We stopped at a nice campsite in Blair Valley, a free camping area in the park. Our camp is by the old 1849 overland Stage Route. We've come up in this world. We were at 196 feet at Squaw Lake, here we're at 2543 feet so it's a bit cooler. Lou fixed BBQ ribs, baked potatoes and broccoli for dinner. It's a good thing the satellite Internet system is working since there is no cell phone signal here.
Sunday: (02/12) Partly cloudy today. Almost looked like rain may come. Lou made fresh strawberry pancakes and sausage for breakfast again.
We drove out Blair Valley to the pictograph site and took a hike. It's only a mile to the pictographs.
The wind was icy cold thus the reason for Lou's parka.
Evidently last year there was a bumper crop of yucca flowers.
At the end of the Pictographs trail is this gorge leading to a real end of the trail, a 100 foot dropoff. Lou enjoys the view from the top. We continued on another 1/4 to 1/2 mile through a gorge to a place with a 100 foot drop off
The wash below the dropoff where we stopped (known as Smuggler's Canyon) is shown above left with Agua Caliente Park in the distance and highway S2, the road we came into the park on. On the right are some of the pictographs. Not too many, just on one rock.
Not too many flowers probably due to lack of rain. The "flower" on the left has no problem with no water. It's liken on a rock. A few ocatillo did decide to put out a few blossoms. The wind picked up again and was icy cold on the trail. My leg seems to be happy again and I got back to my usual pace with no limp on this hike. We returned to the RV for lunch, leftover broccoli and chipolte corn soup followed with peaches.
After lunch we drove up to Julian, California, an old gold mining town that is now famous for Apple Pie and a big tourist trap. We stopped in at the Candied Apple Pastry Cafe for a couple of slices of apple pie. There re probably twenty places in town to get a slice of apple pie, most are just reselling Julian Pie Company pies. The Candied Apple Pastry does their own and are a little creative. We looked around the curio shops. While it was partly cloudy and windy down at our campsite, up here at Julian, at over 4000 feet, we were in the clouds and it was foggy and rainy. We returned to camp and relaxed at home the rest of the afternoon. Dinner was roast chicken with cheesy mashed potatoes and fresh asparagus.
Monday: (02/13) Partly cloudy again today. No wind in the morning. It blew well all night. Chorizo and eggs with apple bread toast for breakfast. While i prepared recent photos for publishing, Lou was busy preparing future meals.
About 10am we took a drive out Pinyon Mountain Road, a Jeep road we saw on the park map.
We stopped for a look out over Shelter Valley (left) and noticed this really old juniper tree (right).
The road was mostly sandy with the occasional rock passages(left) and some trenches (right).
The map mentioned a "dropoff" a few miles in so we drove out to see what we could seem We found the dropoff about 6 miles in so we couldn't take it on through to the highway past Wind Cave. The "dropoff" wasn't much, just 5-10 feet but also passed through a very narrow notch in the rocks. The combination was enough to have us turn around.
Above left looking toward the dropoff from where we parked. we often stop and get out to access the rocks to see if we can pass. In this case, we didn't bother going over the big rock in from of the Jeep or through the really soft sand to the right around the bush because we noticed the narrow passage ahead and took a look as well finding the dropoff.
We explored several of the side roads on the way back. At the end of one there was a nice trail down a wash. While Lou waited I took a short walk down the wash a ways before returning.
When we got back to the RV we enjoyed one of Lou's efforts from this morning, chicken pasta soup. The wind picked up after lunch so we relaxed at home.
The wind was gusting very heavy all afternoon and evening. We had some rain later in the evening. For dinner we had fresh cauliflower with cranberry sunflower seed rice, and grilled tuna.