Day 1: Wednesday, December 30
The first day we wanted to ease into the trip, so we committed to a first day of hiking. First, we did the 3-mile hike to Pine City. This was a fun, easy hike, but we were disappointed in both of the hikes for the day that they didn’t have a clear end point. We basically just walked about 1.5 miles into the desert, to where we thought "Pine City" was, then turned back.
The second hike was a 2.5-mile hike to Lucky Boy Vista. Same as Pine City--there was no clear end point to the hike. The discussion Dirka and I constantly had over this trip was that someone needs to take care of the lack of clear signs on the hikes.
Day 2: Thursday, December 31
Our second day we started out with a 2-pitch climb that was a bit off the beaten path, Dr. Seuss Vogel (5.6). The climb was ok, Dirka called it a "5.6 sandbag" and it was in the shade so we were COLD. Also, our guidebook lied about the Class 2 descent. It was definitely Class 3 at least, and very difficult to find.
So, after taking extra time trying to figure out how to get down, Dirka did some bouldering and I relaxed and drank girly beer.
We saw this crazy coyote that Dirka said would be shot on February 22. YouTube video: "Soon to be Dead Coyote in JTree" It actually came right at me when I was trying to get closer to get a picture... a bit startling!
Day 3: Friday, January 1
We started our third day with a 3-mile (round trip) hike to the Pinto Wye Arrastra. This hike was actually shorter than that, but we made a giant loop, extending it significantly. The trail is unmarked and it is definitely off the beaten path, but a lot of fun.
Then we did the 1/2 mile Arch Rock Nature Trail (I really enjoy the nature trails in Joshua Tree!).
We ended the day with New Toy (5.6). This was a fun climb, but our guidebook completely lied--it said it would be in the sun in the afternoon which was completely untrue. It’s over by the White Tanks area, which is a great climbing area for people like me who feel too anxious when there are a lot of people watching. Also, there are definitely a ton of brand new routes still to be done there.
Day 4: Saturday, January 2
At this point I was kind of slowing down with the climbing and getting sore, but what would you expect since I basically had been in the library from August to December? So, we decided to do a hardcore hike, the 10-mike Eureka Peak hike. This was fun, but tough at points. Imagine walking through a wash in the Joshua Tree desert. Got it? Ok, now imagine doing that uphill. Yeah.
Day 5: Sunday, January 3
On our fifth day, Dirka climbed, and I attempted to climb, Lazy Day (5.7).
I'm not sure why I had so much trouble with this overall, except that I found that climb really scary for some reason. On this attempt, I was also completely worn out from the 10-mile hike the day before. So, after my failure, we decided to just go boulder around the Hall of Horrors and had a good time there.
YouTube video: "Bouldering in JTree – Duke"
YouTube video: "Bouldering in JTree – Elissa1"
YouTube video: "Bouldering in JTree – Elissa2"
We ended the day by driving up to Keys View to see the San Andreas Fault line.
Day 6: Monday, January 4
We headed back to the White Tanks area to check some more climbs off in the guidebook. We started the day with Gargoyle (5.6) which I really enjoyed even though I generally dislike crack climbing.
Then Dirka put up a new route, which he thought was about 5.8 and we called the Arrete Fiasco. YouTube video: "New Route in JTree"
Dirka made fun of me because although I was completely cool with the face climb, where there are only tiny little holds, I freaked out on the arrete itself (where he said I should just stand up).
We ended the day with a trip to our favorite nature walk, the Cholla Cactus Garden.
Day 7: Tuesday, January 5
I made Dirka take me back to Lazy Day (5.7) on our final full day and I did make it, even though I thought it was hard.
We had plans to do more climbs that day, especially Where Two Deserts Meet, but I crashed and Dirka aptly named the afternoon "Where Two Deserts Nap." We ended the day with the 1.7-mile Skull Rock Nature Trail. Skull Rock = so disappointing... who names these rocks? But the nature trail is fun.
Day 8: Wednesday, January 6
Before driving back to Dirka's home in San Francisco, we decided to do the 1.5-mile Wall Street Mill Hike (which turned into a 2-mile hike because we got lost thanks to the lack of signs). This is a great hike to see some old mining ruins, including where Worth Bagley was shot by W. F. Keys.
All in all, this was great fun and we’re planning to go back again over next New Years to check off more of the hikes in our guidebook.