By: Ron Jones
The Joshua Tree backpack scheduled this date was converted to a carcamp in the Mecca Hills because we were unable to get a campground permit for J.T.
About 15 of us met Saturday morning at the intersection of Painted Canyon Road at 66th Avenue near Mecca. We drove into Painted Canyon beyond the BLM campground, past the end of the County road and to the mouth of Ladder Canyon. Care must be exercised in parking in this narrow area as the canyon walls are somewhat unstable and could fall and crush a car in an earthquake- -the area is right on the San Andreas Fault. All of us explored the mile long length of the narrow, sinuous Ladder Canyon and then hiked out across Mecca Hills to return to our cars via a spectacular wash with a couple of unroped, water-polished dry waterfalls enroute.
We returned to the cars early where some snoozed, others relaxed and a few went exploring until early evening. Igor had brought a large tub and we spent an hour or so bobbing for apples. Costumes and masks were donned & we had a great party time & campfire in the middle of our campsite. We carved 10 jack-o-lanterns and listened to Jon Lutz's tape of the Mercury Theatre- Orson Wells radio classic The War of the Worlds before getting down to the serious B.S.
Sunday we moved our cars to the Mecca-Chiriaco Box Canyon road and parked at the trail head for Hidden Springs Canyon. We had a nice hike to the rock grotto at its end. Inside the narrow opening of the grotto is a completely dark and winding cave, sometimes only passable on your hands and knees, requiring a flashlight for safety. It takes about 10 minutes to walk through it. We returned to the cars by mid-afternoon when most drove to Valerie Jean's for a date shake. Thanks to Igor and Lou for good assists and to Leora, Helaine, Helvia, Jon & Betsy, Diane, Suzanne, Tanya, Comet, Rick, and DPS newcomers Ron Grau, Serah Hanze, Gloria Allen and Dianne Brackett for their contributions.
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