Launching National Parks Hiking

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Our National Parks are treasures. They are special places set aside so that everyone can enjoy nature, and in my view there are few places as splendid when “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure”.

National Parks are our natural heritage: landscapes like no other, places were we have the chance to view wildlife in their natural habit, trees, flowers, forests, meadows, mountain tops, deep canyons, rivers, lakes, plains, deserts, and so much more. A place to fill our lungs with fresh air, stretch our legs, take flight with our imagination, share togetherness and memories, or find solitude in the quiet of wilderness. Fill our souls.

And from my viewpoint find a little balance to our stressful, plugged in, overworked lives through a taste of adventure in a way that only a National Park can provide. It is the journey not necessarily the destination, or said another way what is important is “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure” and our Nation Parks are a fabulous place to do just that.

-Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

“Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.” -John Muir

Please join me Roger Jenkins as I am “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure” at our National Parks. At least once a year, as a minimum, we need to recharge our batteries in nature and National Parks are a great place to do that. So I implore you if you love our National Parks, then come with me and LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW, and SHARE.

Hurricane Hill via Hurricane Ridge

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

NEAR PORT ANGELES, WASHINGTON

Activity: Day Hike

3.5 miles, 825’ elevation gain, 2 hours, 

Date: 6-4-22

Our trek along Hurricane Ridge to Hurricane Hill was quite windy, living up to it’s name I suppose.  It was cold with low cloud cover and partial snow. I understand that the views on a clear day of the Olympic Mountains from Hurricane Ridge are simply extraordinary.  On this day however, it was a little more of the adventure type of day rather than the tourist type of day where you might break into song, “The hills are alive with the sound of music”, because those are the type of scenic views that one might have.  

We first stopped at the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center area late in the day where apparently there is a gift shop and a restaurant.  At least that is what it seemed to have going on there.  We were just glad that this early in the season that the bathrooms were open, because everything else was closed for the day. 

It was a couple mile drive from Visitor Center to the trailhead.  Portions of the hike were paved, but there was still a lot of snow around.  Alec got to try micro spikes, I had trekking poles so we were able to make our way without too much problem.  Moody day with drizzle and just partial views of snow capped mountains. The views heading up were of fir trees that were so thick on the mountain, and so vividly green that it was really something quite special.  It was starting to get dark, we were in snow, and it was cold and windy.  We had time and light to make it back, but there wasn’t room for error.  I actually wanted to head back before the summit.  We saw some cool views, that is when the clouds lifted a bit, and some of the terrain reminded me of some nice ski bowls. Alec really wanted to push on towards the summit.  We only had one set of micro spikes and he being in top shape from his cross country high school team took off at a very quick pace, despite my objections. He high stepped it up to an above vantage point, but turned around after that as we were burning daylight fast, plus Dad was having a “Major Pouty Fest”.

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel, CLICK THE PIC!
On the way up to the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center were so thick and green.
First time with micro spikes for Alec.
“Getting to the top is optional getting down is mandatory.” – Ed Viesturs
I know in this get up I look like the ‘Flying Nun’, but I tell you it was an adverse climate, lol.

Alec and I appreciate you joining us on top of a chilly, snow top mountain, with night quickly approaching and with no one else around while ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.  This is one of the first of our many adventures in the Olympic National Park so stick around for more by doing this: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE.  If you care to checkout the menu above you will see that besides National Parks we travel extensively around the WEST to find adventure and to take a break from the responsibilities of school, and the busy lives that we all experience and need to balance out when we get the chance.  Balance is exactly what adventures in nature can achieve, so it is important.  The menu is categorized by location and in some cases activity, each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.  When I am not wearing full rain gear and a burka to face the storm then I like to adorn myself with Adventure Wear from ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.  I invite you to check it out at SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursing Balance Through Adventure

Peabody Creek Trail

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Visitor Center, Scenic Stop, Day Hike

2 miles, 200’ elevation gain, 1 hour duration, rated Easy

Date: 6-4-22

Into the Olympic Rainforest we go. What an exciting and alive place. There was so much expectation on the part of my 18 year old son, Alec, and myself of beauty and adventure in this, the rainiest place on earth. We planned on being here a week and to see as much as we could. 

We were actually pretty lucky, I feel, as for the rainiest place on earth, there was only one day, which came near the end of our rainforest adventure, that it really rained, and I mean really rained on us. The rest of our time we experienced some sun, some dry cloudy skies and we also experienced mizzle, which NW Washington folks described to us as a mixture of mist and drizzle, okay… Back to the luck part. Many times right after we finished an outdoors adventure and loaded up the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro and started heading for our next destination in the Olympic National Park it would rain pretty good. Also, during the night the rain would come down after we were tucked away warm and dry in the rig for the night. So other than that one day, where we got soaked, we were indeed pretty lucky.

Located in the most NW corner of the US Lower 48 States the 922,650 acre Olympic National Park has multiple regions: Rugged Coastline, Alpine Forest, Rainforest, and the drier East side.

We made a couple stops on our way to gain more knowledge of what we were getting ourselves into by heading for the Olympic National Forest Wilderness Information Center near Port Angeles, Washington. We stopped and checked out a large old growth cedar tree transformed by Northwest Coast Tribes into a big Totem Pole.

When we arrived at the Olympic National Forest Wilderness Information Center they had a display of an old wooden cabin that might be typical of this area. Inside the center we found some interesting displays before we spoke to a Ranger whom helped us consider how best to spend this Father/Son – HS Grad time before Alec leaves for college.

After getting some great ideas regarding our Olympic National Forest Journey, we decided to get in a quick hike, which conveniently began right at the center. The Peabody Creek Trail really shows off and right off the bat how spectacular and unusual the rain forest can be. 

As we started our trek it was so unreal to see there was so much life that it was practically spilling out all over us. The green so vibrant, the damp ground and vegetation so fresh, so earthy. So much life that it was actually growing on top of each other. During our time in this National Park we saw many examples of new trees growing right out of, or on top of a dead one. Also, some trees were just so bizarre in the shapes and the strange ways that they grow. Then there is the mud… the Peabody Creek Trail was not too bad, you could maneuver around it pretty handily, but later we decided to try out the Peabody Creek Loop as well and that was more remote, more wild, and a lot more muddy. Finally we thought better of it when there was a portion that was not only all mud with a few roots, but steep. Adding the portion that we did of Peabody Creek Loop pretty much doubled our little outing. We would have been scrambling up this mud hill, perhaps on hands and knees, so we head back from which we had come.

A great start to this adventure of crazy trees, vines, plants, and green so much green, oh… and a big slug.

“The early summer light steps birdlike down the east slope of Green Mountain, and stirs low mists long the river into flight.” – Tim McNulty
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel Peabody Trail Episode
CLICK THE PIC!

Alec and I are so excited to bring to you the start of our journey into Olympic National Park. It is stunningly beautiful and a world so different from the desert on the ocean, which is our home of Southern California. “Seems It never rains in Southern California, seems I’ve often heard that kind of talk before, it never rains in California, but girl don’t they warn ya’ it pours, man it pours”, are famous lyrics from Albert Hammond. The song is about the struggle of someone coming to Hollywood to try and hit the big time, but at the same time if you take it more literally it does describe the weather in SoCal. It hardly every rains, which is evident by the horrible drought we have been experiencing for a couple decades, so when it does rain it comes all at once and neither the dry, hard ground or the infrastructure is ready for it and we get flooding. Conversely, in the rainforest “the rainiest place on earth” it mostly rains lightly, but pretty darn often, and if it isn’t raining it is drizzle, or mist, what a local referred to as ”mizzle”. What all that rain brings is an enchanting, bewitching place full of spectacle and wonder, but be forewarned bring your rain gear. Stick with Alec and I on this Vivid Green Escape from reality into the rainforest and you can do that easy enough by doing these simple steps: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go to the menu above you will see that PBTA travels extensively throughout these great Western States while ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in hopes to bring to you ideas and inspiration of how to take the ho hum, busy, work-a-day life that we all exist in, and balance that out with the beauty, and the magnificence of nature, Nature Heals. Each location or activity on the menu represents a different website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. If you like my hat in the picture than get one for yourself at SHOP APPAREL

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Bridalveil Falls

YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Chasing Waterfalls

Date: 5-24-22

Driving through the tunnel that opens up to that grand vista, is so extraordinary that it literately takes your breath away. Viewing Half Dome, El Capitan and Bridalveil Falls all at once is almost visual overload. It is surely one of the most spectacular views anywhere.

When we arrived at Bridalveil Falls it was just a short hike to the viewpoint. My daughter Marina, son Alec and I scampered even closer to feel the mist on our face and to stand in awe.

The 620’ waterfall flows all year long with its heaviest flow during the Spring must surely get it’s name from the veil of mist tumbling down the rock as the breeze changes the course of the spray with a gust of wind.

Waterfalls need to be viewed in person, but if not at least in motion. Please checkout the Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel for this episode featuring Yosemite’s outstanding Bridalveil Falls. (Click the Pic)
Bridalveil Falls
Marina basks in the glory of Bridalveil Falls
Waterfall

Gentle murmurs caught in whispering winds quietly flows
Gathering momentum in soft sunlight through willow trees
A cool meandering transparent watery bliss that grows

Over the precipice their curtain hangs moving with ease
Forming eddies whose chorus sings nature’s sweet song 
A mild turbulence of frothy spray rising in a cool breeze

Spreading to either bank rings of bright water flow along
This beautiful sight spread before my deep pensive eye
This image to remain in my heart so incredibly strong

Where kingfishers live alone in the banks dive and try
To catch confused minnows caught up in the rush
Now it’s only a stream flowing along just a gentle sigh

A waterfall can be a foaming torrent or a quiet soft gush
Its rich perspective is a reward that is so pleasantly plush 

David Wood
Marina and Alec at the Yosemite View Point

Thanks for joining Marina, Alec and I at the first stop of our Road Trip from Southern California to the tip of Washington. Yosemite is such a special place and even though we were on an accelerated pace we still took time to stand in awe of it’s beauty. Everyone needs to go to such places at least once a year to bring everything back into balance. We all have very busy lives with many obligations pulling us in different directions, but heed my words, it is important to your soul and your very being to get out into nature and feel it’s magnificence, because that magnificence heals, nature heals. We hope that you will stay with us on this journey and the many journeys that ’Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ can take you on. If you go to the menu above you will discover that PBTA travels throughout the West. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. To stay with us please COMMENT, LIKE. FOLLOW and SHARE. If you are so inclined checkout SHOP APPAREL for your adventure wear needs.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

The Racetrack

Death Valley National Park

Activity: Off-Roading, Exploring

Date: 12-23-21

Mysterious Moving Rocks

Located in an backcountry remote area of Death Valley National Park, accessible by 4WD, is the “Racetrack’ famous for strange and wondrous rocks that appear to sail across the ground. Is it a miracle?  Are they moved by the earth’s magnetic force, maybe ancient alien beings?  

The terrain heading out from Ubehebe Crater was a rough washboard dirt and gravel road. The Ranger thought we needed good full size spare All-Terrain tires perhaps two spares, shovel and traction boards.  The Ranger warned of inclement weather, sand traps and said a lot of people get flats. He suggested only 4×4 with high clearance take on this adventurous undertaking. If you do get stuck he warned the towing rate is $4000.  Of course there is no cell service to contact them anyway.  Also, there are not many taking this trek making his message rather ominous. 

Well, I am sure that the conditions of the road changes depending on the time of year, storms, and the last time it was maintained, but we found it very manageable in our Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.  Care should be taken on a spot that had a drop off on one side. 

One section was particularly tricky. The sand trap the Ranger warned us of. It was more of a crumbling dirt rut that a rig could easily get bogged down in. The tracks were deep, so deep that even a 4×4 with clearance might bottom out. We went across it keeping on the high side, at a big angle and out of the trench. The worry was that perhaps the dirt we were on might crumple and we could slide into the trench, but it went fine for us.  

Clouds socked in on the hills and the mountains above. The snow on mountains reached down to the road in some spots. Three fourths of the way is ‘Teakettle Junction’.  The sign post is appropriately decorated and is a very fun and unusual spectacle.  

We finally arrived at the ‘Racetrack’ which was simply amazing. During our over 55 miles out and back trek we found varied terrain, from Joshua Tree forest, to sage brush desert, some snow, then something totally different almost other worldly, that being the Racetrack. 

The Racetrack seemed to be some sort of dried clay crackled by the sun and the elements.  The “Playa”, as it is referred to, looks like a dry lake bed, golden in color like a beach. This oval Racetrack is flat and appears to stretch a couple miles in length and maybe a mile wide. Near the Northern end is the “Grandstand” a black, craggy island of rock jutting up about 75 feet tall providing a grandstand view of the Racetrack. The contrasts of the mystic black rock island “Grandstand, the golden “Playa” and the surrounding dark grey mountainsides are simply stunning. 

At the Southern end of the Racetrack are the mysterious rocks which are the stars of the show. The rocks magically race along the track leaving long trails up to 1,500 feet long.  How did these rocks travel this distance some weighing in at a hefty 700 pounds?  Well, it isn’t magic, the earth’s magnetism, or black magic.  The mystery has been pondered since the 1940’s, but finally a scientific study with GPS monitors and other equipment, unraveled what was labeled “the most boring study ever”, as the rocks can sit for a decade without moving.  It turns out a series of conditions have to prevail for the rocks to do their thing.  Basically the lake bed needs to be flooded, then freeze causing a slick surface of crystals under the rock followed by winds of more than 50 miles an hour and boom you have action as the rocks move leaving a track in the surface.  The mystery of the moving rocks solved!

Click pic for PBTA YouTube Channel to see Death Valley Off-Roading
and the Mysterious Moving Rocks.
Death Valley
The ‘Grandstand’ juts out of the ‘Playa’ on Death Valley’s ‘Racetrack’
Death Valley’s ’Racetrack’ and the mysterious moving rocks.
“The journey of life is not paved in blacktop; it is not brightly lit, and it has no road signs. It is a rocky path through the wilderness.”
~ M. Scott Peck

My son Alec and I thank you for joining us as we were found ourselves ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ in our Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, which performed effortlessly across the rough backcountry road, to this very special place that few get to experience.  We even got to test out our new equipment as we slowly start outfitting our rig.  We had a built in air compressor installed this week so that we could air down and then re-inflate our All-Train Tires.  We tested out the new pocket light Off-Road Fog Lights as night befell us on our way out.  They amazed us as they completely blew away even the brights as it drowned them out and really lit up the area all around us.  Alec and I had a blast on our adventure and invite you to join us again which you can easily do by these steps:  FOLLOW, LIKE, SHARE and COMMENT.  If you go to SHOP APPAREL you can checkout the line of ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ logo gear.  It is top quality and carries the PBTA mantra. If you go to the menu above you will see that PBTA ventures into other outdoor activities in many outstanding locales.  Each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure 

Angel’s Landing

ZION NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging

5.5 Miles, 5790’ elevation, 1604’ elevation gain, 3.5 hours duration, rated HARD

Date: 7-24-21

One of the Scariest Hikes in America

Zion National Park is one of the most popular of our National Parks with approximately 4.5 million visitors per year. Angel’s Landing is a bucket list type of hike for many people. It is a place of unparalleled beauty with colorful peaks and cliffs, and views that are simply stunning. On top you have a Condor’s Eye View of the gorgeous park below that can only be described as picture perfect.

The hike is a short 5.5 miles, and certainly the elevation gain for a regular hiker is not that dramatic, but what is dramatic is that this is an on the edge hike, exposed areas with drops straight down 1,400 feet. The last portion has chains to hold on to, and they should be held on to for dear life, because death is right beside you. One section known as the Knife’s Edge is just that and has death on both sides. Angel’s Landing is not a hike for the faint of heart, or someone with a sever fear of heights. That being said, if you don’t have a healthy respect for heights then something is wrong with you. Most people will feel a real sense of accomplishment completing this hike and proclaim this is the highlight of any hikes they have ever done.

When I first did this hike I thought to myself, I can’t believe that they are allowing everyday people to do this hike. I wondered why we were not in a climbing harness and clipping in. I saw people in beach sandals, children in tears with their parents trying to coax them on, and some folks frozen in fear. Conversely, I also saw college kids on each other’s shoulders standing on the edge for pictures.

Caution should be heeded, and rightly so, as this is not only One of the Scariest Hikes in America”, but also “If it is not the most dangerous trail in America it certainly is in the top five”. The reason for these ominous condemnations is that 13 people have plummeted to their deaths from the cliffs of Angel’s Landing since 2004.

My own experience is that being on the edge like this certainly is an adrenaline rush, and if you can do this relatively safety then it is an insatiable high. The beauty of Zion, and in particularly the Angel’s Landing hike, is like no other. It would certainly be a spiritual journey, because it is that magnificent, except for this is a bucket list hike for so many. How many you might ask? About 641 hikers per day are also on this hike with you and that certainly is detracting, but then again there are a lot of spirited, energetic, adventurous people on this hike and that is not only fun, but the enthusiasm is contagious. When you checkout my PBTA YouTube video you will see some of the throngs of hikers, and mind you we were in line before dawn to try to escape the crowds, but certainly it only got more crowded later. When you enjoy the video you will also see the young, healthy fun seekers with smiles brimming from ear to ear.

Obviously if you are safe, take your time, watch your footing this is a very doable hike for people in descent shape. But hiking on the edge is not for everyone, and some may decide that the steep, exposed chain section leading to the summit is not for them and that is fine. Scout Lookout is still a very beautiful hike and the views up and down are wonderful.

So about the hike itself. You will take the tram from the Visitors Center to the Grotto Trailhead from there you cross a bridge over the Virgin River which is lined with greenery and is quite a tranquil spot. You will hike your way to Refrigerator Canyon, which is a nice reprieve from a hot Summer day as it is shady from the enclosed cliffs and greenery making this section quite picturesque. Then it is the infamous Walter’s Wiggles a paved area with a steep incline and 21 switch backs that will get your heart racing. This leads to Scout’s Lookout, (where you will find port-a-potties), and this is the last stop before things get real. The last section is the iconic picture you have in your head of a narrow, exposed, scramble with death defying drop offs, inching your way along the edge of a harrowing cliff that is sometimes slick with a dusting of sand, all while others squeeze by you going the other way.

The pro tip is to get in line at the tram before day break, it is still going to be crowded, but it will only get worse. Also the Summer is the Monsoon Season for the desert and there is a good chance of afternoon Thunderstorms. You do not want to be on the top of Angel’s Landing in a Lightening Storm with high winds, flash flooding or even hail. The day we were there we were down off of Angel’s Landing by late morning, but we did experience an afternoon thunderstorm along the River Walk Trail. We were certainly glad not to be up above on Angel’s Landing at that moment. Make sure you have proper footwear, bring snacks, and plenty of water in a day pack that is secure to your body and not flopping about. Don’t carry a water bottle as you need to have both hands for scrambling. Take it easy, watch your footing, hold on to the chains, don’t do a selfie on the edge for goodness sake, be aware, and most importantly have fun.

When you are finished you will undoubtedly feel some of that euphoria that we talk about ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. You will have taken in spectacular vistas, got your heart pumping through not only adrenaline, but through physical exertion, and experience a feeling of empowerment on what you have accomplished.

Virgin River, muddy from flash floods.
The Infamous Angel’s Landing
Look closely at the steady line of bucket listers heading up Angel’s Landing.
“If you are not living on the edge then you’re taking up a little too much space.” – Morgan Freeman
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Channel, (Click to Play)
Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ on one of the deadliest hikes in America.

Thanks for joining me on this exciting and exhilarating journey in Utah taking on Zion National Park’s infamous Angel’s Landing, known for being tough, scary, deadly, and extraordinarily breath taking… breathtaking in it’s beauty, exertion, and dizzying heights. It’s on the edge hiking that you will never-ever forget. This was my birthday hike celebration to myself, and my second time to summit this special place. The first time was exactly 5 years ago almost to the day. I did the hike solo the first time huffing and puffing on the Walter’s Wiggles 21 switchbacks, so much so that I sat down to take a break and a young French woman asked me, “Are you okay?!” I guess I have hiked myself into better shape, because it did not seem to be a problem this time. On this my birthday I was accompanied by Roman and my good Hobie Cat Sailing National Champion Friend Tom. We were on our way back from our Lake Powell Houseboat Adventure. It was fun to share the dare. Well, there is always more fun to be had here at ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ National Parks Hiking. Stick around for more by doing these very simple tasks: LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. If you go up to the menu above you will find more inspirational spots to adventure. They are categorized by location and some by activity. Each is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Do you see the cap I have on in the picture? You can get one at SHOP APPAREL. My PBTA Adventure Wear is top quality and carries the mantra, check it out.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Panorama Peak Loop Trail

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging

6.5 miles, 5196’ elevation, 1,194’ elevation gain, 3.5 hours duration, rated Moderate (USPS calls it Challenging shouldn’t attempt in heat)

Date: 10-29-20

I did this hike in combination with Warren Peak from Black Rock Canyon Trail which starts in the campground with the same name as the trail. I split this up for the post with the thought that perhaps not everyone wants to do a 9 mile hike. As you look at the map I added Warren Peak if you follow the dotted line, and I also did another smaller trail in the area which provided vantage points to take in not only the peak from different perspectives, but the valley and the distant mountains as well.

This is a really great hike. The views are phenomenal. It has everything you would want in a desert scene, the mystical and magnificent Joshua trees for which the park is named, and a variety of desert foliage, lonely peaks, distant mountain ranges, valley, spectacular rocks, not really a slot- but a section that closes in a bit and is quite interesting.

I was only going to do Warren Peak when I started out, but when I saw the trail sign with the name Panorama Loop, well… Loops are always more interesting then out and back, and the word panorama conjured up sweeping desert vistas and in an direction I had not seen.

It did not disappoint. The terrain in some ways is similar in other ways it is a little different. Panorama Peak doesn’t show on the particular map that I was using. When I approached it I thought to myself that this peak look similar in elevation to the Warren Peak that I had just summited and I though that did not seem right that it is not named. But upon reaching the top I saw a summit sign in book so I happily added my name to it’s pages with the mantra ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’.

Joshua Tree National Park is a special place and this hike is an excellent one and a bonus is it is not crowded like some of the other Park hikes. I would recommend doing what I did and combining Warren Peak with Panorama Loop, which makes for about a 9 mile hike, or if that is too long for you then split them up like I did in the post.

The mystical and magnificent Joshua tree for which the park is named.
“I’ve been through the desert on a horse with no name. It felt good to be out of the rain.  In the desert you can remember your name ‘Cause there ain’t no one for to give you no pain.” – Dewey Bunnell
Panorama Peak Summit Selfie

Thanks for joining me for a desert trek in famed Joshua Tree National Park. This hike is a fun excursion located in one of the less crowded parts of the park, a nice plus, but it is also a beautiful part of the park to be certain with unusual and varied terrain topped off with the splendid mountains off in the distance to perfectly frame the shot. For more you simply need to LIKE, COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. Look to the menu above for other wonderful places to hike besides our stupendous national parks, which can get pretty busy. Go to SHOP APPAREL so that you will be comfortable, and well outfitted for your jaunt to the National Park. It is the desert so you will need more than sunscreen. How a bout a PBTA cap? I even have shirts with UPF 50+ Sun Protection! But what is important is that you find some balance from the mundane and the ordinary and JTNP is such a place to be sure. Get out there and Adventure!

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Black Rock Canyon Trail to Warren Peak

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging

6.3 miles, 5,102’ elevation, 1,110’ elevation gain, 3.5 hour duration, rated Moderate (USPS calls it Challenging shouldn’t attempt in heat)

Date: 10-29-20

Warren Peak is in the Western portion of Joshua Tree National Park. Two deserts come together in JTNP, the cooler higher altitude Mojave and the lower hotter Colorado desert. This diversity adds to the attraction of the park. Warren Peak is in the more quiet, less traveled Western Portion, the Mojave Desert. The park’s name sack, the Joshua Tree is found in the Mojave and can be enjoyed on this hike.

The hike begins at Black Rock Canyon Campground on the edge of Joshua Tree. The nice thing about starting in the Campground is that there are nice bathrooms.  There is parking for a few cars at the end of the campground otherwise there is overflow parking as you first enter the campground. 

The trek to Warren Peak is a slight and steady incline. Sometimes the trail is soft gritty sand sometimes it is hard pack. Near the peak is where the incline steps it up dramatically.  Once on top the views are exquisite. 360 degree wonderful views of the entire area to include hills and gullies, canyons and distant mountains.  I added the Morongo View Trail on to my trip which gave me another angle of Warren Peak and some different views and for that reason I felt it worth the extra half mile.

I will mention that I added the Panorama Loop Trail on to my hike as well, which I feel is the way to do it. That adds both elevation gain as well as make this hike a 9 mile hike. Since not everyone wants to do a 9 mile hike I am breaking it into two different posts: This Warren Peak Hike, and a future post Panorama Loop Trail.

Really nice country and I throughly enjoyed this hike.

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure YouTube Video
The trail has a steady incline until you reach Warren Peak then things dramatically change.

Warren Peak Summit

“Not to have known – as most men have not – either the mountain or the desert is not to have known one’s self. Not to have known one’s self is to have known no one.” – Joespeh Wood Krutch

Thanks for joining me out in the deserts of Joshua Tree National Park as I was climbing Warren Peak while ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. To go out into the solitude of such a place is to discover nature and to discover nature is to discover yourself. This type of self realization can only come about when you have time alone and you are feeling the moment, the type of moment that only nature can bring. For more of these type of moments please LIKE. COMMENT, FOLLOW and SHARE. Our National Parks are but some of the special places that PBTA visits. Checkout the menu for other wonderful locations in the West. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. To help support this site, and to look really good doing it please go to SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Eagle Cliff Mine

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike, Exploring, Boulder Scrambling

From Split Rock: 2.3 Miles, 580’ elevation change, rated Moderate

From Skull Rock: 5.5 miles, 1007’ elevation change, rated Moderate.

Date: 10-28-20

This was my second epic hike of the day at Joshua Tree National Park, after enjoying my morning adventure up Ryan Mountain. The map shows that this hike starts at the end of a gravel road, but always wanting to fit in as much beauty and adventure as possible I started at Skull Rock, (that and I didn’t realize at the time that I could have started at the end of a gravel road, lol.) Regardless, I would not have wanted to miss one moment of the Split Rock Loop, which was fabulous with so many fascinating boulder features. I posted these two hikes separately because everyone can do the Split Rock Loop as it is Easy, not everyone can do the Eagle Cliff Mine Trail and putting them together makes the trek longer, and what I cherish… oh so much more adventurous.

Instead of leaving from the gravel road drive to Split Rock I left from Skull Rock practically doubling the mileage with the loop in the middle.

The Eagle Cliff Mine Hike is rated as Moderate. The only way I feel that it might be Moderate is perhaps because the first part is easy? Once you start heading up hill I think that it should be bumped up another category. Maybe I thought it should be closer to Hard because I had already done a lot of hiking that day, and that stretch was challenging. It wasn’t long after gaining elevation that you were more or less bushwhacking and boulder scrambling up a rock hill. Since I was always searching for a path, that I didn’t really fine in those spots- I was using my GPS heavily. It is a really cool hike. My GPS told me I needed to squeeze through, crawling under, an opening in the rock once I got to the top. My answer to my GPS was, “Are you frick’n kidding me?“ Okay, game on! Once I drug myself through that crevice the area opened up into a sort of boulder garden. I met some nice hikers that came from a different direction. I will say they were quite helpful in making sure I didn’t miss anything as they were familiar with the spot. I am pretty sure I would have found the Boulder House, which was the home to the Eagle Cliff miner, but then again it was tucked behind some rocks and also pretty much hidden by brush and trees as were the openings to the mine.

That gives new meaning to the slogan “hidden gem”. The Miner’s Boulder House was amazing. I loved how it was constructed, part rough shack and part rock. The artifacts really put a finishing touch on the place regardless if they were the original or not. No matter what they were really old. The whole scene truly captivates the imagination.

Nearby the shack were openings to the mine. They are sealed off so you won’t be doing any spelunking at Eagle Cliff Mine.

Adding to my adventure was the fact that I had used my GPS so much that my phone was running low on battery. I was in a pretty wild area, off the beaten path, in a place where you could easily get turned around and start heading off on some other path, or like I said earlier part of this hike is bushwhacking and boulder scrambling so no trail at all. This led to more questions to ponder. Why didn’t I bring my extra battery power? (Well, it looked like I had plenty, plus I wasn’t counting on having to rely on it so heavily.) As the vibrant golden colors of Joshua Tree began fading away into long shadows self doubt began to trickle in. Why did I wear a cotton shirt instead of my Moisture Wicking High Performance ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure‘ Shirt? With the temperature quickly cooling my sweat dampened tee-shirt was less than ideal. Why didn’t I bring a light jacket? Why did I not pack my emergency space blanket? Why didn’t I have extra food, and more water? (Well, it was in the 70’s during the day… I was thinking it is just a 5 mile or so hike… As it turns out when there is scrambling involved, coupled with searching for the path and then searching for the very things you came on the hike for, being the hidden boulder house and mine, all of this burns a lot of daylight and obviously phone charge.)

All’s Well that Ends Well. I made it back to my car before it was dark, cold, and with the tiniest amount of phone charge left. Let this be a lesson to you, always plan for the unexpected. Keep in mind we can love nature, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will love us back. You would think I would learn from my mistakes see Rescue at Red Rock.

My YouTube clip shows all the hikes I did on this day at Joshua Tree National Park.

Wow, what an adventure! So much balance found when pursuing profound experiences in a place with so much natural beauty. The excitement of finding the Boulder House sets your mind to wonder. What was life really like back then in a place as rugged and inhospitable as this? Did the lonely miner find his fortune trying to strike it rich? For more adventure in our Wonderful National Parks come along with me by completing these simple undertakings COMMENT, LIKE, FOLLOW AND SHARE. Besides National Parks there are lots of superb places to adventure and to balance out your everyday existence, just checkout the menu for the many places that PBTA ventures to. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. Don’t get stuck out in the wild wearing cotton, “Cotton Kills”, when you can look great, be comfortable, and carry the mantra ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’. Please visit SHOP APPAREL for your adventure wear needs checkout the top quality shirts, and hats, which also helps support this site.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Split Rock Loop

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike

3 miles, 250’ elevation change, 90 minute duration, rated Easy

Date: 10-28-20

Mystical, magical, marvelous rock formations.  Joshua Tree National Park has quite a few great spots for wonderful boulder and rock formations and this is certainly among the best.  Another good spot is Jumbo Rock which is nearby.  That one captures everyone’s attention straight off with ‘Skull Rock‘ glaring at you from the roadway and then everyone just bounds off following the signs to the Jumbo Rock area.  Leaving the mystical, magical, marvelous boulders and rock formations on the other side of the road relatively untouched and unspoiled by the crowd.  A big plus indeed.  

I parked at Skull Rock and headed off to Face Rock Trail.  By taking this route to Split Rock Loop I add a little distance, but I was rewarded with more of what I came for and that is the rock formations to include ‘Face Rock‘ which is pretty cool, and really looks like a face.  Of course the power of suggestion can be just that, pretty powerful.  I have seen someone else’s picture of a rock formation called ‘Old Man with Finger in Nose’, and sure enough after that suggestion it sorta looked like an old man with his finger in his nose for crying out loud.  

After checking out Face Rock the trail led to Split Rock Loop. There is a gravel road that you could drive to the Split Rock Loop Trailhead if you would rather, which would cut off a mile round trip of hiking to get to this post’s name sake.

Split Rock Loop is a couple miles long and if you are not in a hurry to fit in as much stuff as possible at the park then I would invite you to immerse yourself in this wonderland of boulders by getting off the trail. Wander over and get up and personal with the rock, scamper around that is part of the joy of Joshua Tree.

I connected an additional hike, that being Eagle Cliff Mine, to my hike which added considerable distance, and difficulty to the hike. It is really off the beaten path and thus might not be for everyone, so I will post that as a separate hike.

Boulders and rock, boulders and rock- what fun for the imagination, and a nice way to unwind, forget about the foes of the world for a moment, destress, breath in… breath out… be one with nature. That is what Pursuing Balance Through Adventure is all about. Stick with me there are more JTNP adventures ahead! Be sure to LIKE, COMMENT, SHARE and FOLLOW. If you were transported from one of PBTA’s other social media platforms please note that this is where the others lead, like trickles and stream lead to a roaring river. The YouTube, Pinterest, FaceBook, and Instagram are all just pieces. The ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ Blog is what is complete. If you don’t leave a message, I will never know that you were even here, and that is sad. So please leave your footprints in the snow, speaking of which PBTA visits many extraordinary spots if you will scroll up to the menu and click on PBTA WA Hiking you can find a snow adventure or two, if you click on OR Hiking you can find kayaking on lakes so clear it will blow your mind. Click on NoCal Hiking and see waterfalls that are indeed a fairy tail, and so forth and so on. Each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently. The ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure‘ logo hat, high performance shirt, and neck gator can all be found for purchase at SHOP APPAREL. It is first rate high quality and I know that you will enjoy wearing them and the feeling of really connecting to the outdoors as well as yourself.

Ryan Mt Trail

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

Activity: Day Hike, Peak Bagging, Scenic Views

Date: 10-28-20

3 miles, 1069’ elevation change, >2 hours duration, rated Moderately-Strenuous

Ryan Mountain Trail in Joshua Tree National Park is a very popular and a fantastic hike with terrific views. I think that this is a must do if you are visiting Joshua Tree and like to hike. I have seen it rated Moderate, but the Park Service is calling it Moderately-Strenuous, so I am going with that. Pretty much it is strenuous going up and it is moderate going down maybe even easy. One thing is for sure you will certainly get your heart pumping on the what seems to be a never ending stair master gaining more than 1000 feet in a mile and a half.

Once on the top you have views in every direction of the park‘s rock formations, piles of boulders, desert floor, valleys, hills and the distant mountains. You will see some of the differences in the upper desert, being the Mohave Desert where you see Joshua Trees, and lower and hotter desert known as the Colorado Desert. It is special that there are these two very different ecosystems in the same National Park.

Thanks for joining me, if only in spirit, up the 2nd highest peak in Joshua Tree National Park. There are more JT NP treks to be hiked and more peaks to be bagged so stay tuned by doing these several important tasks: FOLLOW, LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE . Look at my outfit! I am totally decked out in the new ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure” Cotton Tee, Cap, and Face Gaiter get’s yours today at SHOP APPAREL. Heck in the spirt of giving, (with Christmas on the way), buy any two regularly priced PBTA items and then email me at pursingbalancethruadventure@gmail.com, informing me that you ordered, and I will throw in at no additional cost one of the new PBTA Cotton T-Shirts a $20 value! Then once you are geared up go to the Menu above for ideas on were you want to hike. Each of the locations is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED independently.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

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