely.

The road opened up to a small undesignated parking area where I saw a few other vehicles. I pulled off and parked and I spoke with a man standing by his car. I asked if I was in the right spot, if there were other people he passed while inside The Slot and where the entrance was. Yes, yes, and as for the entrance it was straight ahead. Yes, down that big drop off.

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The entrance wasn’t at all what I had imagined after reading about it on so many different websites. It was a barren land that stretched out to some mountains miles away with one specific crack to be explored. There were no visual markers of any kind accept the road and other cars in the area. It was deserted, like a desert of course.

IMG_8623I slowly slid down into The Slot, the gravel was loose near the top and I struggled to find secure spots to place my feet. Once near the bottom the ground became more rigid and easier. Going down is always harder so I wasn’t too concerned about getting out. Once at the bottom I noted the stone marker for the exit. Yes, you could definitely lose track of where you are going in here and completely miss your exit point if you are not aware of your surroundings. I hoped there were no turn offs or if there were any they were clearly marked and started my journey.

The Slot was totally worth every effort to get there. I journeyed down the path and it slowly got more and more narrow, the rocky edges squeezing in on me. At times the were spaces only shoulder width wide and some were angled funny. I slithered through them and continued on my way. Rocks hung above in some sections and I hoped the wedging and gravity tricks of the world held strong as I passed underneath. The formations were amazing and I closely examined the sandy sides. The tops of the rocks were completely smooth, carved by the cool breeze that occasionally ran through The Slot. The undersides were often scattered with tiny ridges that might have been where water droplets washed away the looser sand. At least that is what I imagined.

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I reached the end and it opened to a wide jeep trail. I continued down the path, knowing that I could follow it to make a 3.5 mile loop. I heard a loud rumble coming from the path behind me. I hoped it was the wind or a passing plane. To be honest, I never found out what it really was. The jeep trail was hot with beautiful views, but once you saw one part it was the same all the way through.

I turned around, cutting my hike down to about a mile, and headed back to The Slot trail ready to explore it for a second time. It was just as amazing as the first time. I reached the end, saddened that there was not more to explore, and climbed out of the gap. Wow, what an adventure. This has to be my best experience yet!

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