Today we (Kurt) drove that famed road less taken, away from from the scores of tourists filling up the roadside parking lots with their matching masks and selfie sticks. Joshua Tree National Park via 4×4 only trail. Not one other person. Zero. Zilch. Nada.
We started off near the Cottonwood Ranger Station flushing silly quail down a wash. Watched them zig and zag around each other with their little tassels bobbing.
There was a choice between two canyon washes with official marked trails. Kurt chose the canyon to the right, I couldn’t tell you the name.
What we saw:
- A bobcat making its way towards a pass between two hills. I was able to get it in my camera frame and I yelled out “here kitty kitty.” Don’t ask me why. The confounded look Kurt gave me with the churlish “really?” was enough.
- A rabbit. Which solved the mystery of what was making the colony of nests in the clay.
- A large hawk that wanted nothing to do with having a a portrait.
- Hummingbirds! We stopped by a flowering creosote bush and became aware that a female hummingbird was guarding her property fiercely from another. (Costa’s Hummingbird we believe)
- A pair of Ravens.
- Many Phainopepla.
- A smaller hawk who did want their portrait even after I kicked a cholla part and bellowed in agony before and after removing the spike from my foot. (Wear boots in the desert Taryn).
After such a giving day did we leave well enough alone? No. Kurt eyeballed the path leading up the wash we didn’t take. Sure why not. Five minutes in the truck was nearly hung up, but no one took the hint to turn back. We kept losing the officially marked trail. Doubled back a few times because of boulders. In the end we didn’t make it through and turned back.