|The high desert of Joshua Tree National Park looking west toward Los Angeles|
The 'trees' are actually giant Yucca
Fortunately, Blythe, California is just a short drive to the west and is where we had reservations for the 29th annual Blythe Bluegrass Festival and we were allowed to camp at the fairgrounds as early as the Monday before the festival started. Initially, we planned on arriving in Blythe on Wednesday, but were happy to leave Quartzite and secure space for ourselves and our friends from home, Jack and Liz who joined us for the festival.
There were a number of excellent bands showcased on two stages. The music on stage started early and ended just at sundown when the cold of the desert descended on the fairgrounds. But, there was plenty more music each evening in heated tents or around the portable wood stoves that were provided for the campers. In the campgrounds, the vast majority of campers were in massive motorhomes, many of which ran generators continually from 7AM until 10PM.
|Good bluegrass under blue skies|
|Hiking up the Mastadon trail in Joshua Tree National Park from Cottonwood Campground|
|Abandoned mine on the Mastodon trail. We climbed the big boulder mound for a fine view of the Salton Sea|
|View from the top of Mastodon trail, looking west over the Salton Sea toward San Diego|
Much of what Joshua Tree has to offer requires driving so we combined sightseeing with a drive into the town to purchase some provisions and access the internet to retrieve e-mails. Since we wanted to move to a campground at the northern end of the park and knowing that there were not many sites large enough to accommodate us, we drove through two other campgrounds to scout out our next site. At the Belle campground we found a spacious campsite that was large enough to hold the Mary Joan, our truck and our guests' car.
|Our campsite at Belle campground. Jennifer likes this place.|
|Looking west from Joshua Tree|
|Key's view at Joshua Tree. Looking west across the San Andreas fault and Palm Springs|
|Old Route 66 Motel|
|Roy's is currently an art installation addressing the drought in California. Don't ask what's in those bottles.|
|At Hole In The Wall Campground (Mojave National Preserve) Sarah is happy to find PETROGLYPHS|
|Hiking the Ring Loop Trail in Mojave National Preserve|
|Gas pockets left after massive volcanic explosion|
|It's called the Ring Loop Trail because of the hand holds needed to climb out of the canyon|
|Sunset in Mojave Desert|
|Death Valley near Furnace Creek, Death Valley|
|Early morning hike into Golden Canyon, Death Valley|
|View from Golden Canyon, Death Valley|
|Red Cathedral in Golden Canyon, Death Valley|