Wonderland of Rocks

Day 38: Black Rock to Indian Cove Campground, Joshua Tree National Monument

I sat in the Ma Rouge coffee house in Yucca Valley, trying to decide what to do: brave out another 36° night at a second campground, or ride down the mountain to Desert Hot Springs? I hate this point in a tour, having to decide. Rain was predicted, but the skies were clear riding down from Black Rock to the town.

I pulled out my journal, noting I hadn’t written in four days. Again, blogging seems to be a substitute for the journal on this tour. But it is no journal. There are many things I do not write here, due to the public nature of this blogs and of my position in Corvallis. Ah, to be transparent to such a degree that it wouldn’t matter, to write what is real, always!

Here’s what was real this morning. Sentimental music from a Sirius acoustic station, pulling my heart strings, wrenching my gut. Halfway through the journal writing, weeping, I knew I had to get out of there. I packed my stuff, said bye to the friendly woman who greeted me from the neighboring table, also a traveler, but with a car. Luxury. Especially in the rain.

I hopped on the bike and headed east. A fast pace, both downhill and downwind. But not fast enough to beat the rain, which started before I’d even left Yucca Valley. Put on the rain pants, booties, and rode in the wet. My fortune was with me, a store in Joshua Tree had a tarp, rope, stakes, and for $20 continued confident I’d have a dry night, even if cold.

I wasn’t prepared for the awesome sight which unfolded as I rode up the rode to Indian Cove. A wall of boulders. In the distance, looking like river gravel, round rocks. But I knew as I got closer that these were river rocks on a gigantic scale. Cruising through the empty campground with the mission to get the tent set up before I became too cold, I saved my gawking for later.

I set up my second rain camp of the trip at the base of a huge rock, using the extra tarp and my best boy scout know how to secure a dry tent. A visiting climber with an RV brought me ramen and pumpkin pie, the third time I’ve been fed by strangers on this trip. Oh the generosity! I thanked him sincerely, enjoyed the spicy warm soup and sweet dessert.

Then I took time to look around and get pictures, stroll among the giants, get real again.

How small I feel among such geologic extremes. These awesome stones, what story have they to tell? What eons of history have they witnessed, in the constant silent vigil? How have the forces of wind and water carved them smooth, over centuries, millennia? And what dreams may I have this night, snuggled up against a massive solidity, the very bones of mother earth.

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