Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree_27Joshua Tree Raven_29

Two ravens sitting in a Joshua Tree.
The Joshua Tree plant is a true icon of the Mojave Desert and Joshua Tree National Park. But in fact, it’s not a tree! It’s part of the yucca family. The “tree” grows to over 40 feet and produces blooms from February through April. Summer is severe with relentless sunshine, little water, and temperatures over 100 degrees. Yet it is the home to numerous desert birds and critters including the common raven.
joshuatreedetail1FRANKLIN ROOSEVELT
As resilient as the Joshua Tree plants and animals are, their world is fragile. It was Minerva Hoyt who understood the threats from humans to Joshua Tree and spearheaded efforts to persuade President Franklin Delano Roosevelt to proclaim Joshua Tree National Monument in 1936. In 1994 it became Joshua Tree National Park.

Boulder Climb - The descent_62

Matth at rest during his climb to the top of this pile of huge boulders.

There are vast tracks of giant boulder piles in Joshua Tree. The rock piles began underground eons ago as a result of volcanic activity. Granite magma rose deep within the earth. As the granite cooled and crystalized underground, the cracks and joints seen here were formed. The granite continued to push up. Contact with groundwater widened the cracks and rounded the boulders. As surface soil eroded, these tall large piles were fully exposed as we see them today.

Boulder Climb_57

These are the top two boulders from the boulder pile in the previous photo.

Boiulder Climbing_59

The decsent.

Click here: Video footage of the climb

Second Morning Campsite77

Campsites within Joshua Tree were full so we found a place nearby called Joshua Tree Lake Campground.


Matth setting up his new tent.



First Hike Complete_45

With the camp set, compass in hand, there was time to hike to the top of the nearby peak overlooking the campground.

First Trail Above Camp_24

On the move to the top.

The View Above Camp_34

First Hike_14



Matthieu Sunset Silhouette_41

Bottle House

An interesting site we saw from the top of the peak was this house in the middle of the desert.

Bottle House Close

It had piles of bottles and glass all about, sorted by color.


Bottles, bottles – piles everywhere. Also metal pans and machinery parts. There’s a robot-like creation.

Bottle Wall_42

And a wall made bottles.

Sunset Nov 8_

Sunset, November 8, 2013. Joshua Tree Lake Campground. My VW and Matth’s tent.


Maple, Sausage, and Egg biscuit “Breakfast In Bed.”

Joshua Tree_55

Stabbed by the spear of a Joshua Tree leaf.


More boulder climbing.

Hike To "Wall Street Stamp Mill"1

The hike to Wall Street Stamp Mill, a gold crushing mil closed since the 1940’s.

Wall Street Mill Hike_2 Wall Street Mill Hike_3

Wall Street Hike_5Wall Street Hike_6

This may have been the boulder passage where my boots got tangled together causing me to fall and break my wrist.

Wall Street Stamp Mill Flowers_15

Wall Street Stamp Mill_13

Old abandoned truck near “Wall Street Stamp Mill.”

Old truck_Wall Street Stamp Mill hike_14 as Smart Object-1

Wall Street Stamp Mill_10

Wall Street Stamp Mill_9 as

Wall Street Stamp Mill_11

Wall Street Stamp Mill_17

Wall Street Stamp Mill_18

Wall Street Stamp Mill_25

The Wall Street Stamp Mill. The site was named “Wall Street” by miners Oran Booth and Earl McInnes who laid claim here in 1928. William F. Keys took over the claim in 1930 and built this stamp mill to process gold ore from his mine here and other mines in the desert. It is a complete gold ore crushing mill featuring late 19th Century two-stamp mill machinery. It is on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Wall Street Stamp Mine_16

Wall Street Stamp Mill_20

Yet another abandoned vehicle near the mill.

Wall Street Stamp Mill_21

Wall Street Stamp Mill_22


Keys View



Keys View_31

Keys View_30

Keys View_32

KeysView_34Keys View_33


Water tank for Ryan Ranch


Ryan Ranch_88

At the western base of Ryan Mountain lie adobe ruins representing early turn of the century life in Joshua Tree National Park. What remains there today is the footprint left behind by the Ryan family, who came to Joshua Tree in the 1890s to manage and eventually acquire the Lost Horse Mine, the most successful mine in the area.


Ryan Ranch originally consisted of three adobe structures: a small one room structure of unknown purpose, a two room bunkhouse, and the main house. Wood and metal structures were eventually added to the site. While the main house is thought to have been built around 1896, the construction dates of the neighboring structures are unknown but thought to post date the main house.


In 1975, Ryan Ranch along with the Lost Horse Well, was added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). The site was nominated as a historic district based on its profitable history and depiction of early mining life and, therefore, its local significance to Joshua Tree National Park and the surrounding communities.



Trail to Ryan Ranch_90


Ryan_110  Ryan Mountain_111

Ryan Mountain_114


Sunrise last day.


Skull rock.


Skull Rock_49


Last Hike_1alt

Ryan Mountain

Last Hike_2alt

Last Hike_7alt






I am Dan Soderberg, award winning documentary film maker and phototgrapher specializing in architecture, historic preservation and nature.

Leave a Reply