Thursday, November 9, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park 2017 - Food & Shopping


Joshua Tree National Park is amazing! So glad that I had the opportunity to visit this very special place. It was such an experience climbing and hiking in the desert. I met a lot of very nice folks here as well. While here I also got to do some shopping and lots of eating out! Prior to my trip I researched places to eat and found some pretty awesome places to eat here in the towns of Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. Here's some of my favorite places:






Fuji  Restaurant
http://www.fujitwentyninepalms.com/
Twentynine Palms, CA

Just 2 miles from the Best Western, this was my favorite place to grab take-out! From the outside, the place doesn't look like much, but don't let that stop you from ordering. I've eaten their Shrimp Tempura, spicy Tuna sushi roll and Beef Bul-Go-Ki. But I was beyond ecstatic when I saw Spam Musubi on their menu! 



Joshua Tree & Oasis Visitor Centers
These are the two visitor centers that I visited the most. Public rest rooms are available as well as a bookstore with maps, books, stuff toys, hats, clothing and souvenirs. I made sure to get myself a "Joshua Tree NP" T-shirt.


Park Rock Cafe
http://jtparkrockcafe.com/
Joshua Tree, CA
Didn't get any photos of their foods but I ordered their "Box Lunch" whenever I was going to spend an entire day in the park. The store is conveniently located right next to the Joshua Tree NP West Entrance Visitor Center in the town of Joshua Tree. The cafe's manager, Oana, is a sweetheart and is ever so helpful in making sure customers are helped. I'm lactose intolerant and they made all my sandwiches "dry" - cheese and mayo free! **I personally found their sandwiches to be big. Since they're cut in half, I ate the first half for lunch and saved the second half for dinner.







Crossroads Cafe & Tavern
http://crossroadscafejtree.com/
Joshua Tree, CA

I just dined here once, but their Organic Mixed Green salad with Seared Ahi Tuna hits the spot! The waitstaff is helpful and friendly.


















Nomad Ventures
http://nomadventures.com/
Joshua Tree, CA
Picked up climbing supplies here! Grabbed a roll of tape for my crack climbing lessons. A wide-brimmed hat for my hike. And a copy of "The Trad Guide to Joshua Tree" by the Wingers. Here you can also get climbing, hiking, camping gear, guidebooks, maps....and more!







Coyote Corner
http://www.joshuatreeoutfitters.com/
Joshua Tree, CA
Love this shop! Picked up some Cactus Candy for the grandkids. You can get all sorts of JTree souvenirs here, including handmade soaps, maps, camping supplies and a lot more!










Joshua Tree Outfitters
http://www.joshuatreeoutfitters.com/
Joshua Tree, CA
These folks rent out all kinds of camping gear as well as Bouldering pads. And you can purchase guidebooks, clothing and even used climbing gear!




Aki Sushi
http://akisushi.site.mobi/
Yucca Valley, CA
Delicious Japanese food! Reasonably priced and the waitstaff is friendly and attentive!





I lodged at the Best Western in Twentynine Palms. They had complimentary breakfast daily with a complimentary dinner one day during the week. There was a lot to choose from the breakfast menu! Tater tots, egg omelet, pork links, bacon, turkey bacon, pancakes with fruit toppings, cold cereal, hot oatmeal, english muffin, toast, mini chocolate donuts, danish, yogurt (flavored and greek), boiled eggs, fresh fruit (bananas, apples, oranges), coffee (regular and decaf), hot water, fruit juices (orange, apple, white cranberry), and made-to-order fruit smoothies and iced coffee.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park 2017 - Day 8



I spent the last day in California riding the rotating Aerial Tramway in Palm Springs. It ascends nearly 2.5 miles to the Mt. San Jacinto State Park and wilderness. The floor of the tram rotates so you can see all views without moving. The ride starts at the Valley Station at 2,643 feet and ends at the Mountain Station at 8,516 feet. At the top you'll find a bar, a cafe, a gift shop and many lookout points for viewing. The Mountain Station is the entrance to the Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness. There is also a Natural Exhibit that features animals and plants native to Mt. San Jacinto State Park. I watched two films while at the Mountain Station; "Mt. San Jacinto State Park and Wilderness" shown in the San Jacinto Theater. And "Building A Dream" in the Santa Rosa Theater. Enjoy a few photos I took of my visit.


The tram ascends/descends along cables that
 are supported by 5 towers (aerial lift pylons).

Counterweight Pit - keeps cable tension
under exact tension at all times.


The entrance to the Mt. San Jacinto State Park
and Wilderness from the Mountain Station



On the ride down we had the fun tram op! See what a 
tram full of folks do when you put on some good tunes!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park 2017 - Day 7



Rappelling off the top of The Bong


Another amazing day with Seth Pettit of Mojave Guides at Joshua Tree National Park. I spent the day climbing 8 pitches using the crack climbing techniques I learned during my first day with Seth. I was pretty stoked to climb crack so I can practice jamming. Like my first day with Seth, I took every opportunity I could to jam my hands, fingers or feet! Enjoy some photos taken of our day.




Our first stop was the Reggie Dome West Face. We parked in the (Wonderland North) parking lot of the Boy Scout trailhead and followed the climbers trail to Reggie Dome. I'm really impressed with the climber's trail signs throughout the JTree park!




This climber's trail was once a road used to access Keys Ranch many years ago.












Reggie Dome West Face




Right: The Chief
I followed Seth up the The Chief (5.5)
then top roped the fun slab climbs 
Speed Bump (5.6) and Fender Bender (5.8).
We were the only climbers here at
the Reggie Dome West Face.














We headed over to Bear Island for lunch and more climbing.
Like the Reggie Dome, we were the only ones at Bear Island.


I followed Seth on Shardik (5.3)
Just look at that crack! 


Then top roped 3 routes on the northwest side;
Kodiak (5.3) - super fun start with crack near the top
Polar Bears in Bondage (5.7) - fun layback crack at start with reachy mid section
Ursa Major (5.7) - my fave! 

Right: Ursa Major (5.7The crux is right at the start but 
that crack was a super relief! It was sweet to slot my fingers
in the crack for a solid rest right off the cruxy start! #fingercracklove





For my last climb we headed over to The Blob
and I followed Seth up The Bong. But not after
we watched two solo climbers go up it first.

The Bong (5.4) - jam time! Now this is a super fun route
with lots of places to jam. The crux is a small roof but beyond
that the angle lessened and I got to practice "shuffling" my jammed
hands while smearing the sides of the crack with my feet.


Seth and I at the top of The Bong

Pano from the top of The Bong
Another beautiful day for climbing in Joshua Tree NP! 
It was a bit windy (at the tops) but still a great day for practicing newly learned skill sets. 
I never thought I'd learn how to crack climb, or if I would even like it. Learning the 
basics was fun and I'm totally in love with it! I love the technicality and the mental
aspect of this style of climbing. There is a lot of satisfaction of being able to obtain a 
good hold when you have your fingers, hands, toes and/or feet jammed into a crack.
Thanks so much Seth and Mojave Guides for a memorable time learning in JTree!






Sunday, November 5, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park 2017 - Day 6

Laundry Day
So I’m waiting for my laundry in the local laundromat and 
I couldn’t resist getting a selfie with this little cutie, Gidget!

Pano - rock scrambling at Rattlesnake Canyon

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park 2017 - Day 5





Ryan Mountain (5,457ft)
Elevation: 1,070 ft
Distance: 2.6 miles round trip
Joshua Tree National Park
Joshua Tree, CA

More desert hiking! This morning I took a solo hike up to the summit of Ryan Mountain. I thought that starting my hike at 9am I'd find the trailhead parking lot full. But when I arrived, there were only 6 cars in the lot! On my ascent there were only 8 people on their way down, 5 of which had turned back as they found the ascent to be too strenuous. Most of the trail makes its way on the west side of the ridge, with views into the park. The trail, for the most part, is in the shade until the ridge is gained. On my descent I counted close to 65 hikers making their way up to the summit. Enjoy a few photos taken on the ascent of my hike.








Summit cairn


Pano from the summit - looking to the west

Pano from the summit - looking to the east

Friday, November 3, 2017

Joshua Tree National Park 2017 - Day 4



Shaka from the top of Intersection Rock, Joshua Tree National Park


Amazing first day with Seth Pettit of Mojave Guides!!  My climbing goals for this trip is to learn how to climb Crack using hand, finger and toe jamming! Today I got to learn all this and, I have to admit, it was very intimidating. But I slowly got the hang of jamming hands and/or fingers and stepping my feet up. I got to climb and practice these new skills on 7 pitches. Oh, the rock friction here is beautiful - just so, so sticky! Enjoy a some photos taken of my day.

I met up with Seth at the Joshua Tree NP Visitor Center in the morning and after a quick check of gear, we headed to the Trashcan Rock at Quail Springs. His girlfriend Simone (Education Tech with JTNP) dropped by with Bernadette, the only climbing ranger at JTNP. We chatted for a bit and Bernadette said she used to live in NH and had climbed at Whitehorse and Cathedral Ledges!





Seth taught me how to wrap my hands in climbers tape, and then showed me some  hand and finger jams.

In addition, Seth taught me to lead belay using the "pistol grip" of the Grigri 2 and he also showed me how to set up the Grigri 2 in "guide mode" for top belaying.









He also pointed out some different features on the rock. Like these "dishes".









On the West face, I followed Seth up B-3 (5.3), jamming my hands and feet whenever I had the opportunity. Top rope was set up on B-1 (5.1) so I could get 2 laps in, again jamming my hands and feet whenever I could. 










Then I got to finish off with climbing Tip Toe (5.7) on top rope, a really nice face climb up a thin dike between B-1 and B-2. 

We took a break for lunch in the picnic area of Hidden Valley. After lunch, I followed Seth up Easy Day (5.4) on the east face of Turtle Rock. This is the route that has that little crack that I jammed my fingers and then my toes into. And that little crack has really good constriction...I ain't gonna lie, it was painful until I climbed up past that little crack.











Across the street, I followed Seth up Upper Right Ski Track (5.3)  on the North Face of Intersection Rock. That was a super fun, super easy climb! I just followed the curving crack up and around. And again, I jammed my hands whenever I had the chance. 

The start of URST

Cleaning URST

At the top of Intersection Rock

The Old Woman from Intersection Rock




From the top, we rappelled 2 pitches down the south side and I climbed the first pitch of Mike's Books (5.6). I started on the Direct Start and it was tough. I had a tough time getting my hands and feet to stay jammed in the crack. The sides of the crack flared and made it awkward to get my shoulders and hips into it as much as I could. At one point I had my left knee jammed into the crack but it slipped out. I ended up pulling on a piece to get up to the ledge. Later Seth explained what I could have done to make it less awkward for my shoulders and hips.














From the ledge up was easy. The climb on this section is pretty sweet! 

Overall, the weather was just beautiful, it was such a fun day of learning new climbing skills and it was such a great experience to climb in Joshua Tree NP! Thanks so much Seth and Mojave Guides! Looking forward to Day 2!