Wednesday, February 14, 2018 – Valentine’s Day – Location: Albertsons parking lot in Blythe, CA
Last night, Eric cooked huge steaks, baked beans and potatoes for dinner. I brought over the remaining Julian apple pie and ice cream for dessert. It was the best meal I’ve had in well over a month. After dinner we sat inside and chatted for awhile, made plans to do some more tortoise hunting in the morning and called it a night.
It was around 10:30 in the morning that we got organized for our hunt. Eric has always wanted to walk north over the berm and up to the mountains near the entrance to Joshua Tree NP. So, that’s what we did.
Here’s Eric and Shaena wandering around in the desert in search of the elusive tortoise.
As it turned out it was over two miles upslope to the foot of the mountains, so it was going to be at the limits of my hiking abilities. As we walked along we didn’t see any burrows, but then Eric spotted one early in our hike and I’ll be darn if it didn’t have a tortoise hiding in there. These desert tortoises are protected species so we couldn’t touch him. I got as close as I could and took a photo of the burrow in hopes of getting him. The sunlight was so bright today, I couldn’t see the replay screen, so just had to hope.
What do you know! Got a clear shot of her. I’m thinking it is a female because the males have a long guard under their heads protruding from the shell. This one doesn’t appear to have that.
I was just happy that the photo came out. She is turned sideways in the burrow. Probably heard us coming and was turning around to go deeper into the burrow. Not quick enough.
As it turned out, we saw several more burrows but not one tortoise for the remainder of our hike. There are the mountains we’re heading for. The larger ones to the right in the photo.
As we got closer, we decided to head for the area with all the large boulders. Right center of photo.
As we got closer, we could tell those boulders were huge and a lot of them. Looks interesting.
Now the real fun begins. These boulders are humongous! Shaena is determined to climb to the top of the boulders. Yuma isn’t so sure.
Wider view of what Shaena is climbing.
Shaena made it!
Not so sure if Eric has found the right path to the top. I think he is just investigating the holes and crevices in hopes of finding a cave.
Yuma is saying this is a piece of cake. These boulders are so big anyone can climb them.
After all this climbing, this is what we see. The Chiriaco pass. Way down at the bottom is I-10. Off to the right through the pass is the Salton Sea.
If you thought we are at the top of the mountains, then look behind us. We are way down on the first levels of these mountains. We’re not young enough to make it to the very top.
Eric is pretty proud of himself.
Tried to topple this boulder, but to no avail!
Time for a little rest and water before we hike the over two miles back down the mountain slope.
The only thing of interest I found on the way down was this cluster of barrel cactus. Never seen such a big cluster. Nine of them.
After our long hike and climb, we came home to this. This sign had been put in the entrance of our camping area.
Evidently, the water department is closing off this section to work on the pipeline near our camping area so we need to leave. Since we were planning to leave in the morning anyway, I decided that if I was going to pack and move I might as well head east towards Blythe. Eric and Shaena are going to stay the night and leave for Riverside, California early in the morning.
We said our goodbyes till next year and parted ways. Had a good time and will miss those two wandering souls. I wish them the best.
It was an hour drive to Blythe and I was in the Albertsons parking lot before dark around 5:30. Just barely before dark though.
I’m ready to post this blog and get something to eat for me and Yuma before going to bed.
See you later.