Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Cold, quiet, solitude.

Joshua Tree #2

Brrrrrrr! It's cold. The last two nights have dropped down to the high 20's and low 30's, with daytime temperatures only reaching a windy mid 60's. Because we've needed to tend to maintenance details, having the cooler weather for running around hasn't been bad. And, a big plus in waiting for repairs is it's given us library and coffee shop hangout time.

We have been camped in the Ryan Campground at 4,000 feet. $5 a night for a five million dollar view. Many of the campers are world travelers, in small rigs, speaking a multitude of languages, but not English. The others campers are mostly climbers. They drag back to camp late and tired. Tend to their gear and food and fall into their tents. Lights out by 9:00. Early the next morning they're ready for another full day of climbing.

One evening we took a short hike to the Ryan Ranch and Lost Horse Well. The Ryan family settled in the Joshua Tree area in the early 1890's. They built a six-room home of adobe in 1896, adding many additional rooms and outbuildings through the years. The Lost Horse Well, near the ranch, provided the water for the Lost Horse Mine. The water was pumped 3 miles up 750 feet to the mine. The Ryans also ran cattle until Joshua Tree became a non-grazing National Park in 1936.

In 1975 the ranch was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but was destroyed by fire in 1978, reportedly by vandals.

I can only guess at the hard work this family engaged in to etch out a living in this dry, hot remote location. Nevertheless, the last survivor of the family, Leanita Ryan, lived at the ranch until her death in 1966. In the formation of the Joshua Tree National Park, the family was granted a life estate.


"It was so quiet, a reservation kind of quiet, where you can hear somebody drinking whiskey on the rocks three miles away."

- Sherman Alexie, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven

1 comment:

  1. I am so enjoying your travel log and little snippets.

    Sherman Alexie (you have a typo) from Spokane - heard him on the radio last
    week in Santa Fe. He's battled depression all his life. He says it's a mixed bag -
    but the same brain chemistry makes him an artist!