Monday, December 16, 2013

Barker Dam and Disney Petroglyphs - Joshua Tree NP

The Barker Dam Nature Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the park. It's pretty easy and if you stick to the trail, it's only a little over a mile long. It gives you another great look at what the "Wonderland of Rocks" area is all about. In addition, it gives you some glimpses of history, both old and ancient. As in most of Joshua Tree, there are many climbing and bouldering spots in the area. Also a rock shelter contain ancient Indian Rock Art.

Barker Dam, also known as the Big Horn Dam was built in 1899 by local cattlemen (including one named Barker). It was originally nine feet high until another rancher/miner, William Keys added an additional six feet 50 years later. Today, the dam mostly provides water for wild animals. During rainy periods the reservoir can fill all the way up.

 If nothing else, it's a pretty spot

 I guess I should have said that it's an easy trail if you have no mobility problems.

 Downstream side of the dam

I don't think that Butt Rock is the official name, but it should be... 

Please Embiggen this one!
The next several photos show you how rugged and beautiful the Barker Dam area is. 

 Hard to tell by the photos that it was under 30 degrees that day.

This one as well!

I think this is the only Rock Art site that the park openly advertises. It contains both Petroglyphs (designs pecked or scratched into rock) and Pictographs (designs "painted" on the rocks).  I'm sure you'll agree that it is very colorful. UNFORTUNATELY, almost all the color is there as the result of vandalism. Hard to believe it, but the vandalism was done by none other than the Walt Disney company in 1961. Apparently, while filming a movie in the park (Chico, the Misunderstood Coyote). Somebody didn't think that the symbols showed up enough and painted over them.  Some people say there were fined and others say they had permission. Nobody seems to know these days. But if somebody did that today, they wouldn't only be fined, they would go to prison.
 It's still a very cool spot and there is a lot of rock art there.

I have several more posts to do on Rock Art sites in Joshua Tree.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Oatman Arizona - Ghost Town Back Streets

Although I haven't posted anything relating to ghost towns lately, this seems like a good time to do so. 

We're out in the desert again and I have a camera full of photos, but we've been very busy exploring and I just haven't had the time. Speaking of which, I apologize for not getting to your blogs (those of you who have them) in the last week or so, but I promise that I will soon. Umkay? Now back to ghost towns.
Don't get me wrong, I love ghost towns. However, many ghost towns still have some people living in them. Usually, just out of town, or on the back streets where visitors seldom go. We always look behind the scenes. I love looking at the old stuff and it amazes me that it is just left there. I almost always sense despair and ruin there. Some of it current and some of it very old. The "ghost town" that people see, is much different than the back streets they don't see. It is very cheap to live there and many people do so for that reason (and some others).  The back streets are almost always run down and I rarely ever see anything hopeful or positive in there. Some of you probably remember the earlier post I did on Oatman (follow the link if you like). It was all main street, visitors and wild donkeys roaming around everywhere. 

I won't do much of a narrative because I'm sure the photos will say it all. 

 Only because it's pretty!

 Park in a "no parking" zone and get your windows shot out!

 I'd love to have this safe!

The closest town to Oatman is Needles, California. I'm almost afraid to say that. The email and non-publishable comments I still get from there is amazing. Well, it would be amazing if it wasn't so pathetic.


Monday, December 2, 2013

Is it Just Me? - You Be The Judge

We are very lucky that we get to spend a lot of time on the road. We go to great places and see a ton of beautiful and interesting things. We get to explore and we get to hike. Those of you who have been around here for a while know that I am particularly fond of the odd things that exist out there. 

Sometimes though, I see things that make no sense to me.

We always make it a point to visit Palm Springs when we are in this part of the desert. They have the BEST street fair I've ever seen. It takes place every Thursday night (except for two) of the year. Lots of art, food, produce, music and tons of great restaurants. 

We all know that Sonny Bono was the mayor of Palm Springs. Yes, Sonny Bono of Sonny and Cher.  Sonny died in a skiing accident 15 years ago and was buried in Desert Memorial Park.  He has a nice little memorial and grave marker there. There are always flowers on and around his grave.  I understand this and it isn't what makes me sad.

A friend told me that there is somebody else famous buried here. I started looking around for another memorial, shrine, or anything to help me find it.  There weren't anymore of them. Every other grave had only a simple marker like this one.  It's pretty hard to even read what it says. If you look very very hard you just might figure it out.  No need though, it says...

1915 - 1998

Even as I type these words, it is hard for me to believe that Frank Sinatra gets nothing better than this. Okay, maybe he wanted a simple grave (I doubt that), but I'm pretty sure he didn't ask for this.  Frank Sinatra was one of the main people who put this place on the map. He was and is bigger than life and in a few more years this marker will be unreadable.  Yet, just about 100 yards away, Sonny Bono has a memorial and marker that are clearly well taken care of. By looking at Sinatra's marker, one would think that it had been there much longer. Nope, they both died in 1998.

I won't say anything bad about Sonny Bono, but he wasn't even in the same galaxy as Frank Sinatra.  This is sad and it's just not right.

Or is it just me?