Part VII: The Hidden Valley and Rock Climbers

I might have to put my fear of spiders in a temporary box so I can learn how to rock climb.

Definitely envious.

The sun is starting to set and there’s still tons of climbers all over this little valley finding routes up small rock behemoths.

At one part of my life, I was learning how to climb but my chosen profession soon made it clear that destroying my hands was not acceptable. Sometimes I listen to what “they” have to say too much. I should have just done it. Next lifetime…

It’s Monday and I took the day nice and easy. Tomorrow I’ll be making my way back to Palm Springs, another 60+ mile day. Sleeping in until 8:00am felt weird. This is going to be one of the last times I pack all this gear up. I’ve finally got it down to a science. It makes me sad to think this is my last day in Joshua Tree but trips like this wouldn’t be as awesome if they went on forever. The realization of impermanence spawns awe and gratitude, even if only for a moment.

See you later Jumbo Rocks…I’m off to Hidden Valley!

The air is still crisp at 9:00am which is a good indicator that it’s not going to be beaming ass hot like it has been. It’s a short 10 mile jaunt so I made a few stops along the way.

I wasn't fast enough to catch the guy climbing on the rock. He was like Spiderman!

I wasn’t fast enough to catch the guy climbing on the rock. He was like Spiderman!

Did you see Sick Sex? All I could think about was the line about steamed oysters.

Did you see Sick Sex? All I could think about was the line about steamed oysters.

 

Thank you Mr. Cyclist for taking the only photo of me on my bike!

Thank you Mr. Cyclist for taking the only photo of me with my bike!

After setting up camp, I decide to check out some of the local hiking at Barker Dam(1.3 mile loop) and The Hidden Valley Trail(1 mile loop). Both of these are easy strolling trails that are pretty flat and take you through some of the rock formations. Barker Dam was first on the list:

How do they always know where I am?

How do they always know where I am?

IMG_4410

IMG_4413

Barker Dam. Weird how humans build stuff in the middle of nowhere.

Barker Dam. Weird how humans build stuff in the middle of nowhere.

This was my favorite spot. I think I sat here for 2 hours just thinking.

This was my favorite spot. I sat here for 2 hours just thinking.

Then I scooted off to the Hidden Valley:

I can climb a BURRITO?!?!

I can climb a BURRITO?!?!

Can you find the climbers?

Can you find the climbers?

Tree

Hidden valley

HiddenValley 2

 

After leaving the Hidden Valley Trail, I couldn’t help standing in awe of what Mother Nature had put before me. It took 4.54 billion years for this moment to happen on the Earth. It’s taken 38 years for me to be standing in this spot. I am so very, very tiny in this universe. We all are.

Use your imagination...dinosaurs traipsing across the valley.

Use your imagination…dinosaurs traipsing across the valley.

So why do we think our problems are so huge? Why do we continually war over things that do not matter? How can the human race be so arrogant and almighty and destroy this planet by our own greed and ignorance? How the hell do we get the 7 billion people on this planet to step it up a notch on overall enlightenment? Are we doomed like the dinosaurs, to eventual extinction via the universe/mother nature squashing us or by our own hand? How can humans NOT want to protect something so amazing as what I’m looking at? Billions of years, boiled down to one moment, a moment that is no more than a grain of sand out of all the sand on the planet. A planet that will outlive us, more than likely, in a universe that will go on long after humans and the Earth are gone.

Wouldn’t it be bad ass if dinosaurs were running around here?

For the first time in decades, I wished I had a tab of acid or some mushrooms so I could sit here for a few hours in undisturbed awe as the sun set and the stars came out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s surreal enough on its own, but sometimes the extra little kick is nice.

The campsite felt so tiny when I returned. Thoughts of my return to so-called civilization distracted and saddened me as I ate my last dinner of avocado, cheese, nuts, and a tomato. Tomorrow is a big day. Sixty plus miles back to Palm Springs.

Sleep did not find me easily that night.

 

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