Day three brought us to another long road trip: the 2 hour jaunt from LA to Joshua Tree National Park. We snagged some provisions at Albertson’s and set off. The ride was beautiful desert scenery, through some mountainous ranges and past a giant windmill farm by Palm Springs. Pretty neat!
Once we arrived at the national forest, we stopped to eat a sandwich and take in the scenery. The wide open vistas, beautiful rock formations and thousands of alien-like Joshua Trees made for a unique experience.
In the park, there are several short trails for daytrippers like us to take, so we first went to Barker Dam.
Back in the day, people thought that this would work out as a place to graze cattle, so they built a dam to get some water and let their herd roam free. While that didn’t work out, the dam is still here, and although it is no longer in service, its ruins make for interesting scenery.
Also: no swimming allowed.
Not sure what is going on here…
Another trail takes us into the Hidden Valley. This valley was huge, and filled with all kinds of different foliage. We tried our hand at some rock climbing:
No, serious, that is the Great Burrito, a famous sheer rock face. We went on a little bit more sedate path:
Still got up pretty high though:
After that trail we headed down to Keys’ View, a grand lookout that on a clear day (it was a little hazy on Day Three) you can see to Mexico. The view was spectacular though, looking out over the Coachella Valley and down to the Salton Sea.
Finally, we went to Skull Rock, a rock that kind of looked like a skull. Pretty neat.
Directly across from Skull Rock, I noticed one that should be called Gorilla Head Rock.
Heading back to LA, we were tired from being out in the sun all day. Once we returned, we got cleaned up and ready for our dinner at animal.
One of the highlights of the trip, we had been saving this for last, and for good reason. It is a small place, with no sign on the door, but inside it holds wonders. Pork belly with kimchi, head cheese, flatiron steak, brisket, Mexican Coke, the animal house cab… these things make for a spectacular meal. Truly an eye-opening gastronomic experience.
Satisfied, we headed back to Downey knowing that our vacation was nearing the end. Tomorrow, we would hit In-n-Out Burger (a must for any west coast trip) and get back on a plane to carry us back to St. Louis. A great time for us, and hopefully one for our hosts as well. Thanks to Drew and Jeff for putting us up and showing us around town. Having a local at your side give you great insight, especially when it comes to restaurants.