Tuesday, October 16: A longer than usual travel day – 335 miles to Banning, California.
We decided there must be a holiday coming when we saw this huge inflatable pumpkin on a hillside…
We pulled in to the Banning Stagecoach KOA at about 4:00 pm and got settled in for a couple of days. Pretty quiet and peaceful here.
Wednesday, October 17 – time to go exploring in a new area! Joshua Tree has been a national park only since 1994, but was a national monument since 1936. It encompasses 1,234 square miles that we’d never before seen. After driving nearly 50 miles toward the west entrance, we stopped at the Joshua Tree Visitor Center (always our first stop at a national park!) and enjoyed the current photo display and picked up some maps.
Not exactly like the forests we’re accustomed to!
Lunch time found us at the Hidden Valley picnic area where this little chipmunk kept us well entertained!
And, the view from our picnic table wasn’t too bad either…
After eating, we headed over to the trailhead for the Hidden Valley Trail. A fairly easy 1-mile loop, this area was reputed to be where cattle rustlers took stolen livestock to re-brand. Easy to see why: the only apparent entrance to this area was a very narrow trail between pretty large rocks. Not sure how anyone ever found it to begin with! This is the entrance…
We enjoyed watching the rock climbers, too.
The whole area was encircled with pretty cool rock formations.
We even discovered a little baby Joshua tree!
We thought this “Indian Warrior Rock” was pretty cool, too!
All in all, a fun day in another of our wonderful national parks!
On Thursday, October 18th, we headed out of the campground at 8:15 am (early for us!) and crossed in to Arizona three hours later – our 14th state line crossing this year!