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Roaming through Joshua Tree

(1/31/06) Friday afternoon, Andy, Jeremy, and I loaded our packs with the water and food cache, and headed off to Twin tanks to store our cache, find a campsite and do some exploring.

After reaching White Rock (a unique white marble formation perched on a hill between the twin tanks), we spotted a great campsite off in the distance to the south marked by another interesting rock formation resembling a nicely shaped butt. Our wilderness campground was appropriately named Butt Mountain Campground.

While walking on a tightrope-thin ridgeline, we noticed our shadows cast on a neighboring canyon wall. It was too tempting not to engage in various interesting group poses, some of which were a little too racy to include in the gallery.

After a fun afternoon of hiking, we headed to Friday night's car camp. Nathan, Donnie, and Erick joined us that night for a gourmet salmon barbeque dinner finished off with a couple fine bottles of wine from Nathan and outrageously delicious home-made truffles made by Andy. The night was cold, but the warmth from the fire and the wonderful company made for a nice evening as we engaged in conversation around the campfire.

Saturday morning a few of us watched the sun rise as it cascaded a brilliant array of color on the clouds overhead. Mike joined us that morning as we started our hike on the California Riding and Hiking Trail. Unfortunately, Erick was not able to join us for our hike. We didn't run into a single soul on the trail. The wilderness was ours.

As we neared Twin Tanks, we hiked cross country a couple miles to our wilderness campsite, did some bouldering, looked in amazement at what we were convinced was a natural brick wall, and hiked through a short canyon obstacle course.

We almost broke into applause as we spotted Butt Mountain. We grabbed our cache, quickly set up camp, and went exploring. There was a lot to do at Twin Tanks. You can certainly spend a whole day just exploring all the crevasses, canyons, rock formations, and artifacts. That doesn't include the many opportunities for rock climbing.

We were all famished and started on dinner early that night. Donnie and I brought some spirits to share with the group. We hovered around a candle lamp and engaged in lively discussions long into the evening. Brokeback Mountain was one of the hot topics as we shared and even debated our diverse view points on the film.

The next morning a few of us were up early to prepare for a magnicent sunrise. The mountains were misty in the distance as the sun rose gloriously over the desert basin.

We hiked the remaining distance of our hike and reached the trailhead in record time. The six of us packed tightly into my X5, picked up the other cars, and then headed off to yummy Crossroad's Caf´┐ę for lunch.

Sometimes I wonder to myself why I put myself through so much too put these events together. After I said good night and left the candle-lamp campfire Saturday night, I heard the faint campfire conversations with occasional peals of laughter continue in the distance. I smiled and fell asleep effortlessly.

Special thanks to Nathan for his picture contributions labeled Nathan.