October 9th, 2016 ~ Day 198
After leaving camp, I headed to Joshua Tree National Park to do some hiking and exploring. In doing research for this trip, I realized how close I was to the park and just knew I had to go. I bought a National Park pass last December in the Rocky Mountain National Park and one of my goals this year was to go to as many National Parks as I could. So here I am!
When I arrived I asked the Ranger who checked my pass, what his favorite hike was. He said, Ryan Mountain. A quick 3 mile hike where you could climb up and see panoramic views of the park. Ryan Mountain is 5,456 feet high and a strenuous hike, but I was ready to do it.
I wasn’t very good at reading the map they provided and in taking a wrong turn down to Keys View, I ended up with a surprise. A gorgeous view of Mount San Jacinto, the mountain I hiked yesterday. A beautiful view and a blessing in disguise.
Heading back to the main road off the Park, I continued east coming upon Ryan’s Ranch. I really had no idea where I was going as I have never been here, so I decided this might be what the ranger was talking about. If I was wrong again, a historic ranch sounded like something I’d like to see anyway. So I packed up my gear and took a hike.
Joshua trees in every direction. These are some of the strangest looking trees I’ve ever seen. They call this a forest, but in my mind a forest is a sea of green, this was much different than any forest I had seen before. It felt so much better to be walking through the Joshua tree’s rather than driving through them. At 84 degrees it wasn’t hot, but you still got the feeling of being in a desert.
Ryan’s Ranch is an old adobe settlement built in the late 18th century. From what I understand, initially the Ryan family began here as miners until the mining dried up. They then became cattle ranchers.
I love the way the brick shows through where the stucco has peeled away. Looking at other photos, I wonder if the stucco is new. Some pictures online so not have the stucco. Maybe it was some sort of renovation project.
I love looking at old buildings/homes. I image what life was like back then for the people who lived there. When I was younger, I always wanted to live in the past, in a simpler time. I used to dream of being Laura on Little House on the Prarie. Since that isn’t possible, my dream now is to retire as early as possible to live that simple life in the great outdoors.
After seeing the ranch, I was going to turn around and head back to the car, but saw a trail heading to some big rock’s. I did a little rock climbing and boulder hopping to catch a better view of my surroundings. The higher I climbed, the wind became stronger. It felt good to have the strong breeze blowing on me.
Back at the car heading east again, I found Ryan Mountain, less than a half mile from Ryan Ranch. By this point I was to exhausred to climb another peak. I will just have to come back for another visit, and make this my first stop.
It was a beautiful day in the Joshua Tree National Park! I decided to make the two hour trek through the entire park. I’m so grateful I did! My cousin said it was a boring drive, but I found it to be quite fascinating. So many mountains surrounding me. The east side of the park doesn’t have as many Joshua Tree’s and it’s a lot less crowded. Now that I know where I am going, I can’t wait to come back and explore!